New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is working hard to shift gears. It’s difficult — those gears are worn after nearly a year and a half in traffic. The Chris Christie who bucked conventional wisdom is back, he wrote in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday morning; the Chris Christie who calls out his adversaries by name is back, he showed a New Hampshire primary audience Tuesday night. It’s a refreshing Hail Mary he’s throwing, no doubt: But it really is just that — a desperate, backfield hurtle in a losing game of his own making. Because Gov. Chris Christie has no friends.
“Maybe the enthusiasm isn’t as crazy as it was,” wife Mary Pat Christie told Jake Tapper in an interview CNN aired Wednesday morning.
“What I will tell you — because I do make a lot of phone calls — is that everyone always says that ‘I know he’d be a great president,'” she continued. Sound familiar? For those who keep the company of former Gov. Mitt Romney’s beleaguered supporters it is, because it’s as common in politics as “rest in peace” in obituaries. And it means the same thing. (2013: Why Chris Christie Won’t Win The Presidency In 2016)
Mr. Christie is never going to be president of the United States. Where he once bounced on a springboard of his early blue-state successes, he is now mired in Jersey bogs of his own making. And who is there to help? No one. Why would they? Where was Mr. Christie when his then-allies needed him? In his home state; on the Hill with the speaker’s crew; across the GOP’s elite; or with conservatives of every stripe, the governor wasn’t even absent — he was their antagonist.
In New Jersey in 2013, the governor surrendered his interim Senate nomination and kicked the Republican candidate off his wide political coattails at a cost of $24 million and for no believable reason other than to pad his own presidential resume at the expense of his party’s political future. Not a good tactic if you want friends in the Garden State GOP. (2013: Two more reasons Chris Christie’s selfishness is ruining America)
That isn’t so shocking, we suppose. A few months earlier, and just before the 2012 election, Mr. Christie had embraced President Barack Obama while telling the media that he wasn’t “the least bit concerned or interested” if his party’s candidate — the possible future president of the U.S.A. — visited his state, battered and bruised by Superstorm Sandy.
“I’m tired of you people!” Mr. Christie reportedly told a Romney aide months earlier at the Republican convention. “Leave me the fuck alone!” With Jeb Bush cozying up to his Wall Street backers and Mr. Romney’s old staff, it appears they took the advice. Not a good tactic if you want friends in the national party.
A few months later, in early 2013, the governor targeted more Republicans — this time, in the House of Representatives — because House Democrats (hint: that’s the same party as the president he’d hugged it out with) had used the Sandy disaster to pack a relief bill with more than $17 billion in pork and special-interest hand-outs. New York City’s nearby Wall Street Journal called the bill “a disgrace to the memory of the victims [that] could taint legitimate efforts to deal with future disasters,” but when Speaker of the House John Boehner’s party said “No way,” Mr. Christie slammed the Republicans.
Maybe it was that famous temper he loves to tout when fighting on behalf of the taxpayers, but given all the billions in taxpayer loot, it’s more likely he was padding his take-charge presidential resume at the expense of his party’s fiscal sanity. Not a good tactic if you want friends in the Republican majority.
And in an unfortunate, if largely predictable, twist, even Mr. Christie’s most unblemished effort at Republican teamwork — his lucrative term as head of the Republican Governor’s Association — would fail to win him more than temporary allegiance: As governors geared up for their own presidential bids, he found himself facing many of the same politicians he was raising money with.
But it doesn’t end there: libertarians, climate-change skeptics, social conservatives and Second–Amendment activists alike have all been annoyed — or specifically targeted — by the Garden State governor at one time or another.
Among the great many quotes questionably attributed to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
And it’s true: Mr. Christie deserves credit for that hard-charging approach that shot him onto the national scene in the first place. When one-party rule has strangled the economy of a vibrant and beautiful seaboard state, it’s time to kick some ass, and he did.
But a phrase Mr. Churchill definitely did coin was “the darkest hour”– a desperate time when he called on every good friend and ally he had to help him eventually win the day. Today, Mr. Christie is all alone.
“It certainly is disappointing when you had throngs of people encouraging you to do this,” Mrs. Christie reflected on Wednesday morning’s segment.
“Maybe the enthusiasm isn’t as crazy as it was.”