Chris Christie: The Longshot

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Dan Scotto

Dan Scotto lives and works in New Jersey. He has a master's degree in history, with a focus on the history of disease and the history of technology.

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54 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    The timing just didn’t quite work out for him. 2012 was just too soon. Too little experience and too untested. I think he was on track to overcome the Sandy thing, but the bridge really did him in. And now it’s too late.

    I was mentioning something along these lines (sort of) with Huckabee the other day. In 2008, Huckabee was like GWB is a lot of the wrong ways (as far as primary voters are concerned) and so couldn’t get the nomination. He was set up perfectly for 2012 and I think he’s the only candidate in this reality and timeline who could have knocked off Romney, but he didn’t run. And now it’s too late, with his feet planted in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Unlike Christie, I think Huckabee would have been a disaster in any general election between 2008 and 2016 in the current reality and timeline, but he could have gone into the history books as a guy who lost to Obama. And he could have had some influence in the party’s direction. Neither of which are the case. But he’s financially set, anyway.Report

  2. Avatar Morat20 says:

    I think Christie would have flamed out and died in 2012.

    I don’t think any of the things that happened to him (the bridge, for instance) between 2012 and now were one-offs. They’re part and parcel of who he is.

    Laying aside potential abuses of power issues, his personal style is simply not fit for a general election. Rough elbows may play well in rough-and-tumble NJ state politics, but it only takes a few videos of a sitting governor berating teachers before you get cast as ‘bully’ and pushed out of the picture.

    Maybe I’m wrong — I haven’t followed him to closely, but he strikes me as exactly the sort of politician that gets eyeballs for being “combative” and “willing to fight for his priorities” and all those other ways of saying “strong and standing up for Ideology X!” and then, when it gets down to it, turns out to be more of a petty tyrant rather than a bold leader.

    Lots of politicians look good in the glow of distance. Most of them fall apart under the microscope.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      I agree about Christie’s abrasive personality. Yelling at teachers may fire up the base who has come to hate unions with the fire of a thousand suns, but it doesn’t play well to people out of that bubble. He has a bit of temper and FSM knows running for prez will test your patience. He came off as nasty at times which most people really don’t like

      Aside from the terrible idea of raising the retirement age he seems to be going hard core on promising to push back against pot legalization. Yeah i agree a long shot has to stake out positions that will get attention but that seems this seems to be exactly the wrong time to be pulling the reefer madness card.Report

  3. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Intersting kismet: I had dinner with Conor this week, and one of the things he noted when the conversation turned to politics was that Christie was, as CPW said, “Clinton’s kryptonite.” He drew out how, unlike most of the possible contenders in the GOP primaries, Christie was the one whose personality would most likely draw swing voters when confronted with the things they disliked about Hilary.

    It may have been the whiskey cocktails, but I ended up agreeing with him.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I sort of see it the other way. HRC would have been able to bring out what Dems would want people wouldn’t like about Christie. I mean, if they can make Lazio out to be a bully, a loudmouthed fat guy is an easier target. (No cleverness intended.)Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        I think Conor’s point was that while Christie might come across as a loudmouth/blowhard standing next to a calm but sincere sounding person, he would come across as “genuine” and “truth speaking” next to Clinton.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Like @will-truman , I’ma gonna say it was the whiskey and Conor’s inherent charm. Doesn’t stand up. Only thing I get out of Christie-versus-Clinton is “lesser of two assholes.”Report

  4. His odds are slim

    No comment.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Let me expand on that. We’ve had conversions here over the last several months about humor and offensiveness, and I get the position that nothing should be completely out of bounds, even if I’m not sure I agree*, but a straight fat joke about Christie is just too easy to not be out of bounds.

        * By the way, where were the free speech absolutists last month?Report

        • Avatar Glyph says:

          Chris: * By the way, where were the free speech absolutists last month?

          Well, this is the first I am hearing about it, but I condemn the bombing of even pro-ISIS jackholes, if all they were doing was writing and drawing about it.

          An aside to CK – the highlight/selective-quote now works on mobile iOS!Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            From the article: Police so far have not announced possible suspects in the bombing.

            A member of the magazine’s staff, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity for fear of his own safety, was swift to blame foreign intelligence agencies for the blast.

            “We know this to be the work of CIA and Mossad. We know this is an intelligence operation,” the magazine staffer told CNN.

            I know that I didn’t condemn this bombing because I didn’t want to be called a racist for not complaining when Bush did the same thing.Report

          • Avatar Chris says:

            That you didn’t hear about it is sort of my point. When someone kills writers for speech we agree with (generally; at least it’s about them), it’s a threat to the very principle of free speech, and all we can talk about for days. When someone kills their writers? Page A12 and crickets.

