“I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”
– Chris Christie’s mentor and patron, George W Bush
In a column extoling the support that Chris Christie is receiving from certain “Democrats”, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Matt Katz discusses the reasons why the governor has received accolades. Unsurprisingly, it boils down to money and power.
What Katz and the general public fail to see is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Christie is one of the most astute politicians of our lifetime. He rarely blunders in his quest for political power and influence, and his taxpayer-funded squad of spin doctors is among the best in the business.
They say that history repeats itself, and that is becoming apparent in the political ascent of Chris Christie.
Christie’s boss won re-election to a second term because the nation was traumatized by the 9/11 disaster. As Katz points out, Christie’s surge in popularity is based primarily on the governor’s handling of another disaster, Hurricane Sandy. This, despite the fact that any chief executive worth his or her salt would have handled similar disasters with compassion and decisiveness. Christie had the added advantage of learning from his bungling of previous natural disaster, “snowmageddon,” during which he took a hands-off approach while he was unsurprisingly out of state.
If he’s re-elected, Christie will make every decision of his second term through the lens of the 2016 Presidential election. That means he will accelerate his right-wing anti-middle class, anti-environment agenda while cleverly presenting the persona of a bipartisan leader. In a field of Republican candidates who are typically extreme, irrational, and bigoted, Christie will position himself as the sane and rational choice for the presidential nomination. (Whether the irrational core of the GOP power structure opts for a sane candidate is the subject of another article.)
As a result, New Jersey will suffer. Not only because Christie will keep his eye off of the ball locally, but because he will take a sharp tack to the right if he wins a second term.
Of course, things would be much worse in a second Christie administration if the Democrats lose control of either or both houses of the legislature. But as we have seen, and as Katz points out, many powerful Democrats are complicit with Christie’s consolidation of power into the hands of unelected officials and the governor’s office. The way New Jersey’s government is set up puts the governor in the driver’s seat.
We saw what happened after George W Bush won a second term. The economy tanked and despite the intransigence of the GOP House, President Obama and his team were able to rescue the nation from the brink of financial disaster after Bush went back to Texas. Let’s not be foolish again and give Chris Christie the opportunity to do similar damage to New Jersey.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
– Chinese Proverb