Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Weep Not For Chris

It starts with "Chris Christie flew close to the sun. Now he sits under it, defiantly," the title of Robert Costa's  Washington Post article summarizing the rise and fall of the New Jersey  governor. Noting the word "defiantly" suggests that Christie" is standing tall and daring haters to hate," Steve M. argues

You may have concluded that Chris Christie, who was already America's most unpopular governor, is surely going to driven from public life after his most recent act of arrogance -- luxuriating on a state-run beach after allowing beaches and parks to be closed to the public for most of the Fourth of July weekend. But a Washington Post article by the usually reliable Robert Costa reminds us that the press is always willing to put in a kind word for Christie, and that Republicans relitigate the reputations of their own until the bitter end.

Steve M. notes the  admiring quote Costa got from former RNC chairperson and current MSNBC contributor Michael Steele, and one from Larry Kudlow, a supply-side economic analyst, CNBC commentator, and advisor to the Trump campaign, who contends

With Christie, the tragedy is that he’s always had to work with a left-wing, Democratic legislature. Except for the first year, when he had shock value as a new governor, he hasn’t been able to get things through, He has not been able to implement his promises and his hopes for growth.”

Kudlow's claim, and Costa's acceptance of it at face value, neatly demonstrates SM's  observation that "important figures in the GOP still admire Christie, and that Christie is still the kind of Stern GOP Daddy the press really likes."

Governor Christie hardly has been hamstrung by "a left-wing, Democratic legislature." The state constitution grants the New Jersey governor powers envied by almost every other chief executive. Aside from the lieutenant governor- who runs on the same ticket as the governor- he/she is the only state-wide elected official, aside from federal offices.  Christie has appointed nearly everyone (aside from the legislature) in the public sector of any significance in the state.

Though Democrats have controlled the General Assembly and the Senate since Christie entered office, they never have had a veto-proof majority.  While Republicans vote in virtual lockstep with the governor, Democrats sometimes are split. Most Democrats in the northern half of the state are recognizable as Democrats while those in the southern half of the state march to the beat of insurance magnate George Norcross.  A Democrat, Norcross is easily the second most powerful individual in New Jersey politics, and several years ago forged an informal- but very real- alliance with the governor, which has led to the reprehensible state takeover of Atlantic City and several other initiatives. Politico five weeks ago explained

Christie restructured the state’s higher education institutions in a way that boosted Rowan University in South Jersey and gave the region a new medical school and signed a law to turn over Camden County’s EMS services to Cooper Hospital, which Norcross chairs. The governor also signed a law that overhauled New Jersey’s corporate incentive programs with a heavy emphasis on South Jersey that Norcross’ brother Donald, then a state Senator, “led the charge” on. That law enabled Norcross’ own insurance brokerage to qualify for $86 million in tax breaks to move its offices to Camden from Marlton.

Chris Christie will land on his feet. Ex-governor Christie, Steve M. realizes, will

still be a frequent Sunday talk show guest, assuming he doesn't sign an exclusive commentary deal Fox (although these days obnoxious Republicans are just as likely to wind up on MSNBC). He'll get wealthy serving on corporate boards. He might get a gig on local sports talk station WFAN, where he's an occasional guest.In a few years, his appalling record as governor will be memory-holed by the press and his party. We'll be reading reading stories titled "Chris Christie: Survivor." We'll be expected to forget that we ever hated him.

"We'll always have Paris," Rick told Ilsa.  And Chris Christie will always have his adoring, fawning (below) media.

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