Many observers noted the difficulties that Christie’s lifestyle would have for his reputation as a populist. Another item from the Times story may in the end be more ominous.
“King Abdullah of Jordan picked up the tab for a Christie family weekend at the end of the trip. The governor and two staff members who accompanied him came back to New Jersey bubbling that they had celebrated with Bono, the lead singer of U2, at three parties . . .”
Does America want a president who bubbles for Bono? It’s hard to square such behavior with greatness, or even competence, much less good taste. Did FDR bubble for Bing—did Reagan moon over Madonna? The revelation will revive the most harrowing piece of reporting in the Christie literature, in which a writer for the Atlantic magazine accompanied the governor of New Jersey to several concerts given by Bruce Springsteen. The writer stood by as Christie hopped up and down, as best he could, and waved his beefy arms, and mouthed the words to Springsteen’s tuneless anthems, and then tried, without success, to score a meeting with Springsteen himself. The jets, the meals, the concerts, the parties with celebrity pop musicians—we have at last learned that Christie is neither a populist nor a plutocrat, but a man striving to live out the fantasies of a teenage boy.
The fantasy will come to an end long before he reaches the White House gates. We are a forgiving people, but there are many qualities Americans will not accept in a president. They wouldn’t, we can assume, want a professional gambler, a sex offender, a fashion designer, or a collector of 19th-century dollhouses. No race car drivers, stand-up comics, or Esperanto-speakers need apply. Neither, just as reliably, do they want a prig, a prickly, unconvincing hipster, or a 52-year-old man who still plays air guitar.