New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was on front pages and TV screens last week when he ripped House Republicans for not passing a Hurricane Sandy relief bill New Year’s Day, the same day they were engulfed with the fiscal-cliff tax bill.”There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims,” said Gov. Christie, “the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner.” GOP Congressman Michael Grimm from Staten Island called the non-vote on Sandy “a betrayal,” and this being New York-New Jersey, Republican Peter King of Long Island invoked “a knife in the back.”
The spectacle was irresistible. The Republican Party, exhausted by the fiscal-cliff fiasco, was hanging on the ropes, and here was party hero Chris Christie flying off the turnbuckles to crush John Boehner.
The New York Times pumped the tale of betrayal to the top of its front page. “Fury in G.O.P. as House Stalls Hurricane Aid. Northeast Republicans Lash Out at Boehner.” GoogleGOOG +0.66% searchers were directed to “watch Peter King explode at his own party.” Make no mistake, Gov. Christie has just delivered his second poison pill to a major GOP candidacy: Any Republican who runs in New York City’s mayoral campaign this November will have the governor’s GOP-sellout statements thrown in his face.
Problem is, in virtually every respect, the betrayal story is wrong. House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee have been working for weeks to move a ton of money to the devastated Northeast. Indeed, within a day of learning more about this effort, Peter King, no shrinking violet, walked back his initial comments about Mr. Boehner and the party.
But Gov. Christie was back for more Tuesday in his State of the State speech: “New Jersey, both Republicans and Democrats, will never stand silent when our citizens are being short-changed.”
How about some facts about politics, federal spending and Sandy relief.