Published by The Daily Record, Feb. 6, 2014
By Tom Benner
“Chris Christie, Meet Richard Nixon.”
That was the headline we put on an opinion column that appeared on Dec. 18, 1996, in the Daily Record, where I served as editorial page editor.
Richard Nixon wasn’t around to complain about the comparison, but Chris Christie sure was.
Christie was a young, aspiring politician at the time, brash and self-assertive in style, and he wasn’t shy about calling me on the phone to sell me on his way of seeing things. This time he was really miffed when he called. He insisted that such a comparison was completely unfair and off-base, and how could we allow it?
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Op-ed published by International Network of Street Papers and Spare Change News, Dec. 5, 2012
By Tom Benner
Republican uber-strategist Karl Rove’s election-night meltdown on live television put a human face on the GOP’s willful self-delusion. Mitt Romney, who didn’t prepare an Election Night concession speech, ran a campaign based on yesteryear’s party values, policies, and world view. “It’s not a traditional America anymore,” moaned Fox News conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly.
The wake-up call was overdue. For the sake of a vibrant American two-party system, the GOP needs to change with the times and regroup into a party that matters to more than just the conservative entertainment complex.
That includes embracing modern demographics, expanding the party base beyond Tea Party extremists and the very rich, and some serious soul-searching over how the once-proud Party of Lincoln can be relevant in the 21st Century. Continue reading
(Photo: flickr/Steve Rhodes)
As a lifelong resident of the U.S. eastern seaboard until moving to Singapore a few weeks ago, I took the early reports about Hurricane Sandy in stride. After all, this was hurricane season, we usually have some sort of weather event on the East Coast. Besides, I hadn’t been glued to CNN or any other Western-focused news outlet; I had been watching the news and events of my new surroundings in Southeast Asia.
Then people here in Singapore starting tell me they were so sorry for what was happening in the U.S. Alarmed, I started Skyping and emailing family and friends and checking the newscasts. Sure enough, I was wrong to tune out. Soon my daughter would be fleeing her apartment in Brooklyn for safer ground; a college friend in lower Manhattan lost power as we Skyped. The deadly “superstorm” was to wash away much of my childhood stomping grounds on the Jersey Shore, and has my adopted hometown of Boston feeling like it dodged a bullet but may not be so lucky next time. (A friend from high school, Kevin Coyne, a journalist who teaches at Columbia, wrote a moving piece on the storm’s aftermath here).
This was a week before the presidential election. Up until then, the issue of climate change and what to do about it never came up in the three presidential debates, nor the vice presidential debate, nor the campaign in general. This despite 2012 seeing one of the hottest summers and worst droughts on record, leading to deadly wildfires and crop damage that cost the American economy billions of dollars. Continue reading