Let’s assume you’re a Republican governor who wants to be president. You realize that, for all the bluster and bullshit of the last couple of years, that Obama is the odds-on favorite to get a second term. What would you do to position yourself for 2016?
Well, first, you wouldn’t run this time around. You realize you’ll have to appear reasonable to win in 2016, and you don’t need six months of Neanderthal debate responses on your record four years from now. You’d hope the weakest of the weak sisters running would win the nomination, but since that didn’t happen, you need to put a torpedo into Romney. He’s a real threat, for a couple of reasons. First, you aren’t part of the Mormon/Bain/NeoCon mafia that would ascend be in charge during his administration, and, second, there’s no other political office that would keep you in the limelight until 2020, which is a political eternity away.
So, you give the weakest possible convention speech in support of Romney. Then, you attend church every week, hitting your knees and praying that you get another opportunity to smother Romney with a pillow. Lo and behold, the Blessed Virgin Mary answers your prayers by sending a gigantic storm straight through your state. And you do the opposite of what a good Romney surrogate would do: you appear on every morning show singing the praises of President Obama. That gives every Beltway Centrist instant wood, fucks Romney, and helps you by setting you up to be credible when you turn around and blame Obama when everything isn’t perfectly cleaned up a few days, weeks or months after the storm (you’ll pick the time that’s best for you.)
This is just a long-winded way of saying that, whatever else he is, apparently including “likeable”, Chris Christie is a very shrewd politician who is ruthless in his pursuit of the Presidency, and unless you see every goddam thing he does in that context, you’re missing an essential truth about the man.
(BTW, just to be clear – I don’t think Christie prayed for a storm, just an opportunity. God works in mysterious ways, and provided him with the perfect storm and the perfect opportunity.)