Reality Check: The Courtship Of Chris Christie

Desperate Republicans Beg New Jersey Governor to Beat Obama

“I’m 100 percent certain I’m not going to run,” New Jersey’s Governor told CNN this week. It is the same thing he’s told the local press for months and what Chris Christie told the Republican elite this past winter. It is what he said matter-of-factly to former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani a couple of days ago at a very public Manhattan power lunch. Soon he will be forced to repeat this to a committee of five separate conservative groups and one national Tea Party fund-raising firm next week when they officially beseech him to rescue the Grand Old Party from the current snooze-fest crazies making up the Republican field that hopes to challenge a sitting Democratic President next summer.

It is also what his office emphatically told this reporter the very evening this was committed to print.

Christie has been governor for a little over a year and has done so in the very opposite manner of quietly. His fervent attacks on unions, specifically the bloated and rancorous teachers’ unions and its public employees, has created a template for Republican governors across the nation. This has made him quite simply the party’s star. A hefty, straight-talking, no-nonsense bluster of a man, Christie is the kind of tough matched with likable in a New Jersey wise-guy way that simultaneously defuses and ignites both opposition envy and anger.

I like Christie. As with every politician, I do not agree with many of his policies or ideologies, although I’m more apt to swallow stringent fiscal chopping of state funding if it comes from a Republican who doesn’t openly oppose gay civil unions or supports reasonable gun laws, and shies away from bludgeoning the electorate with his faith, which is Catholic. Most of all, my good friend, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican who is enduring similar battles with public employees and unions, digs him. Astorino told me last summer many in his county have gone as far as calling him the “thin Christie.”

It doesn’t hurt that Christie is a mere three days older than me, another post-Boomer Irish/Italian ball breaker who would sooner eat shit than apologize for his actions and/or statements. I respect that, as I respected his handling of the Choppergate issue in which he used a tax-funded helicopter to see his kid’s championship baseball game and then paid the money back, but paid no lip service to microphones or newspads by back peddling with some creepy conciliation.

Of course, I would like Christie more if he’d lower these oppressive property taxes, something he, like the last guy, Jon Corzine, promised. And would it kill his Libertarian views to wave certain smoking laws, so I can work down an Ashton at a roadside tavern now and again.

But give Christie, or at least his office credit. Neither was thrown by my repeated emails and one four-page screed sent over the past six months regarding a permit to build a second-story parapet for my canon, the very one the local police were appalled at when I broached the subject three summers ago.

The entire episode began soon after I’d spotted two half-soused goons brandishing rifles while walking in broad late-morning daylight down my road. I quickly cautioned the authorities who then reminded me it was hunting season. I in turn reminded them that “hunting” on a public road at 10 in the morning constitutes a tangible threat to my sovereignty and I’d be “forced to ready my defenses.”

Within minutes two squad cars screeched up to my property and after a tertiary search of my front room, I was to endure a 10-minute lecture on the legal right for the dickless to massacre helpless creatures for sport. I calmly retorted that while wild bears run free ready to wrestle in hand-to-hand combat, what kind of feckless pussy would prefer blasting deer from fifty yards away with a shotgun?

And so it was with great glee that I was informed by the governor’s office that while they did not particularly care about my late-19th century firearm—perfectly within my Second Amendment rights to protect the Clemens Estate, especially as the economy continues to slip into chaos—they could see no sensible reasoning behind building a raised station for it.

But my affinity for the governor and my strict adherence to ancient defenses aside, it is the Republican Party that is most in love with Chris Christie. And why not? After spending two painful hours watching its misguided gaggle of badly coached candidates, it would be hard not to conclude that only a young, Northeastern, social moderate could possibly hold off what would surely be a “lesser of two evils” Independent vote for a President with sinking approval ratings in a quagmire economy and four to five questionable military conflicts.

Independents are not going to vote for any of these people, least of all Mitt Romney, early frontrunner and bane of the party. While the former Massachusetts governor has the money and the name recognition, he is also getting strong resistance from below in the TEA Party grassroots and above from the power players. Smart money, even this early when as in the summer 2007 it looked like a lock that Hillary Clinton would oppose Rudy Giuliani, has Romney failing to survive past the South Carolina primary and is likely doomed in Michigan where he is on record as calling the auto industry bailout a mistake.

This week Texas Governor Rick Perry began an exploratory committee to see if anyone could accept a man for President who thrice threatened to secede from the union. To most observers Perry has become a sad punchline for his own constituents as record state deficits stare them in the face.

So it is Chris Christie and his Saturday-at-dawn-downing-gravy-fries-at-the-diner scowl or bust.

Christie maintains it is bust.

The stretching shadows of my 3.4-inch Dahlgren Boat Howitzer causes me to agree.


James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus and Midnight For Cinderella.