Wednesday, January 08, 2014

AND WHILE YOU WEREN'T PAYING ATTENTION, CHRIS CHRISTIE DROPPED OUT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE
(updated)


Well, no, he didn't exactly drop out -- but he destroyed any chance he has to win the Republican nomination:
Flanked by Hispanic leaders, students, and immigration reform advocates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie celebrated the signing of his state's so-called DREAM Act on Tuesday, hailing the new law a sound economic choice and an object lesson in bipartisan cooperation....

The bill grants in-state college tuition rates to undocumented high school graduates who attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years....
The headline of this Business Insider story says it all:
Chris Christie Just Made The Decision To Own Immigration Reform For 2016
And there's even a photo that can appear in every anti-Christie flyer distributed before the South Carolina primary:
Chris Christie has given his conservative detractors another "hug" moment.

About two hours after holding a ceremonial signing New Jersey's version of the "Dream Act," Gov. Chris Christie tweeted a photo with one of the "Dreamers" the law will benefit, a New Jersey high school student who immigrated to the U.S. without authorization at a young age:


I was sure that Christie was going to start tacking to the right ten minutes after the polls closed last November and he'd won his reelection rout. But it looks as if he's running a Morning Joe greenroom campaign -- he's listening to too many people who think that the key to victory in 2016 is Scarborough-style conservatism-with-a-few-dollops-of-centrism. I'm sure it's what his hedge-fund-manager fans want from him. I'm sure the thinking is that the Chamber of Commerce types are going to take the party back from those crazy tea types any minute now, you betcha.

But immigration is the third rail of Republican politics, and that was true wll before there was a tea party. In 2008, John McCain got away with having been an immigration reform supporter, but that was because he embodied militarism at a time when what Republican voters hated the most about Democrats was skepticism about Bush's wars. Christie doesn't have that advantage. (And, of course, even McCain had to repudiate his own immigration position during the primaries.)

Christie's taking the wrong course -- and that makes me happy, because he's been the strongest Republican in the general election polls. Nice knowing you, Chris.

****

AND: I think Christie's stance on immigration will have much more impact on his 2016 chances in the GOP primaries than the lane-closure thing, unless somehow that can be linked directly to death or serious harm (at least of a white person) as a result of emergency personnel being ensnared in a traffic jam. I think, and I'm sure you think, that the incident is illustrative of Christie's character -- vindictive, petty -- but the smallness of the issue, in national terms, is what's going to make GOP voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina shrug it off. In fact, it might be seen as a positive among those voters, who'll assume that if he was behind the punishment of Fort Lee's Democratic mayor, well, the mayor must have done something to deserve it. Christie's strength has been the sense (among wingers and lovestruck media centrists who thrilled to his Fox-promoted YouTube videos) that he's good-bad but not evil -- he dresses people down, but only when they have it coming, and he's a cuddly guy otherwise. The right will assume the bridge story is more of the same. Immigration is another matter altogether -- he'll be on the defensive about that throughout the primaries.

AND I SHOULD HAVE ADDED: The revelation today in the bridge scandal is "that one of the governor's top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off [Fort Lee]'s access to the bridge," according to emails -- evidence that this was a political vendetta against a mayor who wouldn't endorse Christie. Yeah, but if there's never a smoking gun linking Christie directly, people who want to dismiss it will say it was the aide's fault. Aides can be fired. This still seems as if it will be contained sooner or later.

12 comments:

L.A. Goldenrod said...

Yes, and then there's this - Emails Tie Top Christie Aide to Lane Closings, Despite Denials:

A series of newly released emails shows that Gov. Chris Christie’s office was closely involved with the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey in September and that officials closed the lanes in what appeared to be retribution against the mayor whose town was gridlocked as a result.

Mr. Christie, a Republican, has insisted that his staff and his campaign had nothing to do with the lane closures, and said that they were done as part of a traffic study.

But the emails, obtained by The New York Times, show that Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, gave a signal to the Port Authority to close the lanes about two weeks before they occurred.


So, yeah, it looks like it's all starting to fall apart.

Steve M. said...

