Chris Christie’s big win in New Jersey last night inevitably will set off Christie-palooza among the pundit class. This will include speculation on his presidential prospects in 2016 and, of course, his distinctively combative political style.
In his new book, Governor Scott Walker goes out of his way to explain why he was no Chris Christie. Even though he repeatedly describes Christie as a "friend," he explains why he chose a different approach from Christie’s in-your-face confrontations... and why he didn't take my advice to "go Chris Christie" on protesters.
During the 2011 protests, Walker had ample opportunity to go off on his critics.
Perhaps the vilest example took place on June 8, 2011, when I attended a ceremony in front of the Capitol honoring the athletes participating in the Special Olympics. Surely, the protesters would have the decency not to disrupt an event like that. Well as soon as I began to speak, protesters dressed as zombies marched in front of the podium and stood between me the Special Olympians, blocking their view. …
Afterwards, talk radio host Charlie Sykes suggested that I should have "gone Chris Christie on them." Chris has a unique gift, but if I had done that, it would have been about me and the protesters. I wanted to keep the focus on the Special Olympics athletes as best I could. It was their day. Besides, the actions of the protesters spoke louder than any denunciation I could have delivered from the lectern. Any normal person watching on TV that day was horrified by their behavior. I think it was a turning point, when people in our state began to realize that these people were not like the rest of us. It just showed they had no shame. ..
Walker admits that there were times when it was hard not to emulate the New Jersey governor.
One day, I was visiting a school in Stevens Point, and after reading to the kids I met with teachers in the library. A few questions in one of the teachers stood up and asked me: "Why do you hate teachers so much? Why are you demonizing us?" I was tempted to pull a Chris Christie, but I resisted. Instead, I looked at her and said, "You know, with all due respect, I just don't see that." I pointed out that I was under such scrutiny that almost anything I said wound up on YouTube.
"You go home tonight and search YouTube and try and find a single video of me saying anything but positive things about public school teachers in the state of Wisconsin. You're not going to find it."