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Saturday, October 22, 2016

When Mitt Romney’s campaign was investigating potential choices to be his 2012 running mate, they gave each prospect a fish-themed code name, such as Lake Fish, Filet-O-Fish, etc. Their name for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a tireless self-promoter known for his bloated ego, was Puffer Fish.

The Romneyites determined that the prima donna governor was wholly unqualified to be America’s vice president, but the rejection didn’t deflate Christie’s puffed-up self-esteem one dot, and he has continued to brag, bluster, and bully his way into national politics. Having convinced at least himself that he’s the can-do, big-idea, forceful leader America needs, the Jersey guv is now offering to be our president and has become No. 14 on the Republican presidential dance card! How exciting is that?

Before accepting, however, you might check with one group of voters who are less than enchanted: the people of New Jersey. With a moribund economy, a state budget mess, a growing pension crisis, the state infrastructure crumbling and his own office caught in a web of scandals, Christie is not faring well with the homefolk, earning a sorry 30 percent approval rating, with most voters saying they dislike “everything about him.”

Nationwide, only Donnie Trump is rated lower than Christie by Republican primary voters. But he has found one friend — Maine governor Paul LePage has enthusiastically endorsed him! Problem is, LePage is even more insufferable and insolent than Christie, so arrogant and autocratic that he’s even alienated fellow Republicans in Maine and is now threatened with impeachment.

Still, if anything, the Puffer Fish’s ego is puffier than ever. Asked on Fox News why 65 percent of New Jersey voters say he’d make a poor president and shouldn’t run, the vainglorious governor actually said: “They want me to stay. Don’t leave to run for president, because we want you to stay.”

It’s one thing for a politician to say that, but — far scarier — Christie is so out of touch with reality that he actually believes it!

The Big Man from New Jersey entered the race with all the chutzpah and hullaballoo that marked his five and a half years as governor of the Garden State, promising to be a truth-telling leader: “There is one thing you will know for sure,” he roared in his announcement speech. “I say what I mean and mean what I say.”

Swell, Chris… but when your campaign slogan is “Telling It Like It Is,” it would help if you were not infamous in your home state as a stunningly audacious, inveterate liar. Even the editor of Jersey’s largest newspaper felt a journalistic duty to warn America about Christie. “Don’t believe a word the man says,” the editor wrote, pointing not to a few fibs and fabrications, but a lengthy “catalog” of “over-the-top, hair-raising type of lies,” including these gems:

  • Having assured public employees that their pensions were “sacred” to him, Christie then made cutting their pensions the centerpiece of his first term in office.
  • This June, he bragged on national TV that a court had approved those pension cuts — but the court actually ruled them unconstitutional.
  • At a recent South Carolina gun rights meeting, Christie crowed that “no new (gun laws) have been made since I’ve been governor,” when in fact he has enacted three gun-control measures.
  • After he and his family racked up a $30,000 hotel bill during a luxurious weekend getaway at a Jordanian resort, paid for by the King of Jordan, Christie claimed the junket was not a violation of the state gift ban, for he and the king were personal friends — but he’d only met the king once at a political dinner.

Beware of Christie the compulsive liar. As the newspaper editor bluntly put it: “He’s a creep.”

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at

Illustration: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

  • Grannysmovin

    New Jersey has been downgraded 9 times since Christie took office.

  • latebloomingrandma

    Seems like “creep” is a pretty standard qualification in the Republican field.

    • CrankyToo

      Creeps everywhere should be offended by that comment….

  • nana4gj

    I guess it takes a certain amount of narcissism to run for political office, the higher the office, the greater the narcissism. The exception would be the rare candidate who believes with a passion that they can impact in a positive way the ills of society and desires to be a public servant for the purpose of service.

    More often than not these days, narcissism is the driving force that motivates, manifested by self-proclaimed moral authority, righteousness, superiority, divisiveness, entitlement, dissemination, and it becomes pathological. The character trait of narcissism so defines the individual that they become full-blown sociopaths, or, maybe, they always were sociopaths.

