Chris Christie is breeding 'hate speech'? Really? 

That's what the editorial page of the New Jersey Star-Ledger thinks:

Keith Chaudruc, of Madison, asked the governor how he could sign off on a tax cut for the rich while lunch-pail stiffs were hit with painful increases like transit fare hikes. After some give and take, Christie invited Chaudruc to the stage for “a conversation.”

Chaudruc, reluctant to be part of another Christie YouTube moment, was escorted to the stage by a state trooper. Chaudruc never got another word in. Twice Chaudruc’s size, Christie crowded his personal space, raised his voice and lectured him on economics with a wagging finger. Each time Chaudruc tried to make a point, Christie cut him off.

When Christie finished, Chaudruc motioned for the microphone. This was, after all, a “conversation.” Christie shooed him away and a trooper herded Chaudruc off stage.

The clip appears on YouTube under the title “Christie rips apart rude questioner,” a headline written, no doubt, by a Christie disciple.

By bullying a citizen, hogging the microphone and condescendingly dismissing him, Christie was the rude one. But it’s nothing new.

Christie has turned state politics into one never-ending yo’ mama joke. It doesn’t matter who you are — school superintendent, teacher, student, U.S. senator, state Assembly leader, former education commissioner or just a regular guy trying to have a conversation: If you disagree with him, Christie will try to humiliate you publicly.

Some find Christie entertaining, but his combativeness is counterproductive and breeds the kind of hate speech that plaques [sic] the nation.

Well, I think it's hard to argue that Christie has been confronting people to be entertaining, but regardless, I can see where people might be tempted to regard Christie's confrontational style as a kind of shtick.

Maybe this grates on some people, but accusing Christie of breeding "hate speech"? Really? That bit of hyperbole undermines the whole editorial.

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Mark Hemingway

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