New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, got a lot of sympathy for what Sandy did to his state, and got a lot of attention for his outreach to President Obama after the storm hit. But don't forget that when it comes to climate change, he's a Republican:
In his first year [as governor], Christie closed the Office of Climate Change and Energy which had been created and given top-level priority under Jon Corzine.And when you ask Christie about climate change, he does an excellent imitation of Marco Rubio talking about the age of the earth:
It was run by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Its mission was to ready the state to handle more severe storms, heat and rising sea levels.
"So none of this work is getting done," said Bill Wolfe, a 30-year-veteran of DEP and now a harsh critic.
Thrift is an issue Christie is comfortable talking about. Climate science isn't. As Sandy was bearing down on the region , WNYC's Bob Hennelly asked Christie if the Governor was discussing the increasing severity of storms with climate change scientists.By the way, despit the governor's professed fondness for thrift, this may have cost New Jersey some real money:
"No, that’s over my head.," Christie replied.
That's been Christie's approach to questions about climate change. Once he said he was "skeptical." When he was pressed about the increasing severity of storms, he maintained he’s a lawyer, not a scientist.
"But that's what we have an academic community to do is to think about those bigger issues and if those experts have an answer for me, my door is always open to listen to them," Christie said.
Several of the people who lost their jobs when the Office of Climate Change was cut now work in academia....
The state's transit agency that answers to Christie, New Jersey Transit, acknowledged this week it lost $100 million in trains and equipment. Some critics are linking NJ Transit's decision to store trains in low lying rail yards during the storm to its lack of a climate change preparation plan. The agency said, before the flood, it had figured that there was an "80 to 90 percent chance" there wouldn't be flooding.
That turned out to be a losing gamble....
I think there are a lot of reasons why Christie could have trouble if he seeks the GOP presidential nomination -- his embrace of Obama, the likelihood that he might not have the physical endurance for a long campaign, a crowded field -- but he's much more skilled at shaking an Etch A Sketch than, say, Mitt Romney (he's running for reelection in his blue state next year, and now he looks like a shoo-in), so I wonder if John Cole is right to worry about him four years from now. Here's part of what John wrote yesterday after Christie's Jon Stewart interview:
I just watched him on the Daily Show, and the confidence and likability he exudes is contagious. He leans forward, is aggressive, smiles, is easy with the banter, and even folks who agree with nothing he stands for him like him- see also, Jon Stewart.I do. Could he beat Hillary Clinton? Probably not, but I bet he could beat Andrew Cuomo or Martin O'Malley. And I really hope that doesn't happen. I hope he doesn't dish out the centrist schmaltz just long enough to win a general election, then give us four wingnut years.
... I hope to FSM I am wrong and I hope Christie never holds a higher office than Governor of New Jersey, but I honestly think Democrats dismiss this guy at their own peril. He's talented, and a bunch of liberals making fat jokes ain't going to blunt that. It's time for people to take this guy seriously.