Chris Christie Outshines Mitt Romney in Wake of Hurricane

My Thursday column compares Mitt Romney and Chris Christie and how each handled the hurricane response.

I’ve been extraordinarily critical of Chris Christie since he first emerged as a gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey back in 2010. In most cases, I feel that my criticism has been valid (though I sometimes regret the, shall we say, more ad hominem attacks).

After all, he entered the national spotlight as part of the midterm wave of far-right tea party candidates in 2010 and has since operated as promised with an agenda of tax cuts for the rich, tax increases on lower income residents, and extreme austerity, with significant cuts to education, $7.5 million cut from women’s clinics, cuts to healthcare for seniors and Temporary Disability Insurance, and Christie vetoed a same-sex marriage bill while taking steps to enforce the existing discriminatory law. Unemployment in New Jersey is higher than the national average — the fourth worst in the nation — and has gone up during Christie’s first term.

As a governor, he’s a mess. But he should be applauded for his actions and conduct during and after Hurricane Sandy, regardless of our disagreements with his policies.

His remarks in the immediate aftermath of the storm when he appeared on MSNBC and praised the president’s response, as well as his bipartisan cooperation with the administration were, admittedly, shockingly refreshing to observe, especially considering his performance up to that point and the continuous inability for Republicans to cooperate with the president. [continued]

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  • http://twitter.com/SugaRazor Razor

    If I was a cynic, I’d say Chris Christie realizes he’s a very polarizing figure who has to run for reelection in a solid blue state in the middle of a coming wave of Democratic momentum.

    He clearly has hopes for national office and if the country rejects right-wing batshit again, he’ll need to position himself as a good and decent human being, so what better way to do it than hitching your wagon to a popular president? A president that certainly has his critics, but is generally well-liked as a human being.

    But I’d only say that if I was a cynic.

  • zirgar

    Well, one thing in Christie’s favor, even though he’s wrong on almost every issue, is that he’s not insane. As far as I can tell he’s never bought into any of the birther crap or any of the other idiotic conspiracy-laden batshit lunatic opposition to President Obama. Just being sane puts him head and shoulders above the rest of the Republicans. I don’t like him, but I don’t hate him, either.

    PS–don’t get me wrong, Christie pisses me off royally at times, but that I can take. What I can’t take is how utterly despicable and grotesquely malicious most right wingers are, like say, a Steve King or a Joe Walsh. Those guys I absolutely loathe and despise. It might be splitting hairs, but that’s how I see it.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      No, it’s not splitting hairs. I feel the same way. I would take the “sane/plain spoken but wrong” opponent over the “insane/hateful and wrong opponent” any day!

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      I see it the same way, Zirgar. Well said.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Christie occasionally has outbreaks of decency. Like the time wackos like Pam Gellor were attacking a judge because he was a Muslim and Christie told them they were nuts.

      This week, he had every governor’s worst nightmare, a massive, state-wide natural disaster, dumped into his lap. I’ll give him credit for taking his responsibility seriously. You can tell by his appearances on TV. He looks haggard and exhausted. He’s obviously working hard to pull his state through this mess.

      I still disagree with him on most issues, but my respect for the man went up a notch this week.

  • rob black

    I will give Crispy credit for knowing that this is not the year the republicans were going to take back the White House…and everything else stems from that.
    When he refused to jump into the primaries, after ever single contender with the exception of Huntsman, took their turns using them as a venue to publicly crap themselves, it was because he knew this was not going to be their year.
    If he had jumped in, I have no doubt he would have soiled himself just as magnificently as all the rest, but this way…they all get to carry that pant load into 2016.
    He, Jeb Bush, and Huntsman have positioned themselves fairly well for that year, without having a feature film lengthed blooper real from these primaries to follow them around.
    Ironically, all his efforts to not make a spectacle of pooping himself, will be rendered moot , without gastric bypass; Because he looks like a man who might not make it until 11/16….much less 2016.

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    Bob, great article.

    By the way, we witnessed once again the president’s mensch-like ability to reach out to any political enemy who’s willing to return the handshake. It’s a character trait for which he’s never given proper credit by many in the press and on the right.

    Ya know, I’ve been pondering this very point a lot recently. Why does the MSM completely ignore all his efforts to reach out to the other side? He has met them more than halfway time and time again and he gets smacked by the opposition every time he does it. Then to add insult to injury, the press refuses to acknowledge that he’s even tried. Instead they say he’s partisan and blame him for not reaching across the aisle. It makes me wonder what planet the MSM is living on? Are they not perceiving the same reality I am? I mean, forget Fox/GOP framing. The facts show that the President has tried repeatedly to work with the other side.

    • incredulous72

      “It makes me wonder what planet the MSM is living on? Are they not perceiving the same reality I am?”

      They live on Planet Corporatocracy.

      • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

        Indeed! BTW, have you seen Cloud Atlas? No spoiler here, but in the future it is called the Corpocracy, everyone is a consumer 24/7 and is bombarded with the Corpocracy’s ads 24/7. Ugh.

        • incredulous72

          I do plan on seeing it (like I’ve been planning on seeing Argo for the last 3 weeks). I have a feeling these film makers are up to something; don’t you? ;-)

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    Another brilliant piece, Bob, thank you!!

  • muselet

    As a governor, he’s a mess. But he should be applauded for his actions and conduct during and after Hurricane Sandy, regardless of our disagreements with his policies.

    True and true. I think Chris Christie suddenly realized that continuing to play political games was going to hurt (a) the people of New Jersey and (b) his own political ambitions. Would it be graceless for me to say Christie may not be insane but is a shameless political opportunist? (Jon Stewart last night pointed out the sudden 180 in Christie’s opinion of Barack Obama.)

    And I can’t imagine anyone describing a (theoretical and I fervently hope never-to-be) President Romney as a mensch.

    –alopecia

  • D_C_Wilson

    Christie has committed the most unforgivable sin in republican circles: He put the welfare of his constituents ahead of partisan advantage. He said something nice about Kenyan Atheist Muslim Usurper. Already, Rush has turned on him and he probably won’t be invited on Fox and Friends any time soon.

    Maybe he does take his responsibilities as governor seriously. Or, it could be the cynical answer that he knows his political future, whether it’s a second terms as governor or a run for higher office, is going to be judged by his actions today.

    Either way, his state needs the help of the federal government, which means he needs to work with the man currently holding the office of president for at least the next three months.

    His motives though, are immaterial to the people of his state. I’m sure they appreciate the fact that he didn’t take this time to play political games.

    • vandagoes

      I think you’re right on almost every point you made, other than your last sentence. I do think he was playing political games. I may be the one that’s wrong. But I doubt it.

  • vandagoes

    When he was against the teachers unions, I’ll bet you were livid. Now, because he kisses the ring of Obama for a photo op you praise his name in print. Here’s what really took place. Christie knows full well that if Romney won the election he stands NO chance of running in 2016. He considered running in this year but knew he had NO chance now as well. He then hung his hat on the hopes of running as VP since Romney not only won the nomination of the party, but appeared strong for winning the presidency. His hopes is to sway RINO’s in the party to vote Obama. His thoughts are that if Obama wins, the seat is empty for 2016 race. Who then does he face? Crazy Uncle Joe? lol. He then runs as a liberal under the banner of being a republican that true liberals can vote for.