Chris of Arabia

Our favorite governor’s enemies in the media, of which there is no shortage, have been trying to make him look bad this week by telling stories describing his life on the road. Apparently, our great Governor Brontosaurus has displayed a fondness for private jets and posh hotels as he goes around the world promoting New Jersey as a place to invest and do business.

Instead of being a Philadelphia cheesesteak and beer on the boardwalk- type guy, as we have been led to believe about the Jersey guy who loves ice cream cones, the Shore and Springsteen, press reports about costs of travel, lodging and food as he lives the good life reveal an Inner Christie, which is not surprising, given his size. It requires lavish jaunts on so-called business trips.

The media is especially relishing the governor’s three day weekend Hajj to his best bud King Abdullah’s palace in Jordan. The Scherazades of the press make a trade mission to create more jobs in New Jersey sound like a page out of “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.”

Now I haven’t been invited to Abdullah’s digs. There hasn’t been a Kitman in the Sheikdom tents since 1612.

But I have been to Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the 6,379,000 sq. ft home of the late Sultan Mehmed II. I was especially impressed by the Imperial Harem wing, with its 400 rooms, housing 400, more or less, wives and concubines. Talk about matrimonial bliss.

Suffice it to say, King Abdullah’s Palace is no Comfort Inn or even Courtyard Suites.

A long time friend, dating back months, King Abdullah undoubtedly spared no expense in laying out the magic carpet for the personal visit by the Sheik of New Jersey. One can imagine the champagne receptions on the desert, the usual belly dancers, flaming camel steaks on the Barbie and whatever else is on the menu for visiting friends on dubious trade missions. I bet there was some rowdy towel-snapping going on inside the bathhouse the Scherazades couldn’t tell us about.

Reading about the exploits of Chris in Arabia, it made me wonder where did the critics expect him to stay in Jordan and other far-flung trading posts? At Trappist monasteries, which require his mouth being shut, except when eating nuts and berries.

Faultfinders didn’t like his friends: Besides Abby, the despised Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and beloved gambling tycoon Adelsons. And they certainly didn’t like the idea of his flying in friends’ private jets. It didn’t matter seats aren’t that comfortable on commercial planes for a man who requires one-and-a-half seat. Besides, it could be argued, what are friends for?

They didn’t like his expensive meals, which strained his reputation for austerity at home. Travel, they say, is broadening Hopefully, he hasn’t fallen off his diet. Selfies show that he has already lost one of his three chins. In that lab coat touring a London biological research and development arm of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, he now looks like Lou Costello.

All of this is food for thought—and possible indigestion.

I suspect folks in Iowa and New Hampshire may be outraged by this high on the hog other Gov. Christie. But a lot of people in New Jersey are secretly saying well good for him. We like people who can beat the system.

What does all this travelgate stuff really say about our loveable Brontosaurus?

First of all, it says he is a good family man.

He could have taken some bimbo on the trips. His wife Mary Pat is always along, smiling in the photo-ops –unlike many New Jersey wives.

He loads his friends’ planes not only with his smiling wife, three or more of his four children, his mother-in-law, his father, and stepmother, four staff members, his former law partner, and a state trooper. Why not –there’s room on the plane. There is more transparency on his trips. He’s not like the governor of a nearby state who needed to give numbers to companions on his trips away from the governor’s mansion.

And he always shows up where he says he is going. Not like that governor who said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, when he was actually in Buenos Aires.

The big question in this Travelgate scandal? Does it mean our governor is corrupted by taking advantage of his friends’ largess?

Are you kidding?

He is incorruptible by virtue of his being so deep in potential corruption charges--Why do you think Mitt Romney turned him down as a running mate in 2012?--he has built up antibodies that have made him immune. A plane ride or a pheasant or two under glass is not going to influence unduly our great Brontosaurus.

You have to remember, too, that a whiff of scandal is like perfume in New Jersey politics. Integrity is a shtick, which makes us suspicious. Why is the man so squeaky clean? What is he hiding?


Marvin Kitman
February 5, 2015

Marvin Kitman is the author of “The Making of the Preƒident 1789.” “George Washington’s Expense Account” by Gen. George Washington and Marvin Kitman PFC (Ret.) was the best-selling expense account in publishing history.

CC Creative Commons Photo "Caravane de Dromadaires" by Bauchmont, via Wikimedia Commons.