The Man Who Would Be President, Part II
Previously, Chris Christie had been such a commanding figure a 2013 Time magazine cover story headlined “Why Chris Christie Can Win Over the Republican Party.” The Man Who Would Be President was assuring private audiences of business leaders, “I’m in this business to win.” Where did the battle-tested smart politician who could win in a blue collar Democratic state TWICE—now in danger of winding up in the wastebasket of history or a partner in a real estate law firm, which ever is worst— go wrong?
Traffic study freaks blame the decline of Christie nationally on the Bridgegate scandal, that silly lane closure business at the GWB in 2013, for which the governor was unfairly tarred by the media. First of all, it was a real traffic study, never adequately explained to the media or public. The science: what would happen if two of the tollbooth lanes were closed during the morning rush hours. The hypothesis: congestion might occur. The result: Traffic was backed up in Fort Lee all the way to Wilkes-Barre. So the study was validated.
Anyway, the so-called GWB Scandal was nonsense compared to other Christie administration possible scandals. The Exxon Refinery Deal—in which the Christie people settled a $8.9 billion claim for $250 million –still smells like the Bayway Refinery on a good day, and other crimes of misfeasance and malfeasance committed by the gang that couldn’t shoot straight in Trenton.
Others blame the candidate’s style of governance. Our governor has been away from the state so often our citizens think of him as the Governor of New Hampshire. As of Nov. 7, he was in the middle of a three-day weekend swing through New Hampshire, his 45th trip to the Granite State this year alone. According to The Record of Hackensack, he was holding his 31st town hall-style meeting that Friday morning with two others scheduled Friday afternoon. 45 days away from the state in ten months struck some observers as dereliction of duty! Actually, that was a positive, limiting the amount of damage he could inflict on the state.
Another view is his invincibility was hurt by a loss of weight. In preparation for the 2016 race, His Rotundity, as we called him locally, went on a miracle diet. By the time he hit the road in New Hampshire and Iowa, he had lost a third chin. Not only did His Wide Load, as we also called him, cut back the number of fast food joints he visited on state business, he had undergone stomach-stapling surgery. Nothing was too much to sacrifice for his country.
Personally, I blame his decline on his campaign strategy.
He began his race in New Hampshire by delivering a series of position papers on the important issues. Day after day at the town hall meetings, he would be explaining where he stood on fixing Social Security, Medicare, immigration, taxes. His positions were descending on the poor voters, like acid rain from New Jersey.
It wasn’t enough to assure the folks his positions were not carved in granite. If elected, he would do whatever winning candidates do when they throw the rascals out and bring in the new rascals.
Even worse, some of the crazy things he was doing back in New Jersey were puzzling, like vetoing the gun bill he previously had proposed. Being hard on guns was only campaign rhetoric, perhaps? The base already trusted Christie as much as Stalin trusted Trotsky in the race for Kremlin leadership.
What the governor or his advisors didn’t get:
2016 wasn’t about issues, it was about personality.
The people voting in the polls were not voting on where the candidates stood on the problems that needed fixing to make America great again. They were voting on the personalities of the 17 great Americans who volunteered to perform the ultimate public service as President.
How else could you explain the popularity of a pediatric neurosurgeon who seemed to be as laid back as a dead catfish on TV, the man who argued the Pyramids were built to store wheat, that the evolutionary theory was a hoax, and that climate change is a fable concocted by the Devil?
How else could you explain the popularity of a golf course and hotel impresario whose major campaign plank is sending home the 11 million illegals? Unlike Pres. Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” he would do it humanely. Any day now he will be revealing his humane plan: sending the families back by FedEx.
Personality trumped, if you’ll pardon the expression, issues in 2016.
Poor Chris Christie was coming across as a man who was too heavy intellectually, a policy wonk who invoked the image of the previous New Jersey Governor, Woodrow Wilson, in the White House, he man who made the world safe for democracy after World War I. A brainy Christie in the White House may be too scary.
The saddest party of this miscalculation in campaign strategy is that Chris Christie’ major asset was his winning personality. He told us that himself.
As shocking as all of this may be, there is an even more glaring reason why The Man Would Be President is now on the slippery slope, hurting his chances of becoming the first fat Republican in the White House since William Howard Taft.
NEXT: Why Christie Has Been Out to Launch In 2016.
November 13, 2015