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Chris Christie: Guilty of an Immature Response

Updated on January 29, 2018
Time to Grow Up!
Time to Grow Up! | Source

Accused of Rudeness and Worse, What’s Really Behind Chris Christie’s Response to “Gail’s” Question?

Listening to Chris Christie’s reply to the question about where he sends his children to school was interesting on every level, but even before hearing the full recording of her question, I knew that “Gail” was either confrontational and rude, or that she simply had not done her homework.

What I am writing about, however, has nothing to with what she is or isn’t, nor what she intended or didn’t intend, and neither does the fact that she needs help.

It was hearing Christie try so unconvincingly to explain and justify his response that claimed my attention and initiated this hub. If this is a reflection of his character he need not run for president because we need leadership with mature character.

I’ve written about the bad character of South Carolina’s governor Mark Sanford and even though that's old news now, I hope the post will continue to help initiate dialogues about the importance of maintaining good character.

A Mature Response to the Issues We Face:

Certain Things SImply Can't Be Done
Certain Things SImply Can't Be Done | Source

What Chris Christie Is Guilty Of?

Having already written about the foul language of our current vice-president clearly enough, I hope, that others will think about what that kind of speech reflects in a person. I also hope the respect he thinks he receives is merely because of the office he holds, but I admit to writing that with a rather pessimistic attitude. After all, American votes put him into office.

I’ve got a truth quotes hub mainly because of the truth in the quote,“Truth invites scrutiny, error demands tolerance,” but the issue here is not so much about whether Christie told the truth. He does not owe the details of his family’s personal doings to anyone, not even constituents. If he does something illegal or morally wrong then his and his family’s personal business will be out there, but that’s not the case now.

There are a wide variety of important characteristics to look for when we consider who to vote for in an election. The major problem we have with Christie's reply isn’t about the truth of where his children go to school, and it isn’t even that he was justifiably irritated by the question. The concerning issue is the crude immaturity with which he responded to the question, followed by his attempt to vindicate his behavior.

I agree with him about the wrongness of the question. I agreed even before I heard him say that he pays privately for the education of his children while he also pays taxes to his school district for the education of other people’s children. Hands down, unequivocally, I absolutely agree with him. I am open minded enough to listen to why others may not agree with him, but I agree wholeheartedly that it is his business where his children attend school.

On the other hand, I disagree with the immaturity that he displayed in answering the question as he did. This is not what we need to see in a political candidate. That being the case, I also want to say that anyone can express themselves immaturely in a moment of stress, but I can’t excuse his performance on that merit for the simple reason that he did not man up to the immaturity.

Kid's Know Kindness Is A Mature Response:

I believe it was Chris Wallace who just set the example for the Chris Christies of the world when he admitted his colossal failure in asking Michelle Bachman if she is a flake because of the scuttlebutt regarding some of her past comments. He did not put off the apology he needed to give. He took the first chance he had to publicly take the responsibility for his behavior and to begin making amends.

The Wallace/Bachman issue is not settled, but then, as serious as the offense was it probably should not be over. The scope and scale of an apology needs to match the scope and scale of the offense if an offender wants others to believe that the apology is sincere, and Wallace made a good start in the right direction. Whether he waffles on his apology or stands on it will give us a real picture of his character, and if we are going to listen to him, we need to see that picture.

If Christie had in retrospect said, “You know, I was not wrong to stand on my right to certain privacies for my family, but I shouldn’t have responded to Gail that way," I wouldn't be writing this hub. If he had said something like, "No matter what kind of attitude she may have had, I have a responsibility to be an example of maturity to my family and to my country,” there would be no issue to discuss.

There are a number of positive ways he could have expressed that to exemplify high character and good leadership, and he chose not one of them. That's a problem no matter who you are or what you do.

What Kind Of Character Should We Expect From A Chris Christie?

This issue isn’t about the kind of civility we are hearing about from the white house lately--I wrote on that topic, too, in Civility and the Tucson Shootings. This is about maturity in the face of ignorance, frustration, and anger. It’s about the kind of leadership that answers issues in a manner that diffuses hostility, yet never compromises the truths a situation is bound up in. The issue is about what we need to see in a candidate.

Chris Christie lost an opportunity to speak to the world during his exchange with “Gail” when she questioned him. When he could have given an engaging display of good leadership by rising to the occasion, he displayed behavior that, if it continues, amounts to committing political suicide.

Leaders will make mistakes, but we need leadership that speaks what is right with their words, their attitudes, and their responses to all situations, especially those that are created by one's own error. This was a royal faux pas--a telling impropriety, and it's one that should be addressed.

We need to have the kind of character in our politicians that compels them to make things right after their words and actions are proven to be irresponsible. There should be no hesitation in owning up to the error, verbally taking responsibility for it, then taking steps to correct the error.

