Sunday, October 02, 2011

Chris Christie: The Second Coming?

Latest Newspaper Column:

A busted clock is right twice a day. Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then. And it appears that William Kristol has actually been right about something. These are, as Paul Simon sings, days of miracle and wonder.
I know I've been awfully hard on Smilin' Bill, the amiable boob who's the editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard and who's been popping up for years on the Sunday panel shows, grinning like a possum eating persimmons and spouting utter nonsense like "The Iraq War will cost at most $200 billion," "Sarah Palin's resignation won't hurt her chance at the Republican nomination and anyone who says different is afraid of her," and other lack-witted pronouