How much Chris Christie is like Eliot Spitzer

Promoted by Jason Springer

By all means, check out Steve Kornacki’s excellent piece about whether New York gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Cuomo is the next Chris Christie or the next Eliot Spitzer. One of its knocks against Andrew is that while Christie traumatized Trenton, Albany seems perfectly ready for another Governor Cuomo.

Though I couldn’t help but notice how many victory laps Governor Christie has taken for someone who has been in office for such a short time. With every step forward with his agenda, he does a tour of national media outlets. Just today he was celebrating his first six months as governor with a rally in Ocean County. Claire Heninger reports back that President Obama’s name was booed out there in Republican country, and Christie responded:

“I hear you. We’ll get to that in 2012.”

Of course, he denied interest in a presidential candidacy (and he ought to be taken at his word, seeing as how he doesn’t have the cash to be a contender). Still, comments like these and the constant pat-myself-on-the-backism coming out of Camp Christie is starting to go from slightly obnoxious (even for politics) to absolutely grating.

Which brings this back to Eliot Spitzer. Unlike Christie, he began his governorship facing off against entrenched state legislative leaders who could tie him up like a pretzel. Spitzer’s pride and temper took over, and it ended up poisoning much of his political capital.

As Christie begins to face more experienced, more capable leaders in Trenton, he is not going to have such an easy time. And then we’ll get to see what he’s really made of. He’s shown an awful amount of hubris for someone whose approval ratings are only so-so. I doubt he will take the inevitable defeat with much grace. And then we wil get tol see how much Christie is like Spitzer.

Comments (12)

  1. Bill Orr

    Another comparison for Governor Christie is with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a cocky, outspoken, ambitious, conservative leader of the so-called Republican Revolution of the 19990’s who led the Republican take-over of the House during the Clinton years. His “Contract with America” was his simplistic, Republican-popular version of less government, less spending and less taxes that we get today from Christie. He was as media hungry as our governor and liked to shoot from the hip. A fast-burning candle, he quickly flamed out complete with a $300,000 fine for ethics violations.

    Like Spitzer (and Christie) Gingrich often seemed obnoxious and overbearing. Like Spitzer he proved there is life after being dethroned. So if we are lucky in a few years Christie will be relegated to writing a book and hosting a Fox TV show.

  2. Matthew Jordan

    Eliot Spitzer is a wonk’s wonk.  The man really knew policy (and still does); I’m not sure Christie has a command of the issues quite like Spitzer did.  

  3. Winston Smith

    Spitzer investigated and prosecuted Wall Street banksters for billions in fraud.

    Christie prosecutes mayors for getting their driveway paved for free.

    Spitzer takes an intellectual approach to policy, law, and economics – educated at Harvard.

    Christie is anti-intellectual thug.

    What are you thinking?

  4. Bertin Lefkovic

    As Christie begins to face more experienced, more capable leaders in Trenton, he is not going to have such an easy time.

    Unless you are anticipating that a large percentage of Democrats in the Assembly and Senate are going to be replaced in June 2011 primary challenges and/or there will be significantly more competitive districts next year, allowing for the emergence of new Democratic leadership as well as the retention of a Democratic majority in Trenton, I do not know what you are talking about here.

    Aside from Loretta Weinberg and a scant few others, there is no capable nor experienced Democratic leadership in Trenton and aside from potential insurgencies in places like Hawthorne, Lawrence, Paterson, Princeton, and Trenton, I am not aware of any progressive mobilization to establish real opposition to Christie in Trenton.

    If there is something going on in the state that I am not aware of, by all means, please educate me.  Thanks in advance.

  5. I was his press secretary in his successful 1998 race for New York Attorney General.  This much I can say about him, at least from my experience back then:

    1.  The man is intellectually brilliant – if you think he thinks he’s smart, he’s way smarter than that.  Mindbogglingly so.  Policy wonk doesn’t even begin to describe his detailed knowledge of pretty much every policy under the sun.

    2.   He treats his staff as equals.  He’s not, in contrast to what you might have thought from the public caricature – someone who surrounds himself with sycophants.  He hires people who challenges him and in inside discussions, no one ever feared to disagree with him.  He respected it and he embraced it, to the point where you almost forgot he was your boss.

    3.  He was an incredibly nice man in real life.

    I recognize the circumstances that brought him down as Governor demonstrate problems I did not see.  I’m just saying what I saw.


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