Why Gov. Chris Christie Deserves the Nero Award

May 23, 2015 Updated: May 23, 2015

The Exxon Deal

Like many New Jersey residents, I was appalled to find out that  Gov. Chris Christie’s Administration interfered in the Exxon pollution lawsuit and prevented what would have been an incredible windfall for New Jersey, by cutting a secretive deal that would not even cover the costs of the gigantic cleanup that was at the heart of the $8.9 Billion court case.

So Many Questions

Did the Governor do it to pay back Exxon for donating half a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association which helped Christie, then head of the RGA?

Did he do it to bolster his boast in Iowa a week later that he spent the last five years dismantling the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection?

Did he do it to protect his claim to the Nero Award, an award I just invented for leaders so narcissistic that they basically fiddle while their state burns down financially, or gets poisoned by the Emperor’s friends?

Did he do it because he needs an enemy and if the Pension problem goes away because NJ just got enough of a windfall to pay for that, he won’t have a union to fight to make himself look better than Scott Walker?

Did he do it because of what Naomi Klein dubbed the Shock Doctrine? Would a large award have interfered with Christie bringing NJ to its knees so that we would blame any scapegoat he threw at us – teachers, cops, firefighters, or environmental regulations, and allow him to do anything that he promised would help us, like more tax cuts for donors to his presidential campaign?

Did the Governor, for short term and short-sighted gain only, settle at 3 cents on the dollar because he just wanted to avoid raising taxes so he could brag about that – the very same reason he soaked every commuter traveling across the GWB for tolls rather than raise taxes to fund our empty Transportation Trust Fund? 

Did he do it just because it was other people’s money, and like he always orders the most expensive steak or chooses a five star hotel on someone else’s dime, or brings his entire family along when he gets a free trip somewhere on a private jet, or spends $82,000 on snacks at football games, he didn’t care.

Did he do it simply, like when he killed the ARC tunnel after years of planning by others, so he could raid that pile of money to plug holes in the budget? (I can’t help but think Christie, enamored of private jet travel, didn’t mind killing mass transit because East Coast City Dwellers who tend to vote Democrat appear to prefer trains to the pickup trucks of rural Iowa voters.)

Did he look at the short term settlement the same way he views the hard earned pennies saved by NJ state workers who dutifully paid parts of their salaries into the pension system – as a pile of money he can steal for other purposes at the very same time he insults those very same workers whose sweat he is profiting off of by handing over millions of fees to his hedge fund donors?

Did he do it because he loves pollution caused by the energy industry? NJ certainly won’t be able to clean up the mess Exxon left with the paltry settlement that Christie plans to raid for other purposes. After all, he had the law changed to allow said raid and the settlement includes other contaminated sites throughout the state.

Did he do it because offering prime publicly owned real estate like Liberty State Park to private interests can only be done if NJ is short on cash?

Did he do it just to appeal to the Republican base, like he did when turning down Federal matching funds for women’s health care? Or to appeal to his donors?

Or was it all of the above?

I am starting to see a pattern here, and I don’t like it.

Gov. Christie is not seeing the potential long term goals for our state, he is constantly acting only for his own benefit and the claim that he didn’t raise taxes. Everything, and I do mean everything he has done so far is moving around, or raiding, or giving away to possible Presidential donors, piles of money – other people’s money – so he does not have to ever admit he raised taxes, and apparently even declare his own. Reports lately show that he did not report hundreds of thousands of dollars he used on himself, given for running Drumthwacket – the Governor’s mansion that he does not live in.


His short sightedness is astonishing and, like the melting polar icecaps and his ego, visible from space. His previous rosy budgets that never materialized because his projections were not realistic have run headlong into problems related to climate change. We are the Sandy state, remember? Now in his wisdom, he is cutting our snow removal budget by half and proposing more corporate tax cuts. After this winter, how is that leadership? It’s Nero Award territory.

The latest news details how Governor Christie spent $82,000 of taxpayer money on snacks at sports venues. You just can’t make this up. Unfortunately, his appetite is becoming the story, when his disdain for the “little people” of New Jersey should be because it is the bigger story. It reminds me of The Jungle written by Upton Sinclair. Sinclair wanted people to focus on the unfairness of the Guilded Age. He tried to reach their hearts, but instead hit them in the stomach. If a story about snacks is what it takes to wake people up about the disregard a Governor can hold for his constituents, so be it, but the Exxon story is so much more infuriating and with long lasting effects for our state.

The Governor, when he boasts loudly in Iowa, can actually be heard all the way back here. During Lent, like a political Judas, he betrayed the entire State of NJ and nature itself for a pile of money to plug budget holes so he could brag about not raising taxes and bring our state to its knees financially and environmentally. At the very same time, he loudly lectures teachers and firefighters about how money doesn’t grow on trees. How does he sleep at night?


Now, Christie wants an apology from the media because they don’t think he’s the bees knees after his appointees pled guilty or were indicted. He is going after Hillary because of her deleted emails while conveniently neglecting to mention he deleted texts from Regina Egea during the most damning Bridgegate testimony when his traffic study alibi fell apart. Now we learn that he was actually at a meeting between the Port Authority and United Airlines which is now the focus of a new investigation spurred by Bridgegate.

The way he summarily line item vetoed the pension payments actually put into the budget the NJ legislature passed, show he is not being forthright when he says there was no money to make those payments. The legislature made sure it was there, but Christie, by actually taking those payments out of the budget, wanted to bring the unions to their knees.

No Apologies

The Exxon story is just one part of a larger picture of the Governor selling out our state while seeking support for a White House run, but it is the most egregious. Now the Governor thinks that low approval is because we want him to stay our Governor. He has spent more than 45% of his time out of state and only comes back to veto laws to make hard core Republican voters in Iowa approve but make NJ voters gnash our teeth. We also learn he used taxpayer money frivolously while lecturing teachers and firemen about sacrifice. While NJ crumbles. That is why Chris Christie deserves the Nero award. He won’t be getting an apology from me.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.