I’ve passed the 15,000 words mark in the ebook, and I think it’s going to take me another 10,000 words to say everything I want to say, although probably not more than that. So it’s cooking.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of things to read together. Charles Pierce quotes a Romney fundraiser who is still angry about “the hug” between Chris Christie and President Obama after Hurricane Sandy. The fundraiser thinks “the hug” gave the election to Obama. Pierce writes,
Part of me wants to point out that, apparently, the utterly self-centered cluelessness of the candidate spread pretty widely throughout all levels of the Romney campaign. (Christie was supposed to let his constituents fight each other for bottled water rather than accept help from the federal government? People on the Jersey Shore were supposed to live in lean-to’s until Willard closed on that new place in D.C.?) Part of me wants to point out that this is yet another indication that the prion disease afflicting the collective brain of the Republican party rages unabated. But a much bigger part of me wants to laugh and laugh until I fall down.
The point being that the clueless wonders who supported Romney never understood that elections are about governing. The whole governing thing seems to elude them.
At Salon, Elias Isquith argues that Christie’s tendency to stoop to governing now and then, or at least talking about it, is what’s behind the Tea Party’s intense dislike of him.
The difference in framing between how Christie’s describing his job and how, say, Sen. Rand Paul or Sen. Ted Cruz or Rep. Paul Ryan or even Gov. Scott Walker would describe their job is subtle but important. If Paul or Cruz or Ryan or Walker were bragging about their accomplishments in a victory speech — the moment above all others when a politician can “campaign in poetry,” as Gov. Mario Cuomo once said — they wouldn’t wax rhapsodic about their own management of the state. They wouldn’t make the point, as Christie did, that government is there to “give” and “work with” and “work for” its citizens.
On the contrary, they’d say something about “Getting government out of the way” or “Removing government’s barriers to liberty” or “Liberating the American spirit from big government’s red tape.” At most, theirs would be a grudging acknowledgement of the necessity of government, a recognition that much as they’d like to live in a world without an activist state, they’re willing to accept one, reduced to a minimum, all the same. Similarly, while Christie as governor has come to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and was too smart —and too pragmatic — to continue mounting a doomed bid to stop same-sex marriage from becoming a reality in his state, other top-tier Republicans, the ones the Tea Party actually likes, would more likely flaunt their ideological rigidity and relish the chance to fight a losing battle in the name of true conservative principles.
The rhetoric difference is also the difference between New Jersey and, say, Mississippi. You can’t win a statewide election in New Jersey by promising to shut down abortion clinics or promoting concealed or open carry laws or spouting homophobic nonsense. There’s a strong fiscal conservative streak in New Jersey, however, so yelling about the teacher’s union can get you some votes.
Nevertheless, if Christie hadn’t responded to Hurricane Sandy as he did, the state would have been done with him. He knew that. Everybody in New Jersey knew that. The fact that baggers nationwide can’t even fathom that tells me that Romney supporters aren’t the only ones who are clueless.