I had to work the graveyard shift this morning, so I woke up last night just in time to hear the Hudson Harkonnen's speech. I figure that, having been on Chris Christie's capacious ass for a couple of years already, I had to cover his GOP convention speech. I will be cutting-and-pasting excerpts from a transcript of Christie's speech, and giving my annotations. This is going to be a wild ride in which I'll be going all over the place, so strap your hands 'cross my engines. Here goes nothing:
I am the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother.
I didn't know Christie was a paisan, but I kinda sorta suspected that he was. This would explain his Phony Soprano Joisy tough guy schtick. Christie is just what our country needs right now, he's America's cafone. O Marone, che schifo!
They both lived hard lives. Dad grew up in poverty. After returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s. With that job and the G.I. bill he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree. Our first family picture was on his graduation day, with Mom beaming next to him, six months pregnant with me.
Mom also came from nothing. She was raised by a single mother who took three buses to get to work every day. And mom spent the time she was supposed to be a kid actually raising children – her two younger siblings. She was tough as nails and didn't suffer fools at all. The truth was she couldn't afford to. She spoke the truth – bluntly, directly and without much varnish.
One thing strikes me about this narrative, the fact that both of Christie's parents benefitted from government programs. His dad benefited from the G.I. Bill (which the current crop of Republicans, including the Sainted McCain, has been hostile to), and attended a public university. His mother's mother relied on public transportation to get to work, and would have benefited from equal pay provisions. I don't know if the ice cream plant that employed his father was a union shop, but I imagine that it probably was. So much for the "we built this", Randian model...
I was her son as I listened to "Darkness on the Edge of Town" with my high school friends on the Jersey Shore.
This is kinda weird to me, the song that he references is about penury and desperation. For all of Christie's unrequited crush on "The Boss", it's safe to say that Christie didn't learn a goddamn thing from a three minute record.
The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting — but that respect could grow into real, lasting love.
Now, of course, she was talking about women.
But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever.
I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.
Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity is fleeting and that this country's principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times.
Thom Hartmann covered this pretty extensively today- Christie is basically paraphrasing beloved Founding Father Niccolò Machiavelli here.
Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say "yes," rather than to say no when "no" is what's required.
In recent years, we as a country have too often chosen the same path.
It's been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues. And we've stood silently by and let them get away with it.
But tonight, I say enough.
I say, together, let's make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.
We are beginning to do what is right and what is necessary to make our country great again.
We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America.
Tonight, we choose respect over love.
I'm grateful that Christie isn't choosing love, because "Christie Love" conjures up images of him sporting an afro wig and a form-fitting "mod" getup, an image which would have all but the most self-hating, bear-loving Log Cabin Republicans running toward the exits, trying not to puke. As an aside, when I clicked on the "Log Cabin Republican" link at teh Wikiwakiwoo, I was redirected to "Homosexual Republican"... it seems that the American Family Association is messing with Wikipedia. Of course, while claiming not to be seeking love, Christie has pandered to the Tea Party from day one... he pretty much painted his prodigious ass purple and waved it in front of the knuckle-dragging Koch baboons. He's just not seeking your love, Joe and Jane Schmo.
We are the great grandchildren of men and women who broke their backs in the name of American ingenuity; the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation; the sons and daughters of immigrants; the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes; the neighbors of entrepreneurs and firefighters, teachers and farmers, veterans and factory workers and everyone in-between who shows up not just on the big days or the good days, but on the bad days and on the hard days.
Each and every day. All 365 of them.
We are the United States of America.
We are the great grandchildren of the men and women who were saved from destitution by the New Deal, and protected from rapacious bosses by unions. To honor them, Christie's going to sell out their legacy.
Now we must lead the way our citizens live. To lead as my mother insisted I live, not by avoiding truths, especially the hard ones, but by facing up to them and being the better for it.
This is why he's lying.
We cannot afford to do anything less.
I know because this was the challenge in New Jersey.
When I came into office, I could continue on the same path that led to wealth, jobs and people leaving the state or I could do the job the people elected me to do – to do the big things.
There were those who said it couldn't be done. The problems were too big, too politically charged, too broken to fix. But we were on a path we could no longer afford to follow.
Of course, he doesn't mention that New Jersey's unemployment rate is considerably higher than the national average. How's that Jersey Comeback going, guv?
They said it was impossible to cut taxes in a state where taxes were raised 115 times in eight years. That it was impossible to balance a budget at the same time, with an $11 billion deficit. Three years later, we have three balanced budgets with lower taxes.
We did it.
