Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Lusting To Be No. 2

Now, he can go back to doing what he set out to do. No, not completing the position to which he was elected in New Jersey, though he rationalized "I could not get by, in my mind, in my heart, the idea that I was going to leave here 20 months into my term. I just couldn’t get by that."

Christie labored hard to convince the media that he was doing it all for his constituents, remarking at his press conference " Now is not my time. I have a commitment to New Jersey that I simply will not abandon." He did not say whether that "commitment" was to continue the destruction of education and public safety in New Jersey, as teachers and police officers fall victim to his ruthless budget-cutting.

Chris Christie wants to be vice-president, the best, and by far the easiest, stepping-stone to the presidency itself. Characteristically, he was witty about it, joking "I don't think there's anybody in America who thinks my personality is best suited to be No. 2." Neither, however, was the personality of Lyndon Johnson or Joe Biden one well suited to take orders from a guy in the Oval Office. Yet both LBJ and JB were selected as running mates because the presidential nominee (rightly) thought that they offered a contrast which would help get them elected.

Christie is charismatic and belligerent; Romney, neither. The New Jersey governor not only chose not to take himself out of consideration for the no. 2 slot; he invited consideration. It's hard not to be considered qualified for vice-president. Sarah Palin was not- but it had nothing to do with personality but a perceived, unique willingness to remain ignorant about major issues. If Christie were nominated, then selected, as vice-president and asked about yesterday's remark about "personality," the query would loom as a hanging curve. Not the best personality, he would gladly admit (even if he doesn't believe it himself); but the best qualified by reason of temperament, experience, and record, he would boast, ludicrously- but credibly in the eyes of the adoring media.

However, while the Governor has not taken himself out of serious consideration for the v.p. slot, he had long ago taken himself out of any realistic possibility of gaining the Republicanpresidential nomination. "You gotta believe in your heart," Christie said on September 20, " that you are ready to walk into the Oval Office and to lead the nation. And I don’t feel like I’m ready.”

The G.O.P. candidates would not have given Christie a pass on that one. Nor would they have let him slide on his occasional forays from extreme conservatism into the mainstream. Herman Cain sent a warning on Sunday, declaring "Most of the conservatives believe that we should enforce our borders. They do not believe people should be here without documentation. They do not believe global warming is a crisis or a threat. Yes it might be a little bit out there, but they don’t see it as a crisis or a threat. And as you go right down the line, he’s going to turn off a lot of conservatives with those positions."

It would have been entertaining to view Chris Christie pandering to those he referred to as "the crazies" when opposition arose to his appointment of a Muslim to a judgeship. And pander he would have, and still he would have been wiped out in the nomination process, which would have rendered him an unlikely candidate for the vice-presidential nod. In the process, he would have positioned himself to the far right and taken himself out of a realistic possibility of being re-elected in relatively liberal New Jersey.

Led around by the nose by the narcissistic governor, members of the media thought there was a legitimate chance Chris Christie would run for president. Now that he is running for national office- the vice-presidency- they seem not to notice.

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