Jeremy Moule has a great post up on the City Newspaper blog, questioning those who insist that now is not a great time to talk about cuts to FEMA. We are in a crisis, County Executive Brooks and others say, we can talk about the political objective of gutting federal programs some other day.
But it is while we are in the moment that we realize what things truly mean. After the moment is passed, it is easy – even compulsory – to abstract the meaning out of everything; to analyze with either clinical or cynical cool the things that were of white-hot importance only a moment ago. And while we’re in our current moment of kumbaya between Democratic President and Candidate Barack Obama and Republican Governor and Political Supporter Chris Christie, I feel like there’s something else we ought to discuss.
Just a few days ago, Governor Chris Christie went on Fox and Friends to discuss the recovery efforts happening in the State of New Jersey after Sandy’s path of destruction. Steve Doocy, per his usual, made a lame attempt to try to turn the topic political. Here is what happened:
“Wait,” you say. “Tom! He just totally put the smack down on Doocy! That’s awesome! He turned the focus of the discussion away from politics and on to the crisis. That’s exactly the kind of leadership we need! How could you disagree??”
Yes. I certainly support changing the subject to more pressing and important matters, rather than using the opportunity to score political points. But that’s not what happened. Let me illustrate again:
And there are lots of other examples. You see, Governor Chris Christie is what we describe in clinical terms as a Big Fat Republican Asshole (BFRA).
The defining characteristic of the BFRA is the inability to say, and be sincere, that they disagree with your position or see things differently. They are not typically capable of even saying that they think your position is wrong. Rather, they are compelled to tell you that:
- YOU are personally wrong for believing what you do.
- Believing such things is just a symptom of your naiveté and lack of experience on these matters.
- “Guys like you” that believe such things better “get their heads out of their asses,” soon.
- Frankly, your opinion makes him question your moral character.
“Awe, man! All I said was that I liked nectarines, man!”
But the subject does not matter to the BFRA. He must dismiss everything about you the moment you disagree with him. And do so loudly until his wife tells him to shut up.
You can appeal to false equivalence all you like. Yes, there are annoying Democrats, if that helps you sleep at night. But nowhere else in our political spectrum does there exist anyone quite like the BFRA. It is a specific, definable pathology of a specific political party. In fact, the BFRA is so dedicated to the R in BFRA that they typically have lawn signs for every race in the tri-county area right out on the front lawn. The BFRA frequently gets visits from the local fire marshal, warning him of the fire hazard this situation represents.
Said fire marshal, though, is frankly not very good at his job if he thinks that kind of malarkey. Probably not a very good person, either.
I noticed all this about Chris Christie when he stood up for one of his staffers, who happened to be gay, after getting elected. I can’t seem to find the video, but he staunchly refused calls from fellow Republicans to fire his staffer over the “transgression” of his homosexuality. I watched him and, for a moment, was proud of a Republican who stood up for gay rights. But of course, per BFRA pathology, he proceeded to stand up in the worst, most obnoxious, toxic and repellent ways possible. Instead of a Republican appealing to fellow Republicans’ better angels, he once again was telling everyone who disagreed with him that they were stupid.
And honestly: the only thing worse than an asshole you disagree with is an asshole you agree with. Because now, despite yourself and to your chagrin, you’re with that asshole.