    The fact that there seems to be more of these kinds in one particular political party suggests that the components of sociopathic behavior are traits/behaviors that are valued by this political party. Indeed, those traits have been nurtured by the GOP for enough years that, by now, they have little authenticity to offer, not just in candidates, but in policy, legislation, which is why they cannot govern and why they have been real failures when they do manage to capture the White House.

    It’s why they believe that, every four years, there are a dozen or two candidates who are qualified, actually qualified, to run for for the office of President in what amounts to a painful, embarrassing, and demeaning display of pathology that is no longer comedy, but a frightening experience. Years of Rovian politics in the muck and mire have evolved into politics of incompetence and personality disorders, and every campaign season, it is worse than the last, no longer the “silly season”, but the “sick season”.

    The person who would be President should be an exceptional person, educated, intelligent, practical, with a resume of some kind of actual service on behalf of others, one with an understanding and affection for people, cultures and a knowledge of history, and they should be mentally and emotionally reliable, and, someone who can be respectful of others and respected by others. No political party has one or two dozen of these kinds of people. Not every Tom, Dick, Harry, or Sara is ready or able.

    Voters no longer need to evaluate policies, position, and “ideology” today, unfortunately, can often be the first clue to those character traits that are unsuitable, but, behavior should be the easiest and most obvious indicator of suitability for office, any elected office.

    The Trumps and Christies are easy to see through, but the rest of them who protect their personal ambitions by staying mute, the ones so quick to condemn and manufacture transgressions of others, are just as bad, if not worse. They “understand” why ugly things are said because “most people feel that way”, and they rely upon people in this country hating each other; they feed it, create it. That, too, is sick. It sickens society and history is replete with societies that have been sickened by these kinds of “politics”.

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      You are sagacious in your comment and I would commend to you and others who like me are impressed with your comment to read the new book, THE END OF GREATNESS; Why American Can’t Have and Should Not Want Another Great President by Dr. Aaron David Miller. Very relevant.

  • The lucky one

    I think Andrew Cuomo would be a great president and should immediately resign as NY governor and seek the nomination. (If that lie will get him and his crooked network out of NY I’m sticking to it).

    • I’d “lol” but it’s past time to laugh at Cuomo, so I’ll just “ditto” your post and go on with life.

      • The lucky one

        Yah the only really satisfying laugh about Cuomo will be when the anti-corruption probe that nailed Skelos and Silver reels him in.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    I am a New Yorker (city/state) living across the Hudson from NJ and its politics are covered closely in our media; I think I know a good deal more about NJ than Jim Hightower who is an ultra-liberal down in Texas. Gov. Christie has indeed blown most of the goodwill the people of his state had for him through a combination of things. What has hurt him the most however is his decision to enter the presidential sweepstakes and then imitate the other GOP contenders by trying to walk down “Romney Road” – in other word eschew moderation and common sense and try to “out conservative” the gaggle of real red-meat ultra-conservative extremists who are running and are the supposed “base” of his party and pandered to by everyone. In doing this, along with the domestic state problems referred to above, he alienated a majority of Jerseyites who are not hard-right conservatives by any means. The hard-right conservatives do have a strong voice in the NJ GOP but they are not a commanding majority – of the state GOP congressional delegation, only one, E. Scott Garrett is a NJ version of Louie Gohmert or Steve King. It isn’t Christie’s personality but his vaunting ambition that had led him to lose sight of his home state and where its fundamental center of political gravity is.

  • FireBaron

    I am still amazed that Christie, Walker and the other Republican Governors who have damaged their states’ economies think they know what is needed to correct the US economy. The irony is the Republican Governors who HAVE improved their states’ economies (Perry, Bush, Kasich) are not claiming to know how to fix the US economy. I think I know which batch I would trust.

    • Looner

      But those three governors improved their states economies on the back of federal funds, not with anything that they themselves have done.

  • BiteMeLiberals

    Not a fan of Christie, but one more black president and this country is burnt toast.

    • CrankyToo

      So, your position is that there is no black person in the country who can be an effective president? Hmmmmmm. You’re a racist POS.

