I read an article in the Washington Post today that asked a question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds: “Is it already all over for Chris Christie?”
The short answer is that it isn’t. He’s had his share of bad press to be sure, but none of it has ever produced anything meaningful (contrast that to his fellow New Jerseyan, Bob Menendez, who hasn’t been so lucky).
Sure, you might bring up “Bridgegate,” but that ship has metaphorically sailed, in the sense that it produced absolutely nothing meaningful (as I wrote about here).
What the Post brings up are some polls that definitely seem troubling on the surface. 39% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say there is “no chance” that they will vote for him.
This definitely isn’t good for him, but he is often described as the man with the most natural political talent in the field (or near the top of that list).
So for me, it seems like it’s too early to write him off.
He does have problems, like New Jersey’s budget woes and the absence of a clear “lane” of the GOP race for him to fill, but every candidate has potential pitfalls on the road to the nomination. After all, it’s probably better that way. Just look at the position the Democrats are in.
This past summer, I was watching Jimmy Fallon, who had Christie on for “the evolution of dad dancing.” Of course, Bridgegate jokes were made (and this was when this “scandal” was still regularly in the news). I felt then, as I feel now, that Christie has a remarkable ability to turn liabilities into assets, and it would be foolish to view his candidacy as dead before it starts.
Keep in mind there isn’t anywhere for him to go, since he’s term limited out in 2017, so unless he wants to run for Senate, he’s stuck (ironically, this is similar to the position Martin O’Malley is in).
This is the post I wrote at the time of the Fallon video, and most of it is still relevant. The website I wrote it for isn’t up write now, so I can’t link to the post in its original form, but 99.9% of it is the same.
Here’s the video of Christie’s performance with Fallon that gave me the idea to write this post in the first place:
(The original post was titled “The Genius of Christie,” but I liked the title I went with here. Full disclosure, I’ve never seen Dirty Dancing so I have no idea if it actually applies here, but I thought it sounded good)
I’ve proudly maintained from the start that this “bridgegate” scandal that the media can’t stop playing up is much ado about nothing (feel free to add your own water under the bridge pun here), and in fact, it was the subject of my first post as a RATRFire contributor (a post that I still reference to this day).
I have the fortune of having to watch late night comedy shows from time to time as part of my internship (when I wasn’t at the zoo with my fellow intern Emily), and while I was watching Jimmy Fallon’s brilliant show, I see none other than Chris Christie come on and do a segment on “The Evolution of Dad Dancing” that was funny, but unremarkable until the end, when the required joke about the closures was made, but instead of storming off, Christie laughed it off and did a sit down interview with Fallon later in the show.
For a conservative, the late night audience is hardly a receptive crowd, and I found myself fearing that they would boo him as he walked on (Chris Rock had already joked about the lane closures earlier in the show, so it’s not like they weren’t on people’s minds), but to my pleasant surprise, he was treated to applause.
Fallon’s interview with Christie touched on topics ranging from Christie being named Father of the Year to hockey to Eric Cantor’s shocking loss. When Fallon found himself apologizing for the insane amount of “jokes” his colleagues made about this bridge, I felt like something was happening.
Christie drew the apology out of him, which (in addition to turning him into a sympathetic figure who is so blatantly being investigated by New Jersey Democrats to preemptively end his presidential aspirations) made me realize that it’s almost like he’s embracing this nontroversy…as a way to show voters how ridiculous the media is (remember that study that showed just how ridiculous the disparity in coverage between this and Obama’s “phony scandals?”).
There were two lines that Christie said that show me what his plan to put this story to rest are: the first was when Fallon was pointing out that there had to have been effects of the nonstop coverage on his press, and Christie responded that his family watching him dance was infinitely more humiliating “cause I actually did that,” and Fallon actually agreed.
Earlier in the show, Chris Rock had all but stated that he knew that Christie was guilty of something nefarious (because nothing says credible news source like Madagascar’s zebra Marty), and Christie told Fallon that he had heard him, and he told the world that Rock’s house is now foreclosed.
Maybe it’s because I still want to see Christie in the White House, but my thoughts are that even unbiased observers couldn’t help but agree that he has actually turned the press he’s gotten into a plus for him (in addition to the fact that his favorables with conservatives went up after this all began because of how obviously the media was targeting him). As for his presidential ambitions? “Hypothetically” he can beat her (to clarify, he was obviously referring to a dance off).
National Review wrote that “Christie Laughs–and Dances–off ‘Bridgegate,’” but what was clear to me, is the audience on Fallon’s show did too.
Rumors of Christie’s demise have indeed been greatly exaggerated. Sorry Hillary.