As Republicans wrestled with finding a candidate to run for President in 2012, many in the party, including avowed Conservatives such as Ann Coulter and Bill Kristol, thought that the Governor of New Jersey was the man who could beat Barack Obama. He decided not to run, but his ability to win the nomination was in doubt anyway due to his positions on several issues important to the right wing of the party.
After his decision not to run—and his subsequent endorsement of Mitt Romney—Christie has displayed a series of questionable behaviors that have led many to question where his loyalties lie. Was he the Conservative-leaning Republican he claimed to be, or was he simply another opportunistic politician who was willing to compromise his principles for political convenience. It appears to be the latter.
In the days leading up to the 2012 election, Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast, dealing a particularly devastating blow to New York and New Jersey. This event, which should have had nothing to do with politics, proved to provide a major boost to Christie’s re-election campaign, as he embraced Obama and shunned Romney.
While no one questioned Christie for taking care of the people of New Jersey after such a tragic event, his methodology raised serious questions about his motivations. Asked about the possibility of Gov. Romney’s then-planned trip to survey the damage in the Garden State, Gov. Christie responded, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff.”
His take on things was substantially different when the topic came to Obama. As The New Yorker‘s John Cassidy points out, Gov. Christie was all over the dial evangelizing for Obama.
Appearing on the networks this morning, Christie, for the third day in a row, heaped praise on Obama’s handling of the storm. “The President has been outstanding in this,” he told the “Today” show. On “Morning Joe,” he said, “It’s been very good working with the President. He and his Administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful.” Speaking on CNN, Christie said that he had been mightily impressed by Obama’s accessibility throughout the crisis. “He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it.” Christie also pointed out that Obama didn’t once bring up politics in their conversations, and added, “If he’s not bringing it up, you can be sure that people in New Jersey are not worried about that, primarily if one of the guys running isn’t.”
As Mediaite concluded: It’s probably waaay beneath Chris Christie to play politics with a hurricane, but this praise for the POTUS does burnish Christie’s straight-talkin’ image at a time when every general election voter is watching, while making Mitt Romney, whose defeat would make a Christie 2016 run possible, look horrible. A cynical person might think something.
Considering the circumstances, it could be argued that Christie had no choice but to begin a bromance with Obama at the time. But three recent events have only served to reinforce the perception that he is a man without convictions.
Event one: When Senator Frank Lautenberg (D) passed away in June, Governor Christie had two options in how to fill it. He could simply appoint someone to serve out the rest of the term and let voters elect a new senator on schedule next year, or he could throw all of that away by appointing a very short-term replacement for Lautenberg and scheduling a special election for sometime later this year. He went with the short-term option, giving Democrats a decided advantage in keeping the seat.
In order to provide maximum protection of his electorial ass—no pun intended—he scheduled the Senate special election in October, not on election day in November. That way, he can all but hand the seat to Newark, NJ mayor, Cory Booker—burnishing his “bipartisan” brand—while ensuring that he himself won’t have to face the extra Democratic voters who are likely to show up and vote for Booker.
In the words of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey: “All Christie had to do is appoint a Republican. Now I put it down as debilitating stupidity, because the first rule of politics is don’t lose the friends you already have for the friends you’re never going to get.”
Oh, and it will only cost the cash-strapped state of New Jersey $20,000,000.
Event two: Faced with increasing scrutiny from the Benghazi and IRS scandals, Obama was in need of a diversion. What better way to take America’s mind off of these phony scandals than a reunion tour with his BFF, Chris Christie. They walked the Point Pleasant boardwalk, viewed sandcastle art, and played arcade games. Christie even won a stuffed bear for the “throws like a girl” President, who went 0 for 5 in a football toss game.
One reporter summed it up this way: They smiled, they chuckled—and there was even a man hug or two. I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
Event three: With his re-election well under control—he is ahead of his Democrat challenger by high double digits—Christie has begun to turn his focus to his probable presidential ambitions. And in true John McCain fashion, he is currently on a mission to show his own brand of maverick-ism, beginning with a full-out assault on another Republican, Rand Paul (KY). In a statement that is sure to alienate the Conservative/Libertarian movement within the party, Christie called Paul—and by default, everyone who believes that Constitutional rights needn’t be sacrificed for security—“very dangerous.”
After a response by Paul in defense of the Constitution, Christie accused him of engaging in “pork barrel” spending to win elections in Kentucky. Paul responded by calling Christie “the king of bacon.” The feud has grown from there.
Senator Paul offered to settle their differences over a beer, but Christie says he doesn’t have time for such trivialities because of his busy campaign. However, that didn’t stop him from making a trip to Las Vegas—a summer destination he once ridiculed in support of New Jersey gambling—for a “gubernatorial” fundraiser. I’m sure the fact that Nevada is an early caucus state was purely coincidental.
Christie is enjoying the highest favorability ratings of potential Republican candidates . . . among Democrats. The liberal media absolutely hearts him which should tell you all you need to know about Christie’s Conservative credentials, and Progressives of all stripes—even George Soros himself—are supporting him financially.
When taken as a whole, it is clear that Chris Christie’s behavior confirms that he is a political opportunist who lacks the conviction of his beliefs. In other words, he’s gutless.
Please join me as we enshrine our newest inductee in to the Gutless On Principle Hall of Shame . . . Governor Chris Christie.