As the Northeast begins its recovery from the devastation that was left in Hurricane Sandy’s wake, the nation’s eyes have been on New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie.
Christie, an early supporter of Mitt Romney, has long been seen as a future leader in the National Republican Party. A polarizing figure, he often comes across as either straight-talking to his fans and a bully to his dissenters, Christie has kept a level of popularity in a very Democratic-leaning state and carries a certain “New Jersey charm” that only a few of us can truly understand.
As a liberal partisan, I view Christie as brash but I do believe he loves the state he is in. Christie is enamored with New Jersey culture as his noted fanhood of Bruce Springsteen has been widely publicized as has his chip-on-the-shoulder mentality. While I feel that he might be a little inauthentic, I do find him to be someone who loves the state that he governs, a thought that was echoed last night by MSNBC analyst, Steve Kornacki.
To be more than quite frank, I am a firm believer that Chris Christie (barring events such as a scandal, etc.) will run for the Republican nomination in the 2016 electoral cycle. I don’t believe in the word “guarantee” when discussing the future but I do feel quite confident in saying that there is a 99.9% chance on his run occurring. If you read this article to hear my opinion on a Christie run, well there it is.
But how does Chris Christie operate? This is a man who had a similar fight with the teachers union as his geographic neighbor, Tom Corbett, did in Pennsylvania. He should, and is, despised by progressives politically and clearly embraced by the right-wing as a rock star.
Yet, in all the adulation that the right has for him, Christie has always surprised the political world with the occasional “rogue” moment. There was Christie blasting the far-right (though increasingly mainstream) fear mongering of Sharia Law, which was in the midst of the appointment of Judge Sohail Mohammad, becoming the 2nd Muslim to be appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
But the brief breaks from the party line have usually been followed by flirtation with the national scene. Not long after the appointment of Mohammad, Christie announced that he would not be running for the Presidency in 2012; basically assuring Mitt Romney wouldn’t have had any establishment rivals in the fight for the Republican nomination.
However while Christie has proven to be an occasional “voice of reason” while equally playing the part of “right-wing rock star” amongst modern day conservatives, his reactions toward President Obama and FEMA”s response to the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy is still considerably shocking.
In case you missed it, Christie repeatedly praised the 44th President of the United States for his leadership in dealing with the tragedy which included the President’s visit to New Jersey on November 1st (less than a week before Election Day). While some pundits praised the duo for putting “people above politics”, more cynical pundits have thought that were more political reasons for their recent manners.
As most know, Governor Christie is up for re-election in a blue state next November. As everyone better know, President Obama could use a “closing kick” to bring home some crucial independent voters who would like to see more bipartisanship amongst the two major parties.
But while that might be rather accurate, it still seems to be a bit of a reach. Governor Christie is a proud New Jerseyian. For all the faults I’ve seen in his gubernatorial career, I can appreciate his love for the Garden State.
As someone who was born in raised in South Jersey, we might’ve even had similar childhoods. I remember going to Asbury Park as a young teenager when my family & I would visit my sister who, at the time, was studying at Monmouth University. Governor Christie, in the aftermath of Sandy’s destruction, openly lamented the destruction on Twitter.
So going back to myself, if I were to lose significant memories of my childhood and George W. Bush consoled me on my losses; I would be openly thankful. What we are witnessing with Christie could very well be a man who has lost key memories and doesn’t know who to turn to. What we could be witnessing is someone helping a fellow human through a time of grieving. The fact that both of these people are highly relevant and highly important people on opposites of the aisle could very well be unimportant.
Yet the cynic in all of us, while privy to that idea, is still thinking ahead. There is nothing good about the storm that passed through, just ask the tree thats still laying in our backyard, but could there be political advantages to it? That’s one question that’s trying to be answered now.
Of course 2016 is on people’s minds and the minute this election is called for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, we’ll hear the whispers begin in earnest. If Romney loses, of course Christie becomes an immediate favorite.
But Christie is a smart man, if a wee-bit pompous and short-fused. He saw what bipartisanship did to Jon Huntsman, Jr. in this election cycle. Would he really risk hugging and thanking the President ad nauseam if it could be used against him by say, Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan?
The answer is still being figured out. But make no mistake about it, we’ll hear more from these two in the near and far future.