That's the kind of behavior that causes friend and foe alike (reasonable ones, anyway) to be willing to work with a leader to find important solutions to big problems.

The Authority on Patience:

Join this Dialogue on Mature Behavior:

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  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Thanks, gracenotes, for more info on Chris Wallace. I can't say I know much more about him than what I know from the report that he had a stupid exchange with Bachman, quickly realized his foolishness, and apologized quickly. A quick apology can be insincere, but it can also be very sincere. I don't know in his case. I was just using his example of being willing to apologize when he had been stupid in that case--the example could have come from anyone else willing to apologize when they needed to.

    The important point here is that you are right. He is a news commentator, not a governor. Politicians should be held to a higher standard--all of them, not just conservatives, although I particularly write about conservatives when they fail to keep their word to us. They choose to be in positions that people look up to, particularly young people.

    Both political parties need to hold their own side's feet to the fire instead of chuckling off their failures, but everyone is too busy pointing fingers at the opposite side. Here's a thought--what if each side attended to the business of cleaning up their own side, setting the bar high for all of their conduct and voting out any who are immature, vulgar, and unfaithful. That would clear some space in the races, wouldn't it?

    Thank much for coming by and contributing to this dialogue!

  • gracenotes profile image


    7 years ago from North Texas

    Although I'm fairly certain that I saw the exchange between Christie and the woman who asked the question, I have no comments on it.

    Now as to Chris Wallace, I dislike him. He does more than his program, "Fox News Sunday." In fact, one of my favorite radio talk show hosts has him on his program every Friday morning. He was on this morning, and as always, I couldn't turn the dial fast enough.

    Do not expect Wallace to change, even though he may have apologized to Michele Bachmann. Wallace has a "bucket mouth" and often makes crass remarks, in my opinion. But Wallace is a television news commentator, not a governor. There is a difference in the standard which is typically applied to his kind.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Thanks kindly. I'm so glad you stopped in with this input!

    Although I agree with liking a direct, straightforward manner, I can see how Christie came across as a bully to some. To me, he seemed immature by missing a chance to speak something worthwhile (even though his irritation was completely justified), but I also admit that I know very little about him and was basing that assessment of his maturity on this one "experience."

    One reason I write a piece like this is to raise the bar for Conservatives. To hear the foul mouths of people like our current VP and those who follow his lead isn't surprising. Unfortunately, we have all come to expect bad language from them. If anyone wants my support there are going to have to be major differences on every level.

    I want the bar raised and I want politicians who will reach above that bar and pull themselves over it to consistently be examples to everyone. They have a responsibility to not make excuses, not try to justify themselves but to man up when (not if) they fall--yet, when they must do so they will also be able to stand on their history and recommit themselves to doing (and speaking) what is right, unless they have to step aside because of the seriousness of their fall.

    Yes, I'm for raising the bar, and discourses like this help do it. I appreciate your visit very much. Thank you for mature dialogue. Will be checking out your work.

  • Blueblanket profile image


    7 years ago

    I enjoyed reading your article very much...However I disagree with the view that he acts like a bully. I find that he comes off very direct and its a refreshing quality that I find in very few political candidates. Sweeney the senate president has made more inappropriate comments in the last week, then I have ever heard come out of Christie's mouth his entire political career. I won't mention them in polite conversation. but if you google, Sweeny's response to Christie's line item veto of this years budget, I think it puts the political battle going on in New Jersey in a different perspective.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Indeed. Thanks much for stopping by and joining the dialogue. It's important give people a chance to think through situations by keeping good dialogues going!

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    7 years ago from North Carolina

    I agree with your assessment. It is the arrogant, immature and 'narcissistic' attitudes of too many politicians who should be leading, but instead are self gratifying, that is causing confusion and chaos from the top down. Thanks for your opinion. :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    We have too many characters without character!

    Thanks kindly for stopping in with your input.

  • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image


    7 years ago

    Right on! You are so accurate in a person needs good character! I don't understand why we forget sometimes. Maybe because we hope for the best and expect the worse. Great hub! I will have to read your other ones too! :-) Take care..

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Sally's Trove:

    Thanks again for the head's up on the links. It was simple enough to reapply them, but I wouldn't have known had someone not mentioned it. Not sure what I would have done if that hadn't worked, but the experience tells me I need to take the time to read up on what the glitches are about. :)

    Thanks, too, for taking the time to read this hub. The Christie/Gail exchange is full of lessons for politicians. He's not the first nor the only current politician to respond in anger when he is challenged. It's never justified, and it's always dangerous, if only because of the stupidity it represents.

