As the late Elaine Kaufman once said, "Time was, men was men. Now they call a lawyer and sue you." Alas, not in Jersey, where betrayed democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney is threatening to punch Chris Christie, after Christie reportedly reneged on a verbal agreement to call Sweeney, and rejected every Democratic move in his line-item veto of the state budget plan. Sweeney stuck his neck out to support Christie's pension and health reforms, "and his reward was a slap in the face," according to the New Jersey Star Ledger. The governor cut the Senate and Assembly budgets, but not his own, in addition to slashing the budgets for college scholarships, legal aid, health care, AIDS funding and mental-health services. (As the Ledger explains, "In New Jersey, the governor has all the power in a budget fight. He simply vetoes any budget line he doesn’t like, and it disappears.") Christie also added $150 million in school aid for the suburbs, including the wealthiest towns in the state. But worst of all, Christie didn't discuss the changes with Sweeney, after reportedly telling Sweeney to wait for his call. Ouchies.
Generally, politicians muster up something confusing and passive-aggressive for times like these. (ie: "I'm seriously disappointed with Christie's judgment, but I look forward to working with him to correct it.") Sweeney, however, decided to spare us the rhetoric, telling the Ledger how he really feels:
[Christie's] a rotten bastard. I liken it to being spoiled. He was angry because he wanted a mutual budget. But do you hurt people because of that? Do you take $8 million in AIDS funding away? Legal services is drowning as it is, and you take away another $5 million? I’m just so angry that he hurt people like this to prove a point. He is a cruel man. I can't calm down. He’s a prick.
[I'm] a guy who has stood side by side with him, and made tough decisions - for [Christie] to punish people to prove his point? This is him being a bully and a punk. You know who he reminds me of? Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life, the mean old bastard who screws everybody. I want to punch him in his head.
Well then. Just don't sugarcoat it or anything.
Sweeney unleashes his fury as N.J. budget battle turns personal [NJ Star Ledger]