Chris Christie didn’t make it, but Scott Walker did.
We’re talking about Time magazine’s latest list of the “100 most influential people.” In the past, Christie has been on the list—but not this year. Instead, the Wisconsin governor, who made himself famous by gutting his state’s public sector unions, was named to Time’s list of influentials. In a sign of good sportsmanship—and an indication that Christie, too, has established a record of bashing teachers and other state employees—Christie penned the tribute to him for the publication. Despite relentless attacks from opponents, said Christie, Walker stood firm in his beliefs and, in fact, liberated public sector workers:
His battle to bring fairness to the taxpayers through commonsense reform of the public-sector collective-bargaining laws brought him scorn from the special interests and a recall election. Despite these threats, he stood tall. His reforms have brought tax reductions to his citizens and economic growth to his state. They have allowed public workers the freedom to choose whether to belong to a union.
Walker previously has thanked Christie for giving him the courage to go after state employee unions and benefits. Christie campaigned for Walker during his 2012 re-election effort and Walker lauded him then for providing a model for what he wanted to do in Wisconsin:
While campaigning for Walker, Christie told Wisconsin voters that if they re-elected Walker they could follow New Jersey down the path of economic recovery.
Introducing him as a “good friend” who campaigned for him twice in 2010, Walker said Christie gave him “a sense of courage a year before I took office because he was doing it in arguably one of the toughest places in the country.”
But in fact New Jersey has had one of the slowest recoveries from the 2007–08 recession. The latest unemployment statistics show the state unemployment rate in March at 7.2 percent, up slightly from the previous month and higher than the neighboring states of New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. New Jersey lost about 1,300 jobs and its unemployment rate is above the national average of 6.7 percent.
Still, as head of the Republican Governors Association, Christie is just doing his job. Even though Walker is a long-shot rival of Christie’s for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016—a nod that, more and more, looks like it could go to Jeb Bush—it’s Christie’s job to help Walker, who is currently engaged in a hotly contested re-election bid in Wisconsin. And Christie, who’s helped the RGA raise fundraising to record levels this year, is doing his part.