It seemed like a long time ago in a state not too far away from me (New Jersey, close in heart and with much family) a governor named Chris Christie told eager listeners that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, was similar to a person who was stumbling around in a dark room looking for a light switch. He was a leader incapable of leading, and as such did not deserve the presidency that he won. That was, in fact, only about two weeks ago — but then something unexpected happened.
Cut to last week with the brutal onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, and the devastation that it wrought in New Jersey. Governor Christie, long a supporter of former Governor Romney in the 2012 presidential election (who had spoken in the primaries against the existence of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency), was contacted by President Obama and asked what he could do to help.
Governor Christie requested help from FEMA and a few hours later, late in the night, President Obama called him back and told him that he would sign the order for FEMA to help. The order was signed and help poured into the state. Governor Christie could not have been more grateful toward the president, whom he referred to as extremely helpful and deserving of great credit.
More impressive, when Governor Christie was asked if former governor Romney was going to tour some of the damaged areas of the state with him, he said that he was not the least bit concerned or interested in such a tour with the former governor, and that he was primarily interested then in doing his job and getting help to the parts of the state that needed it.
It wasn’t long before Republicans started speaking critically against Governor Christie, including Rush Limbaugh who ironically referred to him as a fat fool. I am not too surprised and yet I am saddened to see this kind of thing, especially when there are always promises made by both Republicans and Democrats to “reach across the aisle” and act in the spirit of bipartisanship. Well here you have a perfectly good example of a Governor who was trying to do exactly that — and he was harshly rebuked for doing so. It is a rather unfortunate way for our leaders to behave, and we can only hope to move toward real bipartisanship in the years to come.