Chris Christie claims the President is a poor negotiator and then …
Jon Stewart exposed Chris Christie’s negotiation skills on his Daily Show recently. He starts the skits by playing a clip of Chris Christie at the Iowa AG summit claiming that the President does not know how to negotiate. “You have to have the right person in the Oval Office negotiating these agreements,” Chris Christie said. “The President does not know how to negotiate.”
Chris Christie’s statement left the door wide open for a Jon Stewart retort. It turns out that in 2004 the state of New Jersey sued Exxon for nine billion dollars for restoration and restitution related to a chemical mess created in a large area of the state. In 2006 the court declared Exxon liable. New Jersey had been trying to collect on the nine billion judgment for 8 years.
Chris Christie, the great negotiator came to the rescue. He negotiated. Turns out he gave Exxon a deal better than they thought they could possibly get. He settled for less than three cents on the dollar. Worse, instead of using the money for the purpose for which it was given, to clean up the environment, he used it to plug holes in his budget.
David Sirota wrote a good article at Alternet titled “The Ugly Truth Behind Christie’s Sweetheart Deal with Exxon” where he said the following.
In agreeing to such a small settlement in the Exxon case, Christie placates his politically connected colleagues and gets himself some extra cash to spend on his budget’s new tax cuts. He also gives a gift to an oil industry donor just as he starts raising money for a 2016 White House bid.
Sure, the settlement may not be great policy, but it may be shrewd short-term politics. That divergence is hardly surprising — at this moment in history, good policy and good politics are not often synonymous.
Indeed, Christie sold out his state for his own political gain. That isn’t negotiating.