N.J. politics devolve into 'Boardwalk Empire' episode

If you're like many people, when you think of New Jersey, you probably think of larger-than-life gangsters bullying everyone around them. 

Television and pop culture have ingrained this image in our minds, but, graciously, the modern-day politicians of the Garden State have done more than their fair share to uphold this stereotype. 

Dislike what somebody says? Rudely put them in their place. 

Don't get your way at the state house? Threaten to punch someone in the head.  

Gov. Chris Christie has dutifully fulfilled his boss role, berating citizens and rudely telling people to mind their own business when they question him or his policies. When you watch Christie in action, you're half-rooting for him to cast aside all pretenses of fair governance, accept a despotic role, break out a pinstripe suit and a cane, and stroll down the Atlantic City boardwalk smoking a cigar while plotting to screw over Nucky Thompson. 

But up until now he's needed a worthy enemy. Only then would the drama be complete. Enter N.J. Senate President Stephen Sweeney. 

How do we know Sweeney qualifies? Let's run down the checklist. 

Rude? Check. 

Violent? Check. 

Angry? Double check. 

Sweeney recently told the Star-Ledger that Christie is a "punk" who he wants to "punch in the head." He then went on to describe Christie as a "rotten bastard" and a "rotten prick."

"Listen, you can punch me in the face and knock me down, do what you want," Sweeney said of Christie. 

What makes Christie's rival so angry? Was Christie muscling in on his bootlegging empire? Trying to push him out of the construction and extortion business? Sorry. It was just a debate over reductions to the New Jersey budget. 

So, these two large, blunt-talking, powerful politicians are at each other's throats, threatening physical violence -- and it's just over budget negotiations. Who needs "Boardwalk Empire" when you have real life New Jersey politics? 

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad