The NJEA, Martians, and the Republican Prez Debate

The debate was just about an hour old when talk got around to Donald Trump.

With typical drama, Fox News showed a darkened shot of the Fulton County Courthouse in Georgia, which is where Trump is scheduled to soon surrender after yet another indictment – his fourth.

Chris Christie was ready, although some from New Jersey watching the first Republican presidential debate had to wonder why it took him so long to get there.

He said the problem is how Trump acts, notwithstanding any of the criminal charges he faces.

“The conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States,” he said – in what was actually one of the milder comments he’s made about Trump.

The former president, of course, was not there.

But many of his supporters apparently were.

There were boos from the audience.

Christie heard them.

“You know, this is the great thing about this country, booing is allowed, but it doesn’t change the truth,” Christie said.

This prompted a quick response from Vivek Ramaswamy, a so-far out of the mainstream candidate who became one of Christie’s new sparring partners.

Ramaswamy countered that he considers Trump the best president of the 21st Century.

OK, but that is a rather small frame of reference.

Christie pointed out that Trump at one point said he wanted to “suspend the Constitution,” which is opposite what a president should be doing.

In general, Christie’s criticism of Trump was not as extensive or caustic as some may have thought going into the debate, which was held in Milwaukee and the swing state of Wisconsin.

His put down of Ramaswamy, however, was entertaining.

Before the debate really got going, Christie seemed irritated by what he obviously considered some of Ramaswamy’s rehearsed answers.

The former governor said they reminded him of ChatGPT.

And then, he compared Ramaswamy to another “skinny guy” with a funny name who ran for president a few years ago.

In most locales, likening a rather unknown candidate to Barack Obama would be considered a compliment, but in this forum, it was supposed to be an insult.

There were eight people on stage and keeping order was tough.

Candidates allegedly were limited to 45-second responses, but the moderators didn’t really enforce that, despite a bell that rang when time was up.

Some key issues were not fully explored. Christie, for instance, never got a chance to talk about abortion. He may have been happy about that. It’s a tough issue for Republicans.

But he did talk about crime. He stressed his experience as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey and blasted some local prosecutors for being soft on crime.

Mike Pence, the former vice president, said bail reform was a culprit.

Christie championed bail reform in New Jersey when he was governor, but he forgot to mention that.

If there was a general theme, it was the consensus belief that the United States is in awful shape and that strong action is needed to fix it. This wasn’t all that far removed from Trump talking in 2016 about “American carnage.”

You expect this from the opposition party, but how does it square with such things as very low unemployment, steady job growth and a lessening of inflation?

Christie was probably at his best talking about Russian atrocities in Ukraine and the need to defeat Putin.

Watching on TV, I sensed why Ron DeSantis’ star appears to be falling.

At times, he refused to answer simple questions with simple answers. Moreover, he just came across as un-likable.

As for comic relief, there was a question about UFOs and it was asked of Christie.

Go figure.

It had to do with telling the public the truth about alien invasions if he became president. This presumes that alien invasions are real.

Christie said a president must always level with the public.

From here, the former governor moved into a comment on public education. That allowed him to stress one of the signature moments of his first term as governor – strong opposition to the power of the teachers’ union.

He took credit for hurting their public image.

The NJEA, apparently, is more of a threat to the nation than Martians.



Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum debate at the first Republican candidates’ debate of the 2024 U.S. presidential campaign in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 23, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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2 responses to “The NJEA, Martians, and the Republican Prez Debate”

  1. So much more of note transpired during the debate than is reflected in your commentary.
    However, this is a NJ site so a parochial analysis is ok, I guess.

  2. Christie is the last person that should talk about Trump’s conduct as President. In fact, Trump’s conduct was very Presidential. He had the respect of every leader in the world, including our enemies, e.g., Red China, Russia, North Korea, the Taliban/al-Qaeda, etc. Trump was very Presidential in getting the economy and big oil back into being No. 1 in the world. Trump even looked Presidential, as a CEO of a multi-billion dollar company should look. Trump was Presidential in asking for clarification and truth about a stolen election and where votes had gone. That was very Presidential. He’s allowed to ask it. As, were the multitude of Democrats that challenged George Bush’s election, where Hillary challenged Trump’s election, where Stacey Abrams challenged Georgia Gov. Kemp’s election, where Democrats constantly challenge elections, and recently claimed Trump was in illegitimate President.

    Christie should not be talking about other people’s “conduct”. His own conduct as Governor of New Jersey was reprehensible, telling town hall meeting people to “shut up and sit down” or he’ll take them outside. Or, threatening a NJ Senate leader with using a baseball bat on her. And, then there’s Christie throwing his own staff under the bus with the George Washington Bridgegate fiasco. And, what about his own conduct when he and his family were the only one’s on Island Beach State Park beach during the COVID lockdown when no one else could venture out to the beach.???

    No, Christie is the epitome of those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones.

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