There have been so many Chris Christies that I need to number them.
Chris Christie 1.0, during the winter of 2015-16, mocked the notion that a reality-TV host had the credentials to lead the nation: “It’s all make believe, if you think that (Trump’s tinsel stardom) forms the experience to run a government as complicated as the United States government.”
Chris Christie 2.0, speaking at the 2016 Republican convention: “We are about to be led by not only a strong leader but by a caring, genuine and decent person. We have a man who judges people based on their performance, regardless of your gender, your race, your ethnic or religious background.”
Chris Christie 3.0 reverted to soft criticism in 2019, lauding “my friend Donald” for his “deal-making prowess,” and hailing his “friend” for possessing “many of the qualities that have defined America’s leaders.” But he also called Trump’s White House tenure a “tragedy” because the man of many leadership qualities was ill-served by so many of his aides.
Chris Christie 4.0, the current version, has now decided that Trump does not possess any leadership qualities. Quite the contrary: “A lonely, self-consumed, self-serving mirror hog is not a leader…The person I am talking about, who is obsessed with the mirror, who never admits a mistake, who never admits a fault, and who always finds someone else and something else to blame for whatever goes wrong but finds every reason to take credit for anything that goes right, is Donald Trump…a spoiled baby.”
Christie 4.0 is running again for the Republican presidential nomination, and, like any standard politician, he has hoisted his finger to the wind to see which way it’s blowing. He has clearly calculated that his only option is to go into kickass mode and market himself as a truth-teller. The problem, of course, is that Duh Base won’t listen to him because it’s too invested in lies and delusions. Nevertheless, Christie can still serve a good purpose if, as already evidenced, he’s willing to say the stuff that has long needed to be said.
Like, what he said the other night about how Trump is a toady for genocidal Vladimir Putin: “Let me tell you how he would (end the war in Ukraine). He’d give Ukraine to Russia…He’d call (Ukraine president)n Zelenskyy and say, ‘Hey, guess what? Time to raise the Russian flag up on the pole.'”
Like what he said about Trump’s abysmal fiscal record: “He left (office) with the biggest deficit of any president in American history. He said he was going to eliminate the national debt in eight years. He added $3 trillion to the national debt in four years.”
Like what he said about Trump’s looming federal indictment: “The classified documents that he had – that we now know he had – were things that should have never left the White House. And if he, in fact, knew that he had these documents, was looking at them, utilizing them in some way after he left the office – and it looks like maybe even two years after he left office – it’s a big problem.”
Like what he said when asked if he’d ever pardon a convicted Trump: “If I believe someone has gotten a full and fair trial in front of a jury of his peers, and especially someone in public life, who committed those crimes when they held a public trust, I can’t imagine pardoning him.”
Like what he’s saying about the Trump family’s multibillion-dollar sweetheart deals with the Saudis: “You think it’s because (Trump) is some kind of investing genius?”
At a time when “the GOP-MAGA nomination contest reeks of weakness, moral rot, political capitulation. and fear” (in the words of ex-Republican strategist Steve Schmidt), it’s good to have an ass-kicker in the mix, regardless of his flaws. If democracy is to be saved, we must welcome all comers.
This reminds me of a true story: Early in the New Deal, FDR created the Securities and Exchange Commission to oversee the stock market. Many people were appalled when he named, as its first leader, Joseph P. Kennedy – a reputedly sleazy businessman and rumored bootlegger. Roosevelt had a simple retort: “It takes a thief to catch a thief.”
Precisely so. It takes a brawler to fight a brawler.
Copyright 2023 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at [email protected]