“Promises were made that can’t be kept,” Christie said of the state’s public-employee pension system. “Welcome to the real world, folks.”Yes, promises were made. By Chris Christie. Welcome to the real world of what happens when you take Chris Christie at his word, folks.
With his state's budget a mess and his eyes still on 2016 despite being under investigation in the George Washington Bridge lane closures scandal, Christie clearly sees targeting public workers again as a way to win some conservative love and posture for the media about his willingness to make "tough" choices:
“The easiest thing in the world for me to do now would be just to say: ‘The heck with it. I tried. We got a little bit. I couldn’t fix the whole problem, but I’m gone in three years,’ ” he said at the town hall. “I wouldn’t have to take the heat. I wouldn’t have people yelling at me.”Christie, of course, wants everything to come down to people yelling at him, and him yelling back, showing what a tough guy he is. It's a strategy that's worked for him in the past, distracting from the real issues and focusing attention on his personality. It may not work as well now that, thanks to the bridge scandal, people have started to realize that "tough guy" really means bully, in Christie's case. Not to mention that now he's not just talking about breaking the state's basic promise to its workers that they will get retirement they earned, but is planning to break—bragging about breaking—his own promise to public employees. And while the Republican base might get behind stealing pensions from public workers, who really wants to vote for a politician who can't be trusted in 2014 to live up to the promises of a law he fought for in 2011?