COMMENTARY | There is a post-holiday anger in the air as the bleak winter season sets in. It is a time of cold in the northern climes, of high heating costs, of government debt, of a divided Congress, of hunger, and of payments due.
Perhaps the most telling indication of the public mood is what House Speaker John Boehner supposedly said to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just outside the Oval Office, according to Politico’s “multiple sources.”
We’re not in Kansas anymore. Neither are the people left homeless and about to be evicted from their FEMA-paid Super 8 housing in Brooklyn, reported in the New York Daily News.
The upshot of Hurricane Sandy is a billion-dollar relief bill that passed the Senate and got stalled in the House to make way for the bitter “fiscal cliff” negotiations. Boehner explained that he didn’t want to mix fiscal cliff issues with what Elspeth Reeve termed “partisan, pork-stuffed complaints.”
The term “fiscal cliff” was coined to be dramatic but quickly became an oversold banality.
Fortunately, there is never among politicians a shortage of drama. Thundering onto the “fiscal cliff” stage was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who berated Boehner and Republicans in general, for “selfishness” and “duplicity” in putting aside the final Sandy relief bill until January 15.
A New York Times reporter gleefully categorized Christie’s rant as smart stuff to position himself as a leading front-runner in the 2016 presidential elections. But Christie has little chance of beating Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries — oh, wait!
The Sandy relief bill should and will be passed, but it needs the sort of haircut the entire federal budget needs. There’s no reason to saddle the rest of America with the cost of expanding New York and New Jersey infrastructure.
Isn’t there some place in Mississippi that needs a crumbling bridge or road rebuilt, too?
The fault isn’t that Christie demands quick federal money for New Jersey, but rather that he appears so eager to use a natural catastrophe to launch himself upon the world stage. Many Republicans still resent his much publicized post-Sandy walk on the beach with President Obama.
Insofar as his ambition goes, Christie’s public attacks on congressional Republicans either means he’s not interested in presidential politics, or that he got off the subway at the wrong stop.
Anthony Ventre is a freelance writer and a Yahoo contributor in news, commentary, and financial writing.