A Tale of Two Governors

You’d have a hard time finding two public officials more different than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.

The well-known Christie is all bluster – loud, outspoken, a bully and a blowhard.

Corbett is the opposite:  quiet, bland, unimaginative, the kind of unexceptional man Pennsylvanians love to elect governor.

But last week found both of these men flexing their political muscles.

Corbett is running for re-election, and last week, candidates for the office filed their nominating petitions.  Sensing a vulnerable incumbent in a state that has never voted an incumbent governor out of office, more than enough people to field a basketball team are running for the Democratic nomination, but the only Republican primary opposition Corbett faces is a complete unknown who has no intention of waging a serious campaign.

Despite this, Corbett’s campaign team is mounting a legal challenge to his competitor’s nominating petitions, attempting to prevent the opponent from even getting on the ballot.

Why?

Certainly not because they’re afraid Corbett will lose.  He’s unpopular, but not that unpopular.  No, they’re doing it because they’re afraid that any opponent, even an unknown, will receive twenty-five or thirty percent of the primary election vote and embarrass Corbett.

Hence, the muscle-flexing.

Across the river, it was discovered last week that New Jersey state police officers routinely photograph protesters who turn out when Christie holds his famous town hall meetings.  At those meetings – often held in friendly, Republican towns during business hours so working people can’t attend – Christie baits crowds, engages in verbal combat with those who dare disagree with him, and brings along his own camera crew to record these confrontations so they can post them to YouTube and elsewhere so they can show how tough their boy is.

Why photograph protesters – especially if they’re not in the act of committing a crime?  It’s paranoid and positively Nixon-esque.  If you recall those bad old days, the most disgraced and disgraceful president in American history used FBI agents to infiltrate law-abiding groups that had the audacity to protest things like the Vietnam war and the lack of civil rights in the country and he also used political agitators and spies to disrupt his opponents’ campaigns and learn their campaign secrets.  The Nixon paranoia was so great that it resulted in lists of enemies (maybe with photos taken by state police?) and the now infamous break-in at the Watergate that led to the fall of a president and a loss of respect for elected officials from which we haven’t recovered in forty years.  Now it’s been revealed that Christie, already in it up to his knees because of the sophomoric “bridge-gate” shenanigans his moronic staff perpetrated either with or without his knowledge, doesn’t have the good sense to pull back a little now that his every move is under the microscope.

Two governors flexing their political muscles:  different guys, different places, different reasons.

But they have one thing in common:  bad intentions.

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