Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chris Christie Plays Politics With Hurrican Sandy Relief

Mainstream media and the blogosphere have erupted with praise for such GOP politicians as Chris Christie and Peter King for their "attacks" on the Republican-controlled House of Representatives for their failure to even vote on an relief package for victims of hurricane Sandy. CNN has gone so far as to label it a "GOP Civil War."

Rep. Michael Grimm
I just don't buy it.

Rep. Michael Grimm, a tea party member (and the only Republican member of Coongress from New York City) said in a radio interview, "The speaker just decided to pull the vote. He gave no explanation... I feel I was misled from the very beginning."

Rep. Peter king, a senior New York Republican, was even more blunt. "This has been a betrayal of trust. We were told at every stage that [the vote] was definitely going on. It is inexcusable. It is wrong."

As for Gov. Christie?
Rep. Peter King

"Shame on you. Shame on Congress... Our people were played last night as a pawn."

People are even suggesting that Gov. Christie may be contemplating joining the Democrats.

I wouldn't hold my breath.

Maybe I'm getting old and cynical, but I don't see Christie switching parties. If he were going to, he'd have already done so. My own belief is that these statements from GOP politicians, criticizing their party for its failure to enact Sandy aid, are actually approved by the party in advance.

By attacking the GOP, these politicians are saying to their constituents, "I'm on YOUR side, even willing to fight my own party." Their criticism of the party doesn't hurt the party at all - quite the reverse. They strengthen their own chances of being reelected and, by strengthening their position with their constituents, they ensure that the GOP will continue to hold on to that governorship, that congressional district, etc.

Republican voters are upset because, even though their home was destroyed, their party is blocking assistance from reaching them. Now they can say "Yeah, I'm mad at the party, but MY Governor is fighting for me!" Independent voters (and more than a few Dems, too) can be impressed with his courage for standing up to the party bosses on behalf of the "little people." And when the GOP-controlled House does approve the aid, as Speaker Boehner now promises? Well, the voters in the hardest hit towns will want to thank the Christies and the Kings by reelecting them. It's a win for the candidate and a win for the party...