I never really liked Chris Christie. Sure, it’s easy to say in the hindsight of the GW bridge fiasco, but honestly the guy never appealed to me. The thing is, I actually wanted to like him. It just wouldn’t take.
When I saw him embracing Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and telling people to basically go screw themselves because they thought he wasn’t being partisan enough – that he was on the side of anyone that wanted to help rebuild his state, regardless of party – I thought, “there’s a guy with some common sense.” But even then, he still seemed a bit like a bully when conveying the message.
The abjectly juvenile and incredibly irresponsible prank played by his office in closing the bridge lanes is reason enough to cast a bunch of ancillary criticisms Christie’s way, even if the order didn’t come from him. He’s not as bi-partisan as people think after all. He can’t lead – what kind of leader let’s his people do this? He’s not the decisive guy he claims to be – why did it take so long to get to the bottom of the issue, and why did it take more than a day for him to make an appearance when the shit really hit the fan?
But despite all these, and more, which the pundits and Presidential primary opponents will throw at him (and frankly, I’m not even sure the guy wants to run for President), the thing that may doom him the most is his sarcastic, snarky, Jersey wise-guy attitude. The way he is so arrogantly dismissive and condescending to those with salient questions.
Politics is a popularity contest. It always has been and always will be. Particularly primaries – and even more particularly, crowded primaries. There may be a few people at the margins that are blind to personality, but, by and large, national elections are just a bigger-scale version of deciding who’s the most popular kid in class.
Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama all had more charisma than experience. Well, maybe not Romney, but he had the good looks and shiny teeth. And though it would be theoretically wrong to hold Christie’s physical appearance against him, the truth is the voters will. When you factor in Christie’s Good Fellas act, he’s really just a wonkish version of this guy.
As they say, beauty may be only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone. We’re only just starting to see Christie’s ugly side.