New Jersey Governor Chris Christie immediately seized on the only thing he could find less popular than he is. After the United Airlines incident where a passenger was beaten and dragged off of an airplane because he refused to leave to make room for United employees, an incident which tanked United stock and lent itself to viral videos and internet outrage, Chris Christie sprung into action.
Christie was recently polled as the least popular governor in the nation after a disastrous year of criticism for his role in the “Bridgegate” scandal and declining performance reviews in his home state. Hoping to jump on top of the pile, he sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chou asking for the federal government to review regulations that govern airlines. He has since gone on to give interviews, like with the “journalists” on Fox & Friends, on the subject of how terrible United Airlines is and how poorly they treated that passenger.
It should be immediately obvious to everyone that this is a naked ploy to beat up on an unpopular company and industry at an opportune moment. Christie, who one can imagine sitting in his office, scanning youtube and facebook for viral videos, saw this as a way to burnish his reputation. Such a pathetic display of opportunism (as opposed to atttempting to regain the respect of his constituency through good governance) should be condemned. He should not be given a platform to piggyback on a viral incident of outrage for his own benefit – to make it seem like he’s standing up for the little guy.
Christie had a reputation (fair or not) for truth-telling, bipartisanship, and toughness. Now he has a reputation for vindictiveness, vanity, and cynicism. We can add to this dishonorable list a penchant for exploitation and opportunism.