TRENTON – Citing “selfishness” and “duplicity,” an angry and frustrated Gov. Christie blamed a fellow Republican, House Speaker John Boehner, for withholding $60 billion in aid for Sandy victims.
“Last night politics was placed before our oath to serve our citizens,” Christie said at news conference carried live on CNN. “For me it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
Christie said he was assured that the House of Representatives would vote on the Sandy aid package before the current Congress adjourns. But at 11:20 pm last night, he was told Boehner pulled the bill without explanation, and then Boehner wouldn’t take Christie’s four follow-up phone calls.
Christie began his remarks by listing the amount of time it took Congress to send aid to victims of other natural disasters – like 10 days for Hurricane Katrina. It's been 66 days since Sandy damaged or destroyed 346,000 homes and sent more than 7,000 people to shelters.
OK, so a couple of thoughts. First of all, dissing New York City in 1975 did not end well for Gerald Ford, who lost the presidency the next year to Jimmy Carter by the narrowest of margins. I don't see anything good for the GOP coming out of this.
More importantly, it will be interesting to see if last night's Sandy fiasco will ultimately be remembered as the equivalent of Fort Sumter in the long-predicted Republican Party Civil War. Long Island GOP firebrand Rep. Peter King -- who had already broken with the party on gun sanity -- was talking this morning of leaving the party, and Sun Belt versus Rust Belt tensions are clearly festering. It's interesting to note that every Pennsylvania GOP House member -- along with our Republican Sen. Pat Toomey -- voted for the "fiscal cliff" deal that was spurned by the Tea Party.
I witnessed the Deep South flip from solidly Democrat to mostly Republican from the 1970s through the '90s, and in fact it peaked during the three years in the early 1980s that I worked in Birmingham. The Deep South had stopped voting Democratic in 1964, after passage of that year's Civil Rights Act (sad, but true) but it took until the 1980s to start electing more Republicans to Congress and the legislature and them by the 1990s you had "Yellow Dog" Democrats like Richard Shelby finally just switching parties. I wonder if you'll start to see the same thing in suburban areas of the Northeast, like Bucks and Delco here, that the GOP will slowly wither.