            Don’t want to hijack the thread, though. Maybe I will write it up this week.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Additionally, the fact that the Charlie Hebdo shooters went person to person and shot them after giving a short speech about why they were shooting them added a level of detail to the shootings that just aren’t here for this bombing.

              It provided an argument to argue against.

              A bomb with no suspects?

              How do you argue against a bomb with no suspects?Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                All I really want to know is, is such a bombing a threat to free speech? If not, then at least I know absolute is relative.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                To what extent does that depend on the motivations of the CIA or Mossad?

                If Obama and Netanyahu were trying to clean up a mess that they thought would blow back on them, do I still need to talk about the importance of the Freedom of the Press?Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                True, and besides, they’re fighting a war in a neighboring country, so they should have expected it, right?Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                I suppose, also, if I’d known what made it a threat was not just attacking people they disagreed with, but explicitly saying so, I’d have been even more confused, back when.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                If the bomber motivations line up with Charlie Hebdo, then yes.

                I mean, my response here isn’t to emphasize that they shouldn’t have said what they said.Report

              • If someone spends their time writing about how the proper way to deal with people you disagree with is to kill them, and then someone who disagrees with him kills him, there’s a limit to how bad I’m going to feel about that.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Yeah, that is very close to the sentiment the absolutist condemned absolutely.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                All I really want to know is, is such a bombing a threat to free speech?

                Heh. Interesting discussion you got going on here!Report

            • Avatar Glyph says:

              I also suspect that writers getting killed in Paris, and writers getting killed in Istanbul, are two different things in terms of how much play they get in Western media.

              But to your point – yes, if all they were doing was writing/drawing*, then killing them for only that is a threat to free speech.

              *I will admit things get fuzzy if they were serving as active propagandists in a war zone; something that the stateless nature of terrorism can make arguable to some (though not me in this case; they were in a country that is not at war).

              And if they were somehow funneling money to ISIS, then that might also be a different story, though it still might not justify summary execution.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                For myself, I find it, as all violence, abhorrent, but I also know it’s ISIS who has made Turkey part of the theater of war, using it to import and stage troops, so their enemies will naturally see anything ISIS in Turkey as valid targets.

                What’s more, I didn’t expect the same level of outrage, but thought the complete silence was telling.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Even active propagandists in a war zone aren’t *THAT* troubling to me. (I mean, so long as they’re not engaging in slanderous/libelous propaganda which should be understood as “harm” rather than “speech”.)

                But, then again, maybe the ISIS newspaper made a joke that a reader found offensive.Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:

                Jaybird: But, then again, maybe the ISIS newspaper made a joke that a reader found offensive.

                Letter(bombs) To The Editor

                I dunno, in an active/total war zone/situation I can see the idea that whether they are telling the truth or not, the idea is to as quickly as possible break the enemy’s will to continue fighting. To that end, you yourself engage in disinformation, and you try to prevent the other side from getting their story out, and/or encouraging/recruiting their fighters.

                But again, that to me is only even arguably-justifiable in a “total war” type scenario, where a whole host of other things that we deem fundamental rights (movement, association, life/liberty/happiness) have already been tossed out the window.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          a straight fat joke about Christie is just too easy to not be out of bounds.

          So we can make fun of not only the size of people of stature but their sexuality now?Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          My pulled out my fourth point of contact guess is the bombing was conducted by a Kurd affiliated group, and maybe the bombing in Eribil a couple days ago is retaliation. But likely all are just part of the round robin battle between shia Arab partisans, sunni Arab artisans, and kurdish partisans.Report

      • Exactly. The only way to approach it is like Cyrano, and I don’t have the patience to come up with 20 of them.Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          The dude from Community and The Soup did it best, at the Correspondents Dinner. He made a fat joke about, then said he didn’t know that he was going to make that joke, that one of his staff wrote it, there would be an investigation, and whoever was responsible would be fired. “The buck stops here, which is why I will hold the person responsible for this joke that I didn’t know was going to happen responsible,” or something like that. The fat joke launched him into mocking Christie for something worth mocking.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Gov. Christie, like some other Republican governors with higher aspirations in 2016, needs the economy to boom between now and then. Everything I’ve read on the subject of NJ’s budget suggests that Christie has used all of the standard smoke-and-mirrors practices to hold things together for the last two years. They’re standard because they’re how all states get through short-term problems. If the economy recovers, the state can backfill; if the economy doesn’t recover, about the third year the sh*t hits the fan. Of course, if the economy booms for the next 18-20 months, any Republican candidate has a problem.Report

  6. Avatar zic says:

    I hold some really deep reservations about raising the retirement age, at least for some jobs. Farming, fishing, logging, home health-care. Nursing. These are all jobs that can be physically demanding, creating wear and tear on the spine, the knees, the hips, and to suggest that four more years of wear after a life spent doing such work is rather troublesome to me.

