AKIE BERMISS: Chris Christie for President? Look, I am as ambivalent about New Jersey as the next guy… Ok, that’s a lie. I sort of hate New Jersey. Its always been a thorn in New York’s side. I’ve always thought how much more pleasant rush hour would be if New Jersey didn’t exist. No Holland Tunnel, no Lincoln Tunnel, much less traffic on the George Washington Bridge. And Jersey drivers are infamous in New York for cutting people off, driving the wrong way down one-way streets, parking illegally and holding up traffic. Anytime there is some jerk doing something wrong on the road I assume — and I am often right — that they’ll have Jersey plates. Don’t get me wrong — there are great people from Jersey, and wonderful places to go in Jersey, and if you catch the traffic just right, a drive through Jersey can be a real breeze. Jersey is sometimes hip and happening.
But it’s still Jersey.
For those of you who don’t know about Jersey governor, his name is Chris Christie (a silly bit of assonance and alliteration, if you ask me) and he is a Republican and he got elected last year. And his approval ratings are in the gutter. That’s not to say that most state executives don’t probably have approval ratings in the gutter, but when it comes to Christie — I really think it is well deserved. Here is a guy who views the unions of state workers and teachers are mafia-like organizations that are trying to shake-down the government. And ok, I get it: Unions are notorious for being somewhat corrupt and/or throwing their weight around. That’s the union caricature, after all. But, um… teachers are teachers and state workers are state workers, my friends. Say what you will about them, they’ve chosen to work for the state of New Jersey — and that has to be a constant psychological ache.
Christie is also a guy who can, while being somewhat comically over-weight, can seriously talk to his constituents about tightening their belts. I’m not saying your’s truly is portly by most standards, but I definitely never want to refer to belts when mine are often stretched to bursting. Christie wants to cut government spending — ok. But he seems to think that just means: cut government spending without regard to who is being affected by it. Assuredly, times is hard, sir, but fiscal conservatism has come to be a label for those politicians who simply cut funding for projects that help the underprivileged and down-trodden. And we’re talking about NEW JERSEY here, people. That’s like a good chunk of the state.
And really, whatever with his politics — they guy is not charismatic. He’s not particularly intellectually impressive. He doesn’t really have a strong record as a politician — he’s been around, but what has he really done for you lately, New Jersey. The guy is basically mediocrity incarnate. Which is a shame, really, as New Jersey, I’ve always thought, could be a really awesome place if they just stopped putting the most bland, ineffective, modestly intelligent people in charge. It always seems like it could be that great sister state of New York… if it just got its act together.
And I can tell you for a fact: Christie is not the man for the job.
So I’m not sure where the dialogues about Christie for President have been promulgating from but they need to stop right now. Seriously, if I were a Republican, I’d be hedging my bets for the next decade or so. Its time to actively rebuild from the ground up. Its time to bring in some new blood, some new ideas, and some new names. All the old stuff has been tried hard for the last half century or so… and its hasn’t really every measured up to the conservative utopia that was supposed to come. Maybe that died with Ronald Reagan. Maybe it was just never meant to be. But right now, this party is decimated, divided, and full of the loudest most insane type of citizen. All the people who might’ve been great leaders have been thrown to the wolves and the new school of leaders are about as capable as the New Jersey Nets of bringing home any kind of success.
Now is not the time to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Yes, that may be all there is… but you know, I’ve often heard that the cream rises to the top. And whatever you may think of that cream, you sure as hell don’t want nothing to do with whatever is sinking to the bottom of things. Christie is a bottomer. There was no one else who would take the job, incumbents are susceptible to defeat in these troubled times, and there’s really not much even a very competent person can do to actively MAKE things better. Christie maybe a Governor, but in the party he is something like a low lieutenant. And I was recently reminded that lieutenant actually literally translates into something like: place holder.
Fine and dandy. Let him hold the place. But don’t starting acting like he’s really shaking things up.
[insert terminating cheap-shot fat-joke here.]
HOWARD MEGDAL: Not much to add here, though let’s discuss, briefly, his path to national office.
He’s currently running well short of 50 percent approval in his own state. He’ll face re-election in 2013, in a state that generally votes Democratic, though in cases of extreme political malpractice can go GOP. (See Corzine, Jon, or Florio, Jim).
So when exactly is this Christie boomlet supposed to occur? In 2012, when he’s got less than a full term and is likely unpopular at home (unless Jersey decides it loves massive cuts in programs)? Or in 2016, when he’s likely been rejected by the voters of his state?
It’s just hard to see the political daylight for such a move, beyond the reasons even stated by Akie.