by Doctor Science
I'm getting ready to work the polls tomorrow, yet again. Don't forget to vote, those of you who have something to vote for. To my fellow Jerseyans: be especially sure to make the effort if you're not voting for Chris Christie. The rest of you can stay home, there's no need to make it a blowout. Please.
However, I am a New Jersey voter, and we are either the most cynical or the most realistic voters in the country, as a rule -- we regularly re-elect Congresspeople with what would, in other states, be toxic approval ratings. And I'm not going to say that we approve of cronyism and corruption, exactly, but we tend to approve of getting the job done. We also don't care much for ideals -- or even principles -- in a politician, if they get in the way of getting the job done.
I think a lot of Christie's very high approval ratings in the state, right now, are because when Sandy hit Christie proved that he has no Republican principles about "government handouts", he was willing to work with *anyone* to get the job done. He was willing to literally embrace Obama, at a time when most Republicans weren't -- and that counts for one hell of a lot. I think that's the overwhelming reason Christie might get 30% of the black vote tomorrow, which is astonishing by national Republican standards.
I've read the excerpt from Halperin & Heilemann's Double Down about Christie and the Romney campaign, and it's notable for not changing my opinion about Christie all that much, but reminding me how much I despise Romney.
Mitt also cared about fitness and was prone to poke fun at those who didn’t. (“Oh, there’s your date for tonight,” he would say to male members of his traveling crew when they spied a chunky lady on the street.) Romney marveled at Christie’s girth, his difficulties in making his way down the narrow aisle of the campaign bus. Watching a video of Christie without his suit jacket on, Romney cackled to his aides, “Guys! Look at that!”Halperin is of course using weasel words (his native tongue). Mitt cared about *thinness*, not fitness. He poked fun at *fat people*. Nothing was better than a two-fer -- mocking one of his male crew who wasn't up to his standards, plus getting to point and laugh at a fat woman on the street.
Meanwhile, I'm not at all sure Christie's weight doesn't count as a net point in his favor, in Jersey. We know he's not going to be sanctimonious about it, and it is, face it, a "regular person" problem with which *many* of us can identify. The fact that he hasn't "solved" it just suggests that he's paying more attention to that core Jersey political value, getting the job done.
In further contrast to Romney, Christie is also a more forthright and in-your-face bully, which is a big part of his appeal here and nationwide. I'm not sure it's enough to get him through Republican primary season, especially since Republican primary voters notoriously pick the "next guy in line", which would probably be Santorum in 2016.
Talk about your local elections, the prospects for 2014 or even 2016, or whether Chris Christie can play in Peoria. You may talk about whether his weight is likely to be a pro (or con) for him nationally, but: *no fat jokes*. Don't be a Mitt Romney, that's not a good look on anyone.