New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is no stranger to shouting protestors. In fact, the governor has built a reputation on not being afraid to tell people off at live events when they disturb his oratory. Because disrupting a Christie event has failed to get much traction, most people had stopped doing it. All it seemed to accomplish was to throw red meat to those folks who liked hearing Christie insult people who spoke up to question or challenge him.
But lately the AP reports that Chris Christie has had to face a renewed wave of protests. His opponents smell blood in the water and they have apparently decided that the time is right to press their various and sundry issues in public forums.
When Christie found himself embroiled in “Bridgegate”, his stock plummeted. The whispers that he might be a 2016 GOP Presidential race contender largely went away. Accusations of impropriety over his handling and knowledge of the bridge scandal, as well as his handling of Federal emergency funding in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, cast a large shadow over Christie’s celebrity.
For weeks, he has kept a relatively low profile, appearing only at Republican-friendly events and at the town hall meetings that had always been his relatively-unchallenged forté. But now the protestors are taking the fight to Christie at these town halls, standing up to shout questions and chant that “New Jersey deserves better.”
Christie has come up with a novel way of dealing with them. He preempts their disturbance with an early warning to audiences that it may happen. But he also draws his own frame around the disturbances-to-come by telling attendees that protestors are recruited to appear by the Communication Workers of America, the state workers’ union. He says, “What they wanna do is come here and disturb your ability to ask questions.”
Then, when the protestors do start in with their pre-scripted interruption, and state police walk them to the door, Christie tells those folks left that he was a “soothsayer”, that he had told them that this was going to happen. Now he is left with a room of his supporters, explaining to them his own spin on why people come to protest: To disturb you and keep you from asking questions.
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