Christie basically shifted the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle and lower class, which is exactly what Ryan and Romney would do.
The disciples of yesterday's politics underestimated the will of the people. They assumed our people were selfish; that when told of the difficult problems, tough choices and complicated solutions, they would simply turn their backs, that they would decide it was every man for himself.
Instead, the people of New Jersey stepped up and shared in the sacrifice.
Of course, not everyone shared in the sacrifice...
I know this simple truth and I'm not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America.
Yeah, the liberal ideas which FDR promulgated failed America, and the post-Reagonomics conservative ideas have worked. Nice use of figures to prove your point, Christie.
Let's be clear with the American people tonight. Here's what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats.
We believe in telling hard working families the truth about our country's fiscal realities. Telling them what they already know – the math of federal spending doesn't add up.
With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of government.
They believe that the American people don't want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government.
They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them.
We believe in telling seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements.
We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren.
Seniors are not selfish.
They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren. So they prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the cynical purpose of winning the next election.
Their plan: whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power.
We believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed to put students first so that America can compete.
Teachers don't teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children.
We believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what's best for our nation's future – demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.
They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense.
They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children.
They believe in teacher's unions.
We believe in teachers.
We believe that if we tell the people the truth they will act bigger than the pettiness of Washington, D.C.
We believe it's possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles.
It's the power of our ideas, not of our rhetoric, that attracts people to our Party.
We win when we make it about what needs to be done; we lose when we play along with their game of scaring and dividing.
It's nice to be told what you believe- Chris Christie does a bang-up job telling the convention attendees what the liberal strawmen in his head believe. There's so much mendacity in this bit that it would take a long time to rebut it point-by-point. That being said, when Christie says "we win when we make it about what needs to be done", he doesn't mention that voter suppression is really what "needs to be done" for them to win. Also, when he says "we lose when we play along with their game of scaring and dividing", he's being disingenous or he's straight up lying (I just picked those two examples, there's a plethora of them).
After some platitudes, and (finally!) a mention of Mitt Romney, Christie continues:
There's only one thing missing now. Leadership. It takes leadership that you don't get from reading a poll.
You see, Mr. President – real leaders don't follow polls. Real leaders change polls.
That's what we need to do now.
Change polls through the power of our principles.
Change polls through the strength of our convictions.
This is an interesting "tell"... Christie talks about changing polls, but he doesn't mention that they are changing polls by using biased polling organizations. Silly Christie, this is the sort of things one should only discuss in quiet rooms.
I don't know about you, but I don't want my children and grandchildren to have to read in a history book what it was like to live in an American century.
I don't want their only inheritance to be an enormous government that has overtaxed, overspent and over-borrowed a great people into second-class citizenship.
I want them to live in a second American century.
A second American century of strong economic growth where those who are willing to work hard will have good paying jobs to support their families and reach their dreams.
A second American century where real American exceptionalism is not a political punch line, but is evident to everyone in the world just by watching the way our government conducts its business and everyday Americans live their lives.
A second American century where our military is strong, our values are sure, our work ethic is unmatched and our Constitution remains a model for anyone in the world struggling for liberty.
Let us choose a path that will be remembered for generations to come. Standing strong for freedom will make the next century as great an American century as the last one.
Wow, Christie's talking about a New American Century, and we all know how that went. If you want a new New American Century, I'll tell you what, send Mitt's sons to Iran or whatever the hell else front you want, let their thin, blue blood stain the sand for the cause of FREEDUMB! and Dick Cheney's stock portfolio.
This is the American way.
We have never been victims of destiny.
We have always been masters of our own.
I won't be part of the generation that fails that test and neither will you.
It's now time to stand up. There's no time left to waste.
If you're willing to stand up with me for America's future, I will stand up with you.
If you're willing to fight with me for Mitt Romney, I will fight with you.
If you're willing to hear the truth about the hard road ahead, and the rewards for America that truth will bear, I'm here to begin with you this new era of truth-telling.
Tonight, we choose the path that has always defined our nation's history.
Tonight, we finally and firmly answer the call that so many generations have had the courage to answer before us.
Tonight, we stand up for Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States.
And, together, we stand up once again for American greatness.
Man, he's laying it on thick now, he's calling on his audience to heed the call to have the courage to saunter into a booth to vote for a sociopathic socialite who likes to fire people who aren't willing to work for a pittance behind barbed wire fences. Now, that's a Profile in Courage if ever I saw one!
Cross posted on delay at Rumproast, because I didn't want to step on Bette Noir's current post.