    Thanks for the link. I looked the comments over and have to include this statement, "See what he did there...lashed out at her in a way that will make conservatives cheer his bold, independent streak, when in reality, he just used it as a shield to not answer the question" here with a rebuttal:

    I believe that my conservative viewpoint is well expressed in this hub, and the others I linked in it, such as the one re SC's Mark Sanford, and that due to them anyone can see that not all conservatives cheer such men, any more than all liberals make such uninformed, unreasonable, and uneducated statements. If all political party's voters would assess their own candidates and respond to the truth about their behavior in order to raise the bar for all politicians, rather swallowing their double-talk, we might elect politicians who do something positive next go round.

    Thanks, ST, for stopping in and joining this dialogue. Appreciate your visit very much.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    BK Creative:

    Great question--"Is this the best we can do as voters." It's the perfect question, actually, because voters are the real problem. No politician is going to be perfect. That's not going to happen, but voters don't think through what's really important and investigate before voting--truth, character, integrity on issues, moral values in every aspect of a candidates life, etc.

    People get a bee in their bonnet about political parties, or an issue they feel strongly about, and they stereotype candidates and other voters without caring about what facts mean for the future. Then they vote, and here we are.

    Your, "people wanted him in office because he was going to 'save them'" line hit the nail on the head. You reminded me of the Lincoln "cannots" included with this hub. Voters are the problem, not the politicians. Society's thinking is so dumb-downed and degraded that people can't evaluate the past behavior of a politician, can't understand their voting records, don't care to find out who their associates are, and so are unable to project the facts into the future in order to see the handwriting on the wall.

    For all I know Christie may have done some good things, but the immaturity he displayed in that exchange is a concerning red flag about his ability to be the kind of leader we need for our country. His behavior did not tell me that he would help people in a way that would really help them. He was indifferent about the consequences of forfeiting an opportunity to help "Gail," as well as everyone who heard his exchange with her. That's bad behavior for a leader.

    Thanks much for stopping in with your comments and helping highlight the topic with them.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    Now that the links issues are over, I finally sat down to give this a good read.

    Since when does a politician attack a constituent for a question? I can't help thinking about the reality shows Jerseylicious and, what's that other one, Jersey Shore? A bunch of immature pseudo-adults slinging self-centered crap at each other. They all need therapy.

    Who wants a governor that behaves this way?

    Right on, RTalloni, this behavior is disgraceful...I would want this man in charge of my state? My taxes? My benefits?

    Gail pushed a button that he wasn't prepared for.

    If you don't mind my saying, it would be helpful in this Hub to give readers the exact exchange of what went on between Gail and Christie, so they can judge for themselves what happened...

    Found this link that my be helpful:

  • BkCreative profile image


    7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    I am always surprised when people vote for such a leader and then are shocked when he does exactly what he has done all along. We tend to vote just like a consumer - someone sells us something and promotes it and then we buy 'that brand' - and I guess this guy's brand is being 'tough' - he's laughable however in his endless flubs and then resorts to 'name-calling' - amazing. This is the best we can do as voters? Good grief!

    There have been soooooo many incidents where he has been flagrantly wrong. But people wanted him in office because he was going to 'save them.' How? When?

    I enjoyed your hub!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey


    If more politicians could learn from history they would be smarter than they are!

    I very much appreciate that you came by with your input for this dialogue.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Sally's Trove & Jason:

    Thanks much for the head's up and input re the glitch in the links.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Sally's Trove:

    So appreciate that you let me know. I checked your dialogue with Jason, then reapplied the links. The computer speak in the link boxes changed markedly when I reapplied them, but I did not do anything differently this time than when I first posted the hub. They are now working when I test them.

    Thanks a million times over!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Sally's Trove:

    Thank you so much!

  • sweetie1 profile image


    7 years ago from India

    Hi R talloni,

    I liked your end where you say leaders will make mistake, ofcourse they would. it doesnt matter if they do so long they took decision with the betterment of the nation and society in their heart. Since they are leaders they have to take decisions and history would judge them if the decision was right or wrong.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    The text links in this Hub are not working, R Talloni. Please see this forum discussion between me and Jason for more info.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    I honestly don't know how he behaves, only about this one incident. I've heard bits and pieces about the possibility of his running for president one day because of his conservative views, but I don't even know if he is simply a fiscal conservative, just a Libertarian, or if he is thoroughly conservative. I heard the reports on this incident, I heard a recording of her question and his response, then I heard a recording of his defense of his behavior. That was enough immaturity for me.

    Appreciate that you stopped in with your comment!

  • profile image

    Howard Schneider 

    7 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

    I agree with you RTalloni. The political tone in this country is pften very poor. Gov. Christie has done some good things but too often he acts arrogant and plays the role of a bully. He seems to think this is an endearing quality. I totally disagree. He also needs to pick his fights and not just attack everyone.


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