Gov. Chris Christie may have an explanation for why he took a state-owned helicopter to his son’s baseball game yesterday. And the scandal may have been blown out of proportion. But there’s no denying that the optics are terrible, and Christie’s opponents now have enormous ammunition to brand him a hypocrite on fiscal issues.
It’s the image that matters. After Christie and his wife landed at the game, they only stayed for 5 innings before jetting off to a dinner with a contingent of Iowa donors who were in town to woo Christie into joining the presidential race.
New Jersey Democrats argue that Christie has asked state workers to make financial sacrifices, but his use of the state helicopters for non-governmental business shows that he’s not willing to take the same hits.
“It’s an outrage, quite frankly,” Wisniewski, an assemblyman from Sayreville, said in a telephone interview today. “This is a governor who made a career out of criticizing other people for breaking the rules and here he is, breaking the same rules in a cavalier fashion.”
The Democrats now have a populist message to attack Christie with, which is something that he could have easily prevented. It’s really not unreasonable for taxpayers to expect elected officials to only use state-owned helicopters while conducting state business. There’s not much Christie can do right now but wait out the controversy, but this will likely to do some damage to his image on both a state and a national level.