Now that the smoke and dust have largely cleared from the New Jersey governor’s election, Democrats and their supporters in the media have begun the task of figuring out how to work with their newly reelected Republican chief executive over the next four years. Naw… I’m just kidding. They’re already trying to find ways to not only label his election as illegitimate, but to derail any future political ambitions Chris Christie might have. For one sterling example, we need only look across the Walt Whitman Bridge from South Jersey and read Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News. He’s leading the charge with an ominously titled piece called, “The truth that should destroy Christie’s White House bid.” (Ooooo… scary.)
…I do think Christie was tough to beat — even in a pretty blue, moderate-to-liberal state, even if his opponent had been someone like Sen. Cory Booker and not the women that Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” labeled “Some Democrat.” But the race would have been much, much closer — and Christie’s reputation as a 2016 presidential front-runner, would have been severely tarnished — if it hadn’t been for one thing: Democratic bosses (yes, they have these) tanked.
Bunch isn’t using the word “tanked” as we often think of it – as in, “doing very poorly” – but rather to say that the Democratic bosses were “in the tank” for Christie because… well, I’ll let Will say it himself.
How did Christie get such widespread support from Democratic bosses, mayors, and others? Was it his good looks and charm? Well…I’m sure that helped, but mostly Christie won bipartisan support the old-fashioned way: He bought it.
Well, that’s a fairly serious charge, isn’t it? Are we talking bribery? Kickbacks? Illegal gifts? Actually, the source Bunch is quoting is talking about assistance received by Democratic mayors and other leaders for their communities.
– Michael Blunt, the African-American mayor of Chesilhurst in Camden County… was boosted by a $200,000 special state aid package for economically distressed towns in 2011.
– Harrison Mayor Ray McDonough after the governor secured approval from the Port Authority for a $250 million PATH transit hub for the downtown.
– Christie… attracted mayors with the promise of access and assistance in the future.
Well, gee. Imagine that. Helping to channel state resources to community development programs and getting their mayors on board with him. I suppose you can call that “buying an election” if you like, but you might just as easily call it standard state politics for being a governor.
I was on a discussion panel last week where one speaker was talking about some of the pitfalls awaiting Chris Christie should he decide to get into the 2016 primary. We all agreed on one point… it’s not at all unlikely that there are some skeletons in the New Jersey Governor’s closet which Democrats may be gleefully sitting on, waiting for the 2016 general election. Let’s face it, this is still New Jersey we’re talking about here, and when somebody rises that far, that fast in the Garden State you’ve got to take a deeper look and figure out why. But this stuff that Will Bunch is talking about is standard fare in politics across all fifty states. If cutting deals with local mayors to enlist their support is what he thinks is going to destroy Christie’s White House bid, I believe somebody has been riding the drama llama a bit too far.