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To see New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's record go here.
In short, Cristie has been a failure, at least for New Jersey. Yet, today, the guy Romney called Pufferfish and rejected as too risky to be his running mate, will easily win re-election in the blue state.
To begin to understand how a blue state GOP governor with a terrible record in his first term could easily win re-election...we have to turn to style....because obviously, substance doesn't play a role.
From the first moment I watched the Pufferfish hatefully dress down teachers at one of his events...yes, teachers.....I gained an insight into why many voters are attracted to him....including Democratic voters who should know better. It's all about Christie's authoritarian style.
Christie's style of politicking is the exact opposite of The Reverend's number one working rule....i.e. if you are going to pick on people, pick on those who are powerful. A powerful governor dressing down your average teacher in front of other powerless people...which Christie seems to love to do.....is meant to silence those who are basically powerless. It's the tool-of-choice for your standard run-of-the-mill bully.
Other powerless people observe how a bully treats a powerless teacher or two....they see how Christie ridicules and angrily attacks a commoner...and those powerless people then are more reluctant to speak out openly against the bully. Pure psychological intimidation.
Oddly, New Jersey citizens prefer a governor who fails in his role as state leader.....because at least Christie speaks plainly, and often contemptuously...to the powerless.
I understand why conservatives and Republicans are enamored by Christie. Angry middle class, non-minority, conservatives are dying for lack of a GOP national candidate who will speak angrily towards, and with contempt for, the powerless. We witness that dynamic everywhere. From Newt Gingrich's hateful bile spewing in winning the South Carolina primary last year.....to Paul Ryan's "Christian" view of the powerless lounging around on hammocks as they wait for Democratic Santas.....contempt for the vulnerable, poor and sick in our society is at an all time high in today's GOP.
The point here is that conservatives are drawn to Christie's style not only because of the governor's habit of bullying the powerless.....but because of the conservative ideology behind the bullying. In conservative-land a person who is poor wants to be poor, wants to feed at the government trough, wants to be dependent because they refuse to take personal responsibility for their own lives. Thus, conservatives think that the bullying style of Christie is just what those loafers have coming to them.
But New Jersey Democrats will also help re-elect Christie today. Why would that be the case? I'll venture a guess. Just as the South prides itself on it's hospitality and friendliness....so too, New Jersey takes pride in the rudeness of it's state's citizens. I'm no world traveler, but in my visit to the Garden State in the 90's I learned that I never wanted to return. What turned me off about the state is apparently what New Jerseyans are most proud of. I think many Democrats will help punch Christie's ticket today because Christie's bullying style best represents the image a majority of state citizens would like portrayed about their state. Could be wrong, of course, but I'm always open to discussing alternative views.
The wider view.....and with Christie you need a wider view.....is that Christie is GOP presidential timber for 2016. Maybe. But think about these two things:
1) Mitt Romney reviewed Christie's resume and determined that Christie couldn't survive a GOP presidential primary. Lots of stuff in the New Jersey governor's past will raise serious questions about the bully's integrity.
2) Christie is not celebrated by the extreme conservative base. Angry Teas enjoy and swoon over Christie's willingness to bully the powerless "parasites"....but the governor embraced the enemy following Storm Sandy....and that. alone, disqualified him in the eyes of many on the far right. Additionally, Christie is a GOP governor in a northern blue state. Didn't Republicans try that route in 2012? How did that turn out?
Tonight and tomorrow look for the Village to hold a nauseating pep rally over Christie's re-election...while simultaneously minimizing airtime discussing the former red state of Virginia's election of a Democratic governor. The reason? No one loves to speak more contemptuously of the powerless than the Village. It is the Village's job description today to comfort the powerful while afflicting the powerless. In doing that job of advocating for the powerful while afflicting the riff-raff, Chris Christie is the Village's poster boy.