Hack

NJ Gov. Chris Christie and his advisors are trying to sell him as a “principled” man who does the right thing no matter what, but a closer look reveals an egomaniacal political hack who is a lot more concerned about his image than anything else. Now he blames a good little wingnut soldier like Bret Schundler for his very expensive temper tantrums, and apparently his major decisions are being dictated by the local right-wing talk radio:

Before rejecting a compromise with teachers that would have won New Jersey a $400 million federal education grant, Gov. Chris Christie’s main objection was that it would appear that he had given in to the teachers’ union, a former education commissioner testified on Thursday.

The governor, who had battled the union all year, said “that he was not going through the fire with all of their attacks on him merely to cave in to the union,” the former commissioner, Bret D. Schundler, told a State Senate hearing investigating the loss of the federal grant. “And he said that emphatically and for a rather extended period of time.”

Mr. Schundler recalled that in his conversation with the governor, in May, he had explained that it was the union that had given ground, and that the administration had won nearly everything it wanted. “When the governor came to understand that, his concern became more about how it would be perceived,” he said.

[…] Mr. Christie fired Mr. Schundler, a fellow Republican, in August, after New Jersey finished 11th in a competition, called Race to the Top, that rewarded the top 10 states.

A minor omission in New Jersey’s application was one reason the state lost the contest. The mistake cost the state 4.8 points, giving it a score of 437.8, just 3 points behind 10th-place Ohio.

But New Jersey lost at least 14 points because the teachers’ union, the New Jersey Education Association, refused to endorse the application; the added points from the union’s endorsement would have put the state into fourth or fifth place.

The union had agreed in late May to a draft agreement negotiated by Mr. Schundler, signing on to almost every change called for by the governor, including paying teachers based partly on their students’ performance. There was one major exception, Mr. Schundler said: The union would not endorse giving up the principle that when tenured teachers were laid off, it had to be in reverse order of seniority. Mr. Schundler said that that was not a major issue, because such layoffs were rare, and the governor could pursue the change whether or not it was included in the application.

The news release announcing the deal with the union intentionally avoided claiming victory for the governor, Mr. Schundler testified, so that the union could more easily sell the plan to its members. But the next morning, he said, the governor called him, irate because a talk-radio host, Jim Gearhart on WKXW, “was saying he caved in to the union.”

4 thoughts on “Hack

  1. thanks for putting this up. i heard this on the radio the other day and was looking for the link w/o success.

  2. WNYC, NYC’s public radio station, covered the Race to the Top fiasco in great detail (not sure there are any transcripts, probably not), and it came out in their coverage that the mistake made was next to nothing in determing the outcome compared to the teachers and Christie not coming to an agreement.

    It was reported that Christie mostly was PO’d than Schundler had not involved him in the negotiations. He wanted to claim credit for facing the unions down, perhaps?

    Christie is a bully and a thug. He’ll probably be a huge Tea Party fave. He has the proper disregard for planning ahead.

    (Witness the ARC tunnel mess where, thuggishly, I think he is trying to blackmail the WH into promising him the Feds will pay for any exceeding the original estimate in building the tunnel. Now, huge projects involving digging under a big river just might encounter issues which will need to be addressed. And by the time this project on finished, the children Christie says he’s trying to save from today’s debt will be using the tunnel to get to work — or, without it, they’re going to find it a royal pain getting into the city in the future.

    Unless, of course, Christie is counting on our economy collapsing. Well, he might think that….)

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