    In other words, the people who suggest such things tend to work at desks, not out lifting, hauling, moving, and doing some of the most dangerous work around.

    So Christie’s SS plan would be a non-starter for me unless it held built-in options for early retirement for people who’ve spent their lives doing physical labor.Report

    • Avatar north says:

      @xic one could argue that they would go on disability before retiring if they did physically demanding jobs. That said I don’t support the proposal in general.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      My reservation is somewhat broader. The US private sector is already reluctant to hire skilled people in their late 50s and early 60s; why do politicians think the private sector will suddenly be willing to hire skilled people in their middle and later 60s?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Excellent point, @michael-cain

        It might also be important for aging workers to step aside so that the generation screwed out of career opportunity by recession can have a chance of enough earnings to support those older folk in SS as well as forming families, etc.

        Right now, my kids’ generations access to good jobs is, long term, probably a whole lot more important than my generation working a few more years.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      “I hold some really deep reservations about raising the retirement age, at least for some jobs. Farming, fishing, logging, home health-care. Nursing. ”

      First, this applies to *all* jobs except Sentaor. Go try to get hired after age 55, and I’m being generous.

      Second, the reason for cutting retirements is purely and simply to give more tax cuts for the rich. This won’t cut their influence, which means that they’ll be able to get more favors from the government, which of course will ‘reguire’ more retirement cuts…………Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Mike Schilling:
    If someone spends their time writing about how the proper way to deal with people you disagree with is to kill them, and then someone who disagrees with him kills him, there’s a limit to how bad I’m going to feel about that.

    I’m one of those who thinks that the answer to speech is more speech and the quotation from Mencken applies here as well: “a horselaugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms”.

    The proper response to an ISIS newspaper is Mohammed Cartoons. Not bombs.Report

  8. Avatar Francis says:

    “… his Social Security plan is an excellent starting point for a Christie campaign.”

    This assertion remains unanswered in the rest of the post. Why is this particular proposal a good starting point? Is it good policy (are poor people living longer? are people poorer in general? is the SS fund in dire need of reducing outflows? are rich people overtaxed?)

    or is it good politics (which appears to be the theory of the post)? How raising the retirement age, when the elderly are a key Republican constituency, is good politics is a mystery to me.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Because bootstraps, rugged individualism, gummint ensmalling, and mostly! – this proposal sticks it to liberals.Report

    • Avatar Dan Scotto says:

      I take no position (here) on the merits of the policy. But strategically, the idea is that a longshot candidate has to take more risks. If Christie runs a conventional campaign in this field, he will lose, period. So he needs to try other things.

      At the very least, his Social Security plan will attract attention. Because Christie will not win the support of rank-and-file Republicans, he’ll need to look for other sources of support. One is the smallish group of Republicans who look for “serious” candidates who propose “serious” solutions to America’s entitlement programs. Yes, to date, Social Security is the third rail of American politics. But things change, occasionally. Longshots have to try to get out in front of that sort of thing.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        “But strategically, the idea is that a longshot candidate has to take more risks. ”

        This is not so much a longshot risk but doubling down on the same old same old.Report

  9. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    Will Truman: Too little experience and too untested.

    It didn’t stop Obama in ’08. What would Christie have lost if he’d run in ’12?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Less experience. Less tested. Obama is about as light as I think we’re likely to go. (Though I might be inviting more “What’s wrong with you Obama was more qualified than Walker is” pushback here.)Report

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  11. Avatar Patrick says:

    Here’s my problem with means-testing (aside from the fact that we already effectively means test Social Security because of the way tax law works).

    I don’t object to someone saying, “For the long term health of this social safety net program, we are going to take steps to ensure that the folks who actually need it the most get it”.

    My problem with this approach is the actuality of it is, “… and to accomplish that, we’re going to take away benefits from the upper middle and lower upper class but we’re not going to touch the middle upper class or the upper upper class”.

    You want Social Security reform? No problem. Talk to me about lifting the cap on contributions. Then you can start ratcheting down my benefits all you want.

    I agree, the folks on the bottom get screwed most. Lifting age restrictions is another example… without correcting for socioeconomic conditions we screw the blue collar guy who has a life expectancy of 74 when the white collar guy has a life expectancy of 82.Report