He Coulda Been a Contenda
It wasn’t supposed to be over until the fatman sang. The morning after the first primary in the circus freak show known as the Republican presidential nomination fight, he did. After an all night bout of soul-searching, Chris Christie announced with “no regrets” he was throwing in the towel.
I’m sorry it has taken me so long to digest the end of the New Hampshire primary (Feb. 9) and its aftermath (Feb. 10). The governor’s hanging up his gloves so quickly left me in a deep funk.
Admittedly, the governor had some problems as he searched his soul that night. Should he quit or have another Triple Whopper with fries, and a float, at Burger King? Or perhaps end the whole internal conflict with a milkshake at McDonald’s, to show his support for minimum wage workers, even though they didn’t vote for him in the Granite State.
Still I was stunned by the speed with which he counted himself out of the fight.
For four years, Gov. Christie has been in training for the electoral fight of his life. The folks back home in New Jersey put up with the 260 days he took off from his day job in Trenton in 2015 to fulfill his dream of being president. And now with the sound of the bell still ringing in our ears at the end of Round 1, he was saying in effect, “the hell with the presidency.” His message to the nation was: fugehddaboudit.
Some of us can’t.
Was this the same guy who was going to kick the president’s rear end the hell out of the White House, or whatever he said in the heat of a debate? I need to look up the exact words in my Bartlett’s Book of Great Quotations.
We thought our governor was a fighter, a brass knuckle brawler, and a never-say-die tough guy. Instead, he turned out to be a feckless weakling.
As he entered the fight after reading the last line of his inaugural address in 2013, Chris Christie reminded me in appearance, fighting style and the unwavering confidence in his destiny of another New Jersey iconic figure, Dominic Antonio Galento of the Oranges, the heavyweight boxer better known as “Two Ton.” He had picked up the nickname because of an excuse he gave his manager about being late for a fight: “I had to deliver two tons of ice.”
Two Ton was one of the few fighters in ring annals who had wrestled an octopus, boxed a kangaroo and a 550-lb. bear, all of whom were easy compared to the challenges Christie faced in the original Gang of 17.
Christie’s style of keeping in shape for a big fight was bread and water compared to Two Ton’s. For one memorable fight, Galento consumed six chickens, a side of spaghetti, washed down with a half-gallon of red wine, a six pack of beer, or both. He further scared the stuffing out of his sparring partners by eating their meals. Once, it is said, he ate 52 hot dogs before he lost a fight— because it made him feel sluggish.
Christie in New Hampshire was as confident as Mr. Two Ton before his 1939 fight against world champion Joe Louis. Asked what he thought of his chances against Louis, Two Ton said “I never hoid of da bum.” On further thought he added, “I’ll moida da bum.”
He could have won, he explained about why he was knocked out in the 4th round, if he hadn’t followed his manager’s advice to fight clean, if he had fouled him.
But Christie in New Hampshire looked more like another New Jersey role model, Chuck Wepner, the Bayonne Bleeder, who needed 72 stitches in his face after the Sonny Liston fight in 1975.
What is so upsetting to his fans versed in the sweet science of political infighting is that our boy was gaining momentum in New Hampshire. In Iowa, he was in seventh place with 4%. By the time he finished wowing the folks in New Hampshire, he was in sixth place with 7.4 % of the vote. He had managed to kayo ex-Gov. Gilmore of Virginia, at 0%. Not to mention sending Carly Fiorina to the moon with his Ralph Kramden “POW! Right to the kisser.”
True, he may not have been the next Henry Cabot Lodge leaving New Hampshire, but he could have been acclaimed “the comeback kid,” using the Marco the Magnificent method of scoring primary fights.
They say the reason the governor was seeing 2016 in his rear view mirror is a cash flow problem. What a lame excuse!
Oh, well there is no sense crying over a spilled milk shake.
Our “Christie for President 2016’ organization has a slight change in strategy and nomenclature. It is now “Christie for Governor 2016.”
Either in New Jersey, or even better in New Hampshire, where he is more familiar.
We are so confident that One Ton Christie can win, we have even written a campaign song, adapted from a well-known folk song:
“I don’t want him. You can have him.
He’s too fat for me.
He’s too fat for me.
He’s too fat. Much too fat. He’s too fat for meeee.*”
(*Thanks to Ross MacLean and Arthur Richardson, the “Too Fat Polka” lyric writers, for their contribution to the Christie for Governor 2016 campaign).
February 13, 2016