New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made some comments about the government shutdown on October, 1, 2013, in which he compared his own campaign and re-election effort to what he described as the “craziness “ that we are seeing in Washington.
Christie stated “you know when you’re in the silly season like we’re in now, everybody running around and campaigning for different things, we see the craziness we’re seeing down in Washington DC today where people who say that they want to be in public life to try to run the government and then their solution to doing that is to not speak to each other, not work with each other, and shut our government down, that’s a failure. That’s a failure of people in public life for everyone in this country who’s depending upon a government that will get its stuff together. And notice, since I’m only 35 days away from an election, I said stuff and not something else which I know you all figure I would be more apt to say”.
”But we’re 35 days away from an election so I’m trying to clean up my act a little bit. You know, we need to make sure that we have a government that listens to the needs of the people who pay for it. You know it’s not the other way around. We’re not supposed to be dictating to you, we’re supposed to be listening, and I think much too much in politics these days we have folks who have forgotten that one of the most important parts of leadership is listening.
“Listening to people of divergent views and opinions. Listening to the folks who pay the bills. Listening to the people who are going to lead our state and our country in the future. And so, we’re going to do a lot more listening around here and a lot less talking. And I hope in Washington what they figure out is that what we pay them to do when we send them down there is to run the government, not to shut it down.
Christie is no stranger in taking on the federal government and those in his own party as he has done during the aftermath of Super storm Sandy. He even disagrees and scraps in the sandbox with fellow republicans who are arguably jockeying for position and are potential adversaries for his national political ambitions.
Christie's timing though on comments about listening to people and calling it an important part of leadership may be ill advised and ammunition for his challenger, State Senator Barbara Buono. Especially since he just recently announced he is appealing a judge’s ruling that the Garden State allow same sex marriage. A topic Christie has strong moral beliefs on but has shown little latitude in listening to groups that support that issue and on others that divide him and Buono.
Christie still has a commanding lead in the polls with only a little over a month away from election day but his tone and rhetoric has been taken down a few notches, from a political strategy stand point though I would expect to see Buono use these comments in future campaign ads and in the debates between them.
Buckle up Jersey, the silly season might get interesting.