You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

New Jersey's Chris Christie, YouTube Muse

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, December 8 2010

The Star Ledger editorial board isn't all that amused with Republican Governor Chris Christie's YouTube "moments," wherein he generally responds with great vigor to people who stand up and asking him a question at public events (via Jamelle Bouie):

Keith Chaudruc, of Madison, asked the governor how he could sign off on a tax cut for the rich while lunch-pail stiffs were hit with painful increases like transit fare hikes. After some give and take, Christie invited Chaudruc to the stage for “a conversation.”

Chaudruc, reluctant to be part of another Christie YouTube moment, was escorted to the stage by a state trooper. Chaudruc never got another word in. Twice Chaudruc’s size, Christie crowded his personal space, raised his voice and lectured him on economics with a wagging finger. Each time Chaudruc tried to make a point, Christie cut him off.

When Christie finished, Chaudruc motioned for the microphone. This was, after all, a “conversation.” Christie shooed him away and a trooper herded Chaudruc off stage.

The clip appears on YouTube under the title “Christie rips apart rude questioner,” a headline written, no doubt, by a Christie disciple.

By bullying a citizen, hogging the microphone and condescendingly dismissing him, Christie was the rude one. But it’s nothing new.

Christie has turned state politics into one never-ending yo’ mama joke. It doesn’t matter who you are — school superintendent, teacher, student, U.S. senator, state Assembly leader, former education commissioner or just a regular guy trying to have a conversation: If you disagree with him, Christie will try to humiliate you publicly.

Through the power of YouTube, Twitter, and the occasionally spot on Jimmy Fallon's late night show, Christie has thrust himself into the public conversation, both in New Jersey and nationally. But you can make the case that it would be easier to buy into the idea that Christie is standing up for the little guy, rather than being a bully and capturing it on video for his amusement and advancement, if he didn't seem to find so much enjoyment in the performance. When it comes to the Chaudruc video that has the Ledger's ed board worked up, it's worth noting that while the Christie camp regularly uploads videos, this one wasn't their doing, at least, not officially. (It's posted to the YouTube channel of one "mrrubendave.") Governor Christie seems to have inspired his own little micro-genre of political videomaking.