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“Chris Christie’s Violent Fantasies”: National Teachers Union Deserves A “Punch In The Face”

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said during a television interview Sunday that the national teachers union deserves a “punch in the face.”

Christie made the over-the-top comment during CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper on Sunday after the host asked him about his longstanding advice on when to dole out a physical assault.

“During your first term as governor, you were fond of saying that you can treat bullies in one of two ways — quote — ‘You can either sidle up to them or you can punch them in the face.’ You said, ‘I like to punch them in the face.’ At the national level, who deserves a punch in the face?” Tapper asked.

“The national teachers union, who’s already endorsed Hillary Clinton 16, 17 months before the election,” Christie replied without hesitation.

The American Federation of Teachers endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this month, becoming the first national union to back any candidate in the 2016 primary. The other main teachers union, the National Education Association, has yet to back a candidate.

“They’re not for education for our children,” Christie complained to Tapper. “They’re for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members. And they are the single most destructive force in public education in America. I have been saying that since 2009. I have got the scars to show it. But I’m never going to stop saying it, because they never change their stripes.”

While campaigning for re-election in 2013, the New Jersey Governor scolded a local teacher after she challenged him on his claims that the state’s schools were failing. “I am tired of you people,” Christie yelled at the teacher, “What do you want?”

Reaction to Christie’s latest provocation has been swift and forceful. Wendell Steinhauer, president of the New Jersey Education Association — the local affiliate of the national NEA and New Jersey’s largest teachers union — called on Christie to “resign as governor immediately,” following the remarks.

“Chris Christie’s instinct is always to threaten, bully and intimidate instead of build consensus and show true leadership,” Steinhauer wrote in a scorching statement.

“That’s not news in New Jersey, where voters overwhelmingly reject his immature and inappropriate behavior as well as his failed policies and lack of leadership,” he wrote. “It is clear from polling that voters in the rest of the country also reject his rhetoric and his behavior.”

Christie placed ninth in the latest national polls and appears to have secured his podium on the main debate stage this Thursday but his approval rating with Garden State voters stands at only 30 percent.

In an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood published today, Christie said of his 16 other Republican primary opponents: “Some people are feeling the pressure to try to be outrageous to get on the news. If you think you’ve got the best product, you’ve got to be patient. Slow, steady progress. So I’m not going to get into the hyperbole.”

And of his own candidacy, Christie said, “How would I see myself in this race? As being the most specific, most substantive guy … so it is those communication skills, which are extraordinarily important for a president to be successful.”

Ahead of this week’s debates, Christie will be campaigning in the crucial early state of New Hampshire, but he was reminded this weekend of his troubles back in his home state as New Jersey journalist Steve Politi described the scene where Christie was not booed once, but twice: “It was one long happy celebration at Monmouth Park for the great American Pharoah’s latest victory. At least, that is, until Gov. Chris Christie stepped into the Winner’s Circle to present the trophy”:

And then, the record crowd of 60,983 booed.





By: Sophia Tesfaye, Salon, August 3, 2015

August 4, 2015 Posted by | American Federation Of Teachers, Chris Christie, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Silence Them!”: Romney On Teachers And Their Unions

Mitt Romney has absolutely no problem with billionaires buying elections. In fact, had it not been for billionaires’ buying elections, he would not be the Republican nominee for president.

But Romney has a big, big problem with working people’s participating in the political process. Especially teachers.

America’s primary proponent of big money in politics now says that he wants to silence K-12 teachers who pool their resources in order to defend public education for kids whose parents might not be wealthy enough to pay the $39,000 a year it costs to send them to the elite Cranbrook Schools attended by young Willard Mitt.

“We simply can’t have a setting where the teachers unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interest of the kids. I think it’s a mistake,” the Republican nominee for president of 53 percent of the United States said during an appearance Tuesday with NBC’s Education Nation. “I think we’ve got to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns. It’s the wrong way for us to go.”

That’s rich.

So rich in irony, in fact, that it could be the most hypocritical statement uttered by a candidate who has had no trouble scaling the heights of hypocrisy.

If Romney wanted to get money out of politics altogether and replace the current crisis with a system where election campaigns were publicly funded, his comments might be taken seriously. But that’s not the case. Romney just wants “reforms” that silence individuals and organizations that do not share his antipathy for public education.

Romney is troubled that unions such as the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association voice political opinions. But he is not troubled by Bain capitalists’ pooling their resources in Super PACs and buying election results.

Indeed, if it had not been for massive spending by the lavishly funded Romney Super PAC “Restore Our Future” on Republican primary season attack ads—which poured tens of millions of dollars into the nasty work of destroying more popular rivals for the nomination.

When he was facing a withering assault by “Restore Our Future” in Iowa, Gingrich said Romney would “buy the election if he could.”

Romney could. And he did.

Never in the history of American presidential elections has so weak and dysfunctional a candidate as Romney been able to hold his own as a presidential contender solely because of the money donated by very wealthy individuals and corporations to the agencies that seek to elect him.

Yet he now attacks teachers who are merely seeking to assure that—in the face of frequently ridiculous and consistently ill-informed media coverage, brutal attacks by so-called “think tanks” and neglect even by Democratic politicians—the voices of supporters of public education are heard when voters are considering the future of public education.

Romney is the most consistently and aggressively anti-union candidate ever to be nominated for the presidency by a major American political party. His disdain for organized labor has been consistently and aggressively stated. He’s an enthusiastic backer of moves to bust public sector unions, he supports so-called “right-to-work” laws as a tool states can use to bust private-sector unions and he wants to do away with guarantees that workers on construction projects are fairly compensated and able to negotiate to keep job sites safe. The Republican platform on which Romney and Paul Ryan are running goes so far as to call for the “enactment of a National Right-to-Work law,” which would effectively undo more the seventy-five years of labor laws in this country.

That’s extremism in the defense not of liberty but of plutocracy. But there are points where Romney goes beyond extremism.

When it comes to the role of teacher unions, the Republican nominee’s royalist tendencies come to the fore. Unable to recognize the absolute absurdity of a nominee who would not be a nominee were it not for the support he has received from billionaires and millionaires seeking to prevent kindergarten teachers from pooling small donations to defend their schools, his message is the modern-day equivalent of the monarch of old sneering at the rabble and ordering his minions, Silence them!


By: John Nichols, The Nation, September 26, 2012

September 27, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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