I believe we now have some idea of why and how Donald Trump is self-funding his campaign and rise to front-runner status: payoffs. This might explain why people like Ben Carson and John Kasich are still in the race. When the definitive book is written on this campaign, do not be surprised if Trump promised Carson the removal of Gideon’s Bible in Trump hotels to be replaced by copies of Carson’s book. At this stage of the game, one would not be surprised if Trump slipped Carson a few million dollars to keep Carson’s going-nowhere campaign going just to siphon off a few votes from Cruz. As for Kasich, the payoff is likely political- some promise of a Vice-Presidential appointment or other cabinet position. It seems likely since Kasich is not shy about telling us how he will return to Washington on his white horse and get things done through deal-making with the Democrats. How many times on the debate stage have we heard Kasich extol the virtues of deal-making and how he inserts himself in there as if he was the be-all, end-all of a balanced budget at the tail end of the Clinton administration?
Enter the tub-of-lard Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. We know that prior to the most recent debate where Trump looked the worst he ever has in one of these settings that Trump invited Christie to dinner in New York to bury the hatchet. During the campaign, when Christie was basically a non-entity, he described Trump as lacking the temperament to be President and Trump shot back with accusations regarding Bridgegate. All that is apparently in the past as the two have kissed and made up. Apparently after a New York dinner in Trump Tower (one assumes it was not Trump steaks washed down by Trump vodka), Christie came to the epiphany that Trump does have the temperament to be president and leader of the free world.
Perhaps former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge described it best: “The walls and bridges team.” The timing of the announcement is what is most important here. Clearly, between the one-two punch of Rubio and Cruz against Trump in the debate, the spotlight was off Trump. And the media fell for it hook, line and sinker. The big political story on Friday was not Rubio and Cruz embarrassing Trump on the debate stage in Houston; it was Christie’s announced endorsement. Rush Limbaugh described as a huge endorsement, almost monumental.
Of course, it is the media and people like Limbaugh, Coulter, many at Fox News, and others who have fed the Trumpmania. Mark Levin, the man where many seem to get political guidance, held Trump on a pedestal not too long ago before shifting allegiances to Cruz. And the obedient, pro-Trump media joined the Limbaugh chorus of the importance of the Christie endorsement.
In terms of actual followers, the Christie endorsement is no more important than Santorum’s endorsement of Rubio. Both had very few followers if primary votes are any indication. Santorum’s star was highest in 2012 while Christie’s was highest in 2014 at the latest. Other than stealing the thunder from Rubio and Cruz after the debate, Christie’s importance is, if we look at it objectively, not really all that great.
The only thing Christie was good at was head of the RGA where his fundraising and direction of funds helped the GOP make some important gains in 2014. But, Trump, if true to his word, is going to self-fund a campaign. Therefore, how Christie becomes an advantage remains to be seen. One cannot see many in the South or Midwest suddenly warming to Chris Christie. He finished dead last in Iowa and just as bad in New Hampshire where he spent the most time and money. The simple fact is that Chris Christie just is not that popular in Republican circles for a variety of reasons.
During the New Hampshire debate, one wonders what would have happened had Rubio unleashed a torrent of negative opposition research against Christie. As a resident of New Jersey, there is certainly a ton of negatives that could have left the New Jersey blowhard speechless. If Rubio’s team had any sense, they would be running commercials right now. On the left side of the screen would be the Clintons at Trump’s wedding shaking hands; on the right side would be Christie’s bear hug of Obama on the beach after Hurricane Sandy.
But, the endorsement makes sense. Despite Christie’s statements to the contrary, he is actually not a good conservative Republican governor. He talks a good talk, but the reality is something totally different. His balanced budgets are nothing more than smoke and mirrors and robbing Peter to pay Paul. He has gone back and broken promises regarding funding pensions. His educational reforms translate into adoption of Common Core. He has since disavowed the program, but as someone who teaches in public schools, I can attest that those are words only because Common Core and the PARCC testing regime are very much alive in New Jersey. Practically everything Christie claims as a positive in New Jersey is either a negative or just plain false.
And that sounds a lot like Donald Trump. So it would therefore seem natural that two blowhards would team up. Both are people with no reservations about breaking promises, commitments and contracts. With Trump, it is usually a trip to bankruptcy or civil court. With Christie, it is excuses: “I have to deal with a Democratic legislature,” “You should have seen it before I was Governor.”
Perhaps nothing pissed this writer off and led me down the road to disliking Christie (I voted for him twice) than an incident in my neck of the woods. A young black woman from Pennsylvania, a victim of assault, had purchased a gun and obtained a concealed carry permit in her state. While travelling in New Jersey (Atlantic County), she was stopped by the police for something and she told the officer that she had a weapon in the car. Note: the car was not searched and she readily admitted the presence of the weapon and her license for that gun. She was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a firearm since New Jersey does not recognize concealed permits issued in neighboring states. Meanwhile, the great Ray Rice assault case- which was on film from an Atlantic City casino- was the big regional news. The prosecutors- Christie appointments- decided to prosecute the young lady from Pennsylvania and do nothing about Ray Rice. The Christie administration’s feeble excuse? We don’t interfere in local prosecutions. That told me a lot about Christie. He could have intervened and done the right thing, especially since he claims to be a Second Amendment supporter, but he sat silent.
Would it come as any surprise that Christie’s greatest achievement- taking on the New Jersey teacher’s union- is no achievement at all? His cuts in his first administration were overturned and restored by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Christie’s reaction? He did NOTHING!
Just as Trump is no conservative, neither is Christie. They both hide behind words, talking points and insults. The man who sarcastically and dismissively shrugged off a person in New Hampshire about getting a mop now cries to the federal government for aid for that mop.
Shame on the media for overplaying and overstating the importance of Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump. One fake conservative endorsing another fake conservative should be taken for what it is worth- nothing. If the impossible happens and Trump becomes president, expect Christie to be Attorney General. The good news is that Christie would no longer be governor of New Jersey. But that would be bad news for America.