Chris Christie has emerged as the most interesting character on the political landscape in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Miguel Bloombito just keeps keepin’ on, President Obama is acting all presidential, and Mitt Romney still can’t get out of his own way.
Christie, though, has fascinated with his unabashed praise of and gratitude for Obama’s support in helping New Jersey’s recovery. Now, one could argue that Christie is merely doing the bare minimum of what is expected of him as a governor of a disaster-stricken state, that his bipartisan bromance with Obama shouldn’t raise any eyebrows. But when is the last time any prominent Republican performed any bipartisan act or did the bare minimum to meet expectations?
No, more likely, Christie has figured out that Mitt Romney is unlikely to win this election and wants to cut all ties with the man who seems destined to become the Republicans’ version of John Kerry. Christie didn’t exactly commit his first-born child to Romney at the Republican National Convention, using his platform to attack Democrats and espouse his values (and rub against The Boss), while ruining the night of anyone playing a drinking game in which they had to chug when anyone said the name, “Mitt.”
With less than a week before the election, Christie is now actively distancing himself from the Romney/Ryan ticket by so effusively lauding the president during this time of crisis. He knows it will do him no good to back a losing candidate and that it’s time to focus on his own future. This act of supposed bipartisanship will go a long way toward reaching moderates who are ready for a change in 2016.
And if Christie does run in 2016, it’s hard not to see how he’s not the presumptive favorite, assuming Obama wins on Tuesday. The country will be ready for a change after eight years of Democratic leadership (obstructed by a Republican or split Congress) and a still-shaky economy. Let’s take a look at the last few elections that followed two consecutive terms of one-party presidency.
2008: After eight years of George W. Bush, the country was so desperate for a change that they elected a black guy.
2000: Despite the economy being in great shape, we still (kind of) elected a Republican to follow the popular Bill Clinton.
1988: This election was the Democrats’ for the taking, even with Reagan being beloved as a god. Then Michael Dukakis got in a tank and put on a helmet.
1976: Nixon and Gerald Ford combined for a lackluster 8 years that led to Jimmy Carter taking office.
1960: Everyone liked Ike. But JFK beat Nixon.
1952: Eight years of Truman (with a dash of FDR) was followed by Eisenhower.
People get bored. People blame the party in power when things are going well and they go to the other party, no matter what history says about the opposition’s ability to produce change.
So, if Obama wins, no matter how well he does in his second term, the Republicans are likely to take control in 2016 if they can put up a candidate with even a modicum of charisma, and one who can hide the crazy a little bit. As the governor of a Northeastern state who has generated an insane amount of goodwill by “standing strong” after a disaster, Christie will be in great shape.
Predictably, his friendly week with the president has turned some of the lunatic fringe of the Republican party against him (the lunatic fringe now represents 75% of the Republican party). Parks & Recreation write Joe Mande went on a splendid spree of retweeting conservatives calling Christie a traitor for not shunning Obama’s assistance in a time of genuine crisis.
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE IS FUCKING CAMPAIGNING FOR 2016. HOW THE FUCK YOU TALK SHIT ABOUT OBAMA. THEN SUCK HIS DICK ALL DAY LONG?
— Brad (@TALLBRADLY) November 1, 2012
@govchristie You are an idiot. How dare you throw Romney under the bus. Idiot!! Government is not the answer to rebuilding NJ. Freeloader!
— David F Valderaz (@DavidFValderaz) November 1, 2012
— Gunther Duden (@ChrisMatthewspu) October 31, 2012
@govchristie As a survivor of multiple hurricanes, my sympathy, but do you have to publicly pander to the traitor Obama?He’s lying yo you.
— Michaela T. Hill (@tejaschica1) October 31, 2012
There’s a lot more where that came from.
But ultimately, if crazy Tea Party folk are forced to choose between Christie and Hillary Clinton, they’re gonna vote for Christie. Plus, it will be sickening to watch Christie slide even further to the right and pander to the zealots during primary season.
On the other hand, if Christie is elected, it will be fantastic to watch him bravely try not to cry during his Inaugural Gala as he accepts the fact that Jason Aldean is playing because Bruce Springsteen ignored his invitation.