Yeah, I was just getting to that -- see the update. (I think that won't hurt him very much, though I know most people believe otherwise.)

Pete said...

I dont agree with you about the effect of the bridge fiasco — I think it will kill (or has killed) Christie's Presidential ambitions among the Very Serious People who control media and money. The thing about the immigration stuff is that it means his base won't fight for him on the bully issue. Alternatively, you could say that the immigration does him in among the base but the bridge is why the VSPs won't fight for him; play it either way, comes to the same thing.

Victor said...

Being exposed as a bully in the Ft. Lee incident will only endear him to his base!

Hugging an immigrant is a killer with that same base.

Knight of Nothing said...

Hmm, I'm not sure. Republican candidates seem to be made of teflon. Won't Christie be able to run away from immigration reform (or otherwise mitigate it as a right-flank problem), just as Romney did with Romneycare?

Ten Bears said...

I've been frequenting health food stores not only around Oregon but around the country since the hippy days, but. there is one "health food store" here in my old hometown. I won't frequent. At the risk of binary thinking: when I walk into a health food store I expect to see healthy people working there. Not obese, not tweaker (methamphetamine freak) thin, not pasty skinned hair and teeth falling out trailer park trash but healthy people. Though the only Navy pilot to ever blow up four aircraft before he got off the deck of a carrier is still with us, recall the concern over the Quitta from Wassila being a heart-beat away from the presidency and further back concerns about Dick Cheney's bad heart that led to the George AWOL Bush presidency. The only Christie run I see is as another McCain/Romney "let's throw the election to the democrats". Even my few Retard friends think it's crazy. That and (feel free to weigh in here anytime Crank) based both on the family I have out there and the time I spent out there years ago I seriously doubt anyone who crosses the George Washington Bridge regularly - a sizable population - would vote for it. Those people just don't forget, or forgive, that kind of chicken-shit.

Just why do the Retards keep throwing the elections?

No fear.

LitttlePig said...

A shout-out from Mr. Pierce. Well done, Steve.

Though I see Charlie's point: Christie couldn't win Iowa or North Carolina not matter what he does, and he'll get more out of Florida by taking this course with the DREAM act. I still believe he has a pretty good shot at being the candidate, though there are many slips between cup and voting booth this far out.

Orestes Ippeau said...

Why Bridghazi Will In Fact Do In Big Chicken

Because anyone with any sense of political vision can, and will, easily picture Candy Crowley, and every other single-atom-deep member of the newsertainment industry, asking him about it, repeatedly, in what passes as a searching manner in that world, during the 2016 presidential debates.

Bridghazzi is, of course, not the only reason BC will never get to that stage in the first place. But it's a feature that folks like the Hackers, Halprin and Heilleman, with their hacky preznit election process franchise, are constitutionally unable to resist.

Erik C. said...

I realize this might be small potatoes and likely won't hurt the Big Bully in Jersey significantly in the long run.

I won't let that stop me from enjoying it, though.

Chris Andersen said...

Signing onto immigration reform is not necessarily a death blow to Christie's chances at the nomination. After all, Romney signed Romneycare in Massachusettes and he still managed to get the nomination. But he could only do so by twisting himself into a pretzel. An act that just made his winning the general election even harder.

Haywood Djablomi said...

people who want to dismiss it

Well, there you have it: the trouble with America, all wrapped up in a neat little package with a bow on top. People are going to believe what they want to believe and reject what they want to reject based on comfort and convenience rather than the harsh dictates of reality and evidence.

Natural healing woo, anti-vaxxer crackpottery, climate change denialism, Snowden fellating hysteria, anti-nuclear whackjobism, birferism and trooferism: the deep recesses of the human heart that reject reason and disavow the Enlightenment.

This is how Democracy dies, as a nation willfully makes itself unfit to govern itself.

Haywood Djablomi said...

As an aside, I have a growing pet peeve regarding the use of the term "Romneycare."

The health industry reforms passed by supermajorities in the Massachusetts legislature suffered repeated vetoes by the governor, which were then overturned so the reforms could be implemented.

Giving Romney credit for these reforms is like giving Issa credit for passing the Affordable Care Act: an idea both stupid and offensive.