Chris Christie’s Double Standard On Bush Cronyism

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As the Christie for President 2016 bus hits heavy traffic some of us longtime Christie observers are finding glory in the evening. All the old critiques – shady travel arrangements, irresponsible public statements, possible pay to play violations – once sequestered in dirty Jersey newsrooms and blogs – have escaped their local confinement into the national consciousness. Chris Christie has grown and matured to become the nation's fake reformer.

So while we can commiserate with our fellow Americans getting a first long look past the image to the real Chris Christie and being reasonably horrified, we also, due to knowing what we know, have the benefit of appreciating the finer points of the insanity of a Christie presidential run.

One tidbit that only a close observer of the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial race is likely to appreciate is Team Christie's current push back against Jeb Bush detailed in yesterday's Washington Post. The Post story comes amid a slew of bad news for Governor Downgrade as Republican donors and supporters slowly back away and recognize they need to find a better candidate to have any hope in 2016.

 

In the Post story, it's reported that Team Christie is trying to marginalize and minimize support for 2016 rival and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush by citing that “much of the movement toward Bush is coming from loyalists who received appointments in the administrations of his father and brother.” 

That is an interesting line of attack to take given the backstory and resulting controversy of Chris Christie's appointment as US Attorney which became an issue in his 2009 race for governor. Before his appointment by President George W. Bush to be US Attorney Chris Christie was another failed politician turned lobbyist in Trenton. His onetime lobbying partner and current advisor, William Palatucci, helped Christie become a major Bush fundraiser and later, according to a report in the New York Times, sent Bush advisor Karl Rove a note asking for Christie to receive the US Attorney appointment. 

In New Jersey, William Palatucci, a Republican political consultant and Bush supporter, boasted of selecting a United States attorney by forwarding Mr. Rove the résumé of his partner, Christopher J. Christie, a corporate lawyer and Bush fund-raiser with little prosecutorial experience. (emphasis mine)

While it is not uncommon for there to be a quid pro quo between fundraisers and elected officials, the legal community in New Jersey presented considerable opposition to Christie's appointment and reasonably noted that Christie had no experience with criminal law and had mostly spent his years as a lawyer in politics. 

Aye, there's the rub. It did not ultimately matter what Christie's experience (or lack thereof) was – he was loyal to Bush and was rewarded for it with public favor. While that kind of behavior is allowed under our system, it seems rather hypocritical to attack an opponent for benefiting from the results of Bush patronage when you did as well.

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