      Bite me a$$hole.

      • BiteMeLiberals

        Just a realist… but if you don’t believe me look at the track record of black politicians. And you are a simple idiot!

        • The lucky one

          Look at the record of nearly all politicians white, black, male female, tall, short. They nearly all resemble pigs at the trough.

          • CrankyToo

            And another racist dirtbag weighs in. You and BiteMe must be butthole buddies.

          • The lucky one

            Pull your head out of your butt and read my post again. Nothing at all racist there. The obvious point I made is that most politicians are corrupt, it’s not based on race, gender or any physical characteristic. Maybe you’re one of those who sees anything but fawning adoration of Obama as a sign of racism.
            You and biteme are both right. You are a simple idiot and he is a racist POS.

        • CrankyToo

          You clearly can’t distinguish realism from racism, which makes you stupid into the bargain.

    • Alvin Harrison

      Wow…good thing the internet is so anonymous. You mean the black president who has this country on it’s best economic, employment and socially competent position in a decade….nope no more of 30 years.

      • BiteMeLiberals

        Laughable…. but please keep on drinking that Kool-Aid.

        • The lucky one

          What the chart seems to show is that Clinton left Bush in great shape which Bush promptly trashed. He used the 911 tragedy to stimulate the economy by attacking a made believe enemy but even that failed by the end of the term. He left Obama in a hole which it took a while to climb out of.
          That said, the job stats are always unreliable, but that’s what your chart shows me. BTW you are a racist POS. Are you really so stupid that you think things were going fine before Obama. I might agree with you if you said one more corporate tool like Obama but his race has nothing to do with it, except in the mind of morons.

          • BiteMeLiberals

            Blaming Bush still? Obama’s race has everything to do with it, the MFer gets his nose into every case involving a black criminal that takes a bullet. Hopefully, there is more to his duties than that, but apparently not. Bite me!

          • The lucky one

            You brought Bush into the discussion. Its your chart that reveals the huge negative effects Bush’s rule had on our economy.

        • nana4gj

          Some people doubt and refuse to accept facts, but readily accept and believe in rumors, emotions, hyperbole, and alleged slanders.

        • Independent1

          When are you going to post a graph that means something?? What you’re graph fails to do is show what the results of all those ups and down job numbers really did.

          Here’s a graph which summarizes those job creations and job loses, and shows that EVERY DEMOCRAT PRESIDENT OUTPERFORMED EVERY REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT SINCE BACK TO HERBERT HOOVER.

          And this graph even shows that Saint Reagan was a mediocre, hasbeen president whose 8 years didn’t even add up to that of Nixon. And was far short of Carter’s, who you guys love to denigrate:

        • Independent1

          And are you retired and trying to live on a retirement account that you’ve built up?? Or maybe trying to get one built up?? If so, your posting moniker should be’ThankYouLiberals’. Because whether you realize it or not EVERY BIT OF THE STOCK MARKET’S GAINS BETWEEN THE 1929 STOCK MARKET CRASH AND NOW, HAS BEEN REALIZED WHEN A DEMOCRAT WAS PRESIDENT!!

          That’s right, even Fox News has published this: the cumulative stock market gains during the last 42 years of Republican presidencies has been a NET ZERO. And the main reason is probably because Republicans are the masters of depressions and recessions.

          Yup! There have been 17 recessions and 3 depressions since back to 1900. And guess what, 14 of the recessions and all 3 of the depressions occurred during a Republican presidency; and most of them occurred either during the 2nd term of a Republican; or when a Republican followed another Republican – like the recession that occurred during Bush 1’s presidency after 2 occurred during Reagan’s 8 years.

          Unlike the Republicans, the cumulative net gain for the stock market during the 43 years of Democrat presidencies has been over 300% (unlike the ZERO for Republicans).

          The NY Times did a projection back in 2005 of what $10,000 would have accumulated to under Republican and Democrat presidents if it had been deposited in early 1930 right after the ’29 stock market crash.

          Under the Republicans, that $10,000 would have accumulated to the remarkable amount of $11,700 (that was through 2005 when the net gain for Republicans was .04% – which was totally wiped out during the 2008/09 market crashes. The Times projected that #11,700 would have virtually been lost with a net $900 or so left.

          Just how much retirement do you think someone would have had with even $10,000 growing to $11,700??

          While according to the Times, the $10,000 under the Democrat presidencies would have grown to $307,400. And that’s not taking into account the fact that under Obama, the stock market has virtually tripled – so that $307,400 could easily be 1/2 a million.

          Quite a difference huh?? Every retiree should sit down and give thanks to all the Dem presidents who’ve been in office since Hoover. And any retiree living on a pension or retirement account supported by the stock market, is a complete idiot if he or she votes for a Republican!!!!!!!!

        • Independent1

          And it’s not just the stock market where Republicans suck – since 1900 the average annual GDP growth under Republicans has been a paltry 2.6%; while under Democrats it’s been a much better 4.3%/year: Jeb Bush just claimed he would be shooting for 4%/yr GDP growth (fat chance give Republican’s failed policies).

          And with respect to those job numbers you were trying to show, let’s just look at the last 3 GOP presidencies: Reagan and the 2 Bushes were only able in 20 years to create 20 million jobs. While Carter, Clinton and Obama in a little over 18 years have created virtually twice that number; approximately 40 million jobs.

          Republicans not only suck at social issues, they suck on economic issues too. Republicans KNOW NOTHING about running a government!! NOTHING!!!!!!!!

          • BiteMeLiberals

            Social issues? Go a head and tell me how the government raised you after your father left your mother…. waiting.

          • Independent1

            Can’t think of ONE THING that those worthless GOP presidents since Teddy have accomplished; can you?? So you come out with some totally inane post. How typical of a RWNJ!!

          • Elliot J. Stamler

            They know enough about running a government to wreck it because they are the party that hates government as an institution.

          • Independent1

            Even though they may claim they “hate government” they hate it so much that when Reagan was in office he added more than 280,000 workers to the federal government. And when Bush 2 was president, not only did he add another 50,000 plus, his policies resulted in adding over 930,000 people to governments across the nation – state, county and local.

            When they cry about ‘Big Government’ they’re conveniently ignoring the fact that Clinton purged more than 380,000 workers from government; such that today there are 330,000 less people working for the federal government than when Reagan left office in 1989; and there are 700,000 plus less people involved in governments across the nation now than when Obama took office.

            So they may ‘hate government’ but the government they hate, is only those agencies that have some control over companies – which prevents them from doing as they want – and not only ending killing people, but also destroying our environment and planet (like in Texas where lace of government oversight resulted in almost wiping out a town while killing about 50 people).

            And when it comes to not knowing anything about running a government, you’re right, what they know about running a government is about what you and I may know about sending off a moon mission: we may know enough to push the ‘launch button’ but that’s about it. And that’s about what the GOP knows about running a government. Very little of nothing!!

      • Elliot J. Stamler

        I agree, Alvin, with what you have wrote and twice voted for the president but—on foreign policy he has been a disaster and a failure and in terms of his personality/psyche…he is unsuited for the presidency by reason of EXCESSIVE self-confidence bordering both on narcissism and on unwillingness to change his mind and listen with intensity to critics within his own party not to mention a refusal based on psychology to get down into the muck of POLITICS and fight hard…because fundamentally he doesn’t like politics. He’s been a great disappointment to me even ‘tho on domestic issues he has a quite good record.

    • Bob Eddy

      Not a fan of Christie, not a fan of racist euther. Yes, your statement was racist (and mind-numbingly stupid as well, I might add, but racist are by nature not a bright group)

    • Even if that were true, burnt toast would still be far edible than the heaping mound of fertilizer George W. Bush left us with and which you insufferable democracy-hating troglodytes have tried to sell us a second helping of every election year since.

    • Independent1

      Really?? Kind of strange that the black president who’s been in office for the past 6 plus years has accomplished more than all the GOP presidents in office between now and when Teddy Roosevelt left office COMBINED!!

      Here’s just a partial list of more than 40 Obama major accomplishments. Let me see you think back over the past 100 years or so, and list for me 12 major accomplishments all those GOP losers ever accomplished combined!!!!!!

      Let’s see your list loser!!!!!

      1) Obama has presided over the longest stretch of continuous
      positive jobs growth BY FAR in America’s history – more than 64 months and
      counting; with more jobs created in the 3 month period ending January 2015 than had been created in any 3 months period in the past 17 years.

      2) The stock market has virtually tripled during the Obama administration (from a low of around 6,600 to well over 17,000) with it reaching levels NEVER SEEN BEFORE which has improved the lives of millions of American retirees such as myself!!

      3) The Obama Administration has managed America’s economy in a way that has allowed its energy sector to expand during his presidency to the point that TODAY, America is the largest distributor of energy on the planet FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY!!

      4) The Obama Administration has rounded up and deported more troublesome illegal aliens that have been costing America billions THAN THE

      5) Obama following through on the auto bailout has resulted in reinvigorating America’s largest manufacturing sector, the Auto Industry, with it recording profits the past couple years that hadn’t been seen since Clinton was in office. And in that process arguably saved 1.5 million Americans their jobs and kept America from falling into the GOP’s 2nd created full fledge depression.

      6) During Obama’s time in office, deficit spending has come down FURTHER and FASTER than under any previous president IN HISTORY (from a 1.4T
      deficit in Bush’s last budget to under 500B for 2014 – reducing deficit spending by more than 2/3rds – T/yr in 5 budgets)!!

      7) During Obama’s time in office, the unemployment rate has come down further and faster than under any previous PRESIDENT IN HISTORY!! (From
      10.1% when the freefall Bush created turned around, to below 5.3% in just over 6 years. While Reagan was only unable to reduce a 10.8% unemployment rate to around 7% in that time frame; and even in 8 years could never get the rate down to 5.3%.)

      8) The Obama administration started a war on fraud early in his 1st term, the spring of 2009, focusing on fraud in the defense and healthcare sectors which has resulted in bringing more fraud-related crooks to justice and recovering more illegally gotten government money than the last 3 presidents combined.

      9) Obama pushed for a stimulus in 2009, that not only helped keep
      America out of a depression, but also invigorated the alternative energy sector to create alternatives to fossil fuels (solar, wind, hydro, tidal and plasma) that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs and will greatly reduce demand for oil and coal in the near future; greatly helping the world’s efforts to combat global warming.

      10) Obama was successful in getting legislation passed that
      revises the rules health insurers must follow in providing insurance to
      Americans (ACA/Obamacare); which has not only already saved more than 75,000 people their lives who would have died prematurely, but is also now saving hospitals and many states billions of dollars; even including in the red state of Arizona, billions of dollars in reduced costs because there are millions
      fewer Americans that are now uninsured. And Arizona State University predicts that its expansion of Medicaid will create 15,000 new jobs by 2016, add 1.5 billion to Arizona’s economy in 2015 and 2.8 billion to the state’s tax revenues over the next 3 years.

      11) Obama has presided over the economy during the best year of jobs growth (2014) in America since 1999, when another Democrat was in office!!!

      12) Obama used an Executive Order to cut the banks out of the student loan program which has greatly simplified the loan application process which has allowed hundreds of thousands, maybe millions more high school graduates to afford college than under any previous president. More Americans are getting college degrees today than at any other time in our history.

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      I am a New Yorker where we have plenty of black politicians. An inordinate number of them are pretty bad and space doesn’t permit me to list them all. BUT – it is wrong and very prejudiced to smear all of them that way. Former state comptroller H. Carl McCall, for mer NYC comtroller William C. Thompson, Jr., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, former Gov. David A. Paterson, many others are/were fine public servants. I am white; there are plenty of awful white politicians too.

  • Bottom line: If somebody assures that they are “telling the truth,” they’re lying. Politicians who actually are telling the truth expect the statements to stand up for themselves.