New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the subject of deserved criticism from both the right and the left on a variety of matters, but he also has the unique ability to inspire bipartisan condemnation for supposed transgressions that are perfectly debatable.
The most recent example of Christie’s power to unite the left and the right in agreement over the Garden State governor’s alleged unsuitability for high office came this weekend when his state tackled its first possible case of Ebola infection.
After treating Ebola patients in West Africa, nurse Kaci Hickox disembarked from a return flight to Newark International Airport on Friday reportedly flushed and agitated. She was immediately forcibly quarantined and tested for Ebola infection.
This was the first test of New Jersey’s new policy of mandatory quarantine for suspected Ebola carriers. Christie’s lead in instituting this policy was followed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who established his own mandatory quarantining policy for individuals traveling from West Africa that display potential symptoms of infection. Christie’s requirement that possible Ebola patients submit to precautionary internment, however, inspired fits of rage from this nurse, her attorney, and defenders of President Barack Obama’s opposition to such stringent measures.
Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Hickox ripped into the Garden State’s decision to isolate her saying that it was a violation of not only her constitutional rights but her rights as a member of the human race. “This is an extreme that is really unacceptable,” Hickox exclaimed, “and I feel like my basic human rights have been violated.”
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley has since concurred with Hickox’s belief that her rights protecting her from unlawful imprisonment were violated, though Red State’s Dan McLaughlin smartly observed that his opinion contradicts the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshal who held in 1824 that quarantining is an “acknowledged power of the State to provide for the health of its citizens.”
The White House ripped into the governors of New Jersey and New York, and reportedly excoriated the governors in private telephone calls for instituting a policy which “doesn’t comport with science.” The internet’s self-satisfied liberal community joined the White House and scolded both Cuomo and Christie for failing to extend the preferred level of deference to Science. By way of non sequiturs, New York Times journalist Josh Barro reported that AIDS activists and researchers lashed out at the governors’ quarantine policy. This serves only to highlight the lengths to which the journalistic community was prepared to go in order to assure the public that Cuomo and Christie’s quarantining policies ran counter to the health care community’s policy preferences.
Christie stood firm and noted on Sunday that federal officials would soon have to adopt his state’s quarantine policy, but Cuomo soon caved and clarified that asymptomatic individuals believed to have been exposed to Ebola will be allowed to isolate themselves in their own homes. He was immediately lauded by the left as having “come to his senses,” leaving only Christie to be savaged by the president’s backers.
After testing negative for Ebola, Christie’s administration consented to allowing the quarantined nurse to transfer to a facility in her home state of Maine, but the incensed recriminations from the nurse, her legal team, and the left did not stop.
After having been thoroughly savaged by liberals, Christie was now subject to insults from the right. Some conservatives, among whom Christie bashing is a popular pastime, insisted that the Garden State governor had caved to Democrats when he allowed an asymptomatic individual who tested negative for Ebola to transfer out of mandatory quarantine.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh went so far as to claim that Christie had again gone out of his way to aid Democrats in the period immediately preceding a national election in the same way Limbaugh insisted the New Jersey governor did when he welcomed Barack Obama to his storm-ravaged in the autumn of 2012 state with a hug.
“So one week before the election, we have here a bunch of states that are deciding to do their own quarantine and the regime is flipping out,” Limbaugh said. “Obama and his gang are flipping out. They want to be in total control of the quarantine. And so one week before the election, once again New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has caved and is seen as – we need to quarantine Chris Christie, is what need to happen here, folks.”
“This is the second election in a row,” Limbaugh continued. “One week prior to an election, the governor of New Jersey ends up, oh I don’t know – arm and arm, hand and hand, in bed with – I don’t know how to characterize it, but responding to Obama’s demands. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this – I think the Republicans ought to make sure Chris Christie from now on, once we get to a week before an election. We need to find a way here – in the middle here, taking center stage of another national crisis, another Obama hug moment and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo doing the same thing. But that kind of makes sense because Gov. Cuomo and Obama are in the same party.”
Despite the fact that New Jersey’s Ebola quarantine remains in place, conservatives have savaged Christie for somehow “backing down.” This is nothing less than a pathological.
Chris Christie did not deserve the left’s self-satisfied recriminations when he instituted stricter measures aimed at curtailing the spread of Ebola in America, programs which enjoy broad support, and he does not merit the scorn heaped upon him by the right for refusing to indefinitely intern a person who likely does not carry the disease.
The right is deeply mistrustful of Chris Christie and, on some level, he has earned their suspicion. In this case, it is clear that apprehension among the right toward Christie is verging on compulsive and insidious. Liberals did not enjoy a victory when Hickox was transferred out of containment, but, by insisting Christie somehow endorsed the White House’s position, the right is busily handing them one.