Friday, June 4, 2010

Chris Christie-Teacher's Union

Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, I've come to greatly admire. In this brief clip he explains the battle for his state's survival. This really is the kind of man we need to see on the national stage. Eloquent, thoughtful, and he cares.

Public Unions-CA Bankruptcies

This, from Poweline

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has only been on the job since January, but he is already engaged in a death struggle with New Jersey's public sector unions. He is articulate, combative, committed, spirited. He does not shy away from the fight. I don't think we've seen his like in quite a while. If he survives and/or prevails, he will be an unstoppable force.

I can't get enough of the guy. In the video below, he addresses his issues with the New Jersey teachers' union at a town hall meeting in Robbinsville. I'm not entirely sure what all the shooting is about; here is a Star-Ledger story with some relevant background.

For readers who are new to this series, let me repeat my explanation of the title. In Volume V of Martin Gilbert's monumental biography of Churchill (Winston S. Churchill:The Prophet of Truth: 1922-1939), we learn that an enormous poster appeared in the Strand and at other prominent points around London in the last week of July 1939. Placed by an advertising agent who was anxious "to get people thinking of the reinstatement of Churchill," the poster asked simply: "What price Churchill?" (A photograph of the poster can be seen here.) On July 25, 1939, the Daily Mirror noted: "The writing on the wall? This giant poster is causing considerable comment."

By the same token, in my mind, videos like the one below raise the question: What price Christie?

I would also like to repeat this footnote. Even Churchill had his doubts about the outcome of the Battle of Britain. While he was driving home from Buckingham Palace on May 10, 1940, after having received the King's appointment as prime minister, Churchill said to an aide: "I hope that it is not too late. I am very much afraid that it is. We can only do our best."

In the decisive Cabinet meeting of May 28, Churchill addressed members of the government who were considerably less resolute than he was: "I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with That Man.... And I am convinced that every one of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender. If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground." The effect on his colleagues was electrifying.

Commenting on this episode in Churchill on Leadership, Steven Hayward writes: "[F]rom time to time, and especially in a crisis, the genuine leader must simply exert his personal force and summon up his willfulness." Watching the video of Governor Christie in Robbinsville discussing his battle with the teachers' union, one senses that he has absorbed this particular Churchillian lesson (not that he wouldn't appreciate a copy of Hayward's superb handbook for inspiration).

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