Image Credit: Bob Jagendorf (Flickr) (CC)
Chris Christie chatted today with CNBC’s John Harwood. Here is what Christie said about some key issues, at least things that stood out to me:
Common Core curriculum
CHRISTIE: We have now gone from 10th to 20th in reading, amongst the industrial said nations. If we can continue that trend and still be the smartest most competitive, most cutting edge economy in the world, then you’re wrong.
JOHN HARWOOD: That’s why you support Common Core.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: What I support is to try to change something that’s much more important than Common Core. The most important factor besides a family to successful education is the teacher in front of the classroom. More than anything else is what is the training and experience and effectiveness of that person standing in front of the classroom.
We have an educational system in this country now that puts the come for the of adults before the children. We don’t want to disturb anyone, we don’t want to say anything bad. It’s crazy. The fact is, there are ineffective teachers all across the country, protected by the tenure system that is the essence of anti-competitiveness. We’re for competition everywhere else in the world, but we are not for competition in the K to 12 classrooms in America. And we expect somehow that’s going to produce a good result. It is not.
So from my perspective, before we get to what’s the curriculum in the classroom and all those other issues, you need to first get to having a competitive educational system that rewards good teachers. You should have merit pay across the country and they should get paid more if they are good. And we should haven’t a system that allows bad teachers to be guaranteed a job for life.
Crony capitalism and the Export-Import Bank
JOHN HARWOOD: One of the things that we started to hear a lot in your party, especially from the populist party, is critiques of crony capitalism, the system; like some on the left say is rigged, and people have inside dealings with Washington. And what’s come to stand as the emblem of that, there was an issue in Virginia, the question of the export, import bank, which Eric Cantor supported, and the populist wing and the Republican party said that is crony capitalism. It’s helping Boeing other big companies make deals. They can make the deals themselves. Do you agree with them?
CHRIS CHRISTIE: I think those issues are much more complicated than a lot of people want to take me out to be. The fact is that the government, I think, does have a role in trying to make our country as competitive as we can be, with the folks around the world. Now –
JOHN HARWOOD: Many have programs like that across the country.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: Of course. We have to decide how we want it to be and what basis we want it to be. I don’t disagree with folks who say there are times when that goes over board and that’s — that’s where the congress is supposed to be vigilant about. And if they believe that’s the case, then they need to step in and develop something about it. And if the people don’t like what the congress is doing, they kick people out.
JOHN HARWOOD: We do need to have an export import bank?
CHRIS CHRISTIE: No. What I said was, I think we need to have those time of programs that are present in the congress believe it’s more competitive. We need to have more free trade agreements around the world. I think you need to be encourageing more trade around the world. When America trades with other countries in a free way, America usually does much beater, because of the ingenuity, because of technology we have, because of the entrepreneurial spirit we have in this country, I think we do better.
JOHN HARWOOD: You’re –
CHRIS CHRISTIE: I’m the governor of New Jersey. I don’t spend a lot of time focusing on the export import. I’m not going to pretend to have opinions about things that will be ill-informed and just go, I think I want to be with those folks. What do you think. I’m going to be with them.
JOHN HARWOOD: I don’t think you’re ill-informed.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: You can’t imagine how ill-informed I am.
JOHN HARWOOD: Well, let me ask you about a New Jersey-specific issue. I was reading this morning an article in “National Review,” which said you were an alleged free marketeer; but what you did on Tesla and not having your motor vehicle commission change a rule to prevent them from selling directly to consumers showed the power of special interests in New Jersey, auto dealers, that you are not a free –
CHRIS CHRISTIE: It’s simply crap. Here’s what it shows. The legislature passed a law and previous governor signed the law requiring in New Jersey that if you were going to sell automobiles, you must do it through a dealership. Now, Tesla comes in with their new model to sell direct, and I give Tesla a year to sell direct. Operating completely outside the law. And I just said listen, you need to get together with the legislature. I’m not going to stem in and enforce this law vigorously right now, because I will give you time to work with the legislature. I would like them to be able to sell direct. They didn’t do anything. After a while, I take an oath to enforce the law, not just the ones I like, but all of them –
JOHN HARWOOD: But your motor vehicle commission did change the regulation.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: No. We enforced a regulation that already existed based upon a statute. The fact is we looked the other way for a year, to allow Tesla to do what they are doing. I can’t just pick and choose the laws to enforce. So I give them what I felt was a reasonable period of time to operate the way they were operating. And to go to the legislature and get it changes.
JOHN HARWOOD: The expense of the New Jersey consumers.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: What would you expect them to say? Thanks.
I mean, listen. Elon’s not happy, because in New Jersey, it is a law that says you can’t do what he did. I don’t like the law either. I didn’t vote for it, I didn’t sign it. I don’t like it, but I don’t get to just ignore the laws I don’t like. So I love “The National Review.” I read it all the time; but they are just dead wrong on this. And the fact is that that’s a problem, all due respect, some of your national guys who parachute into a state-specific issue, listen to a particular interest group that’s in your ear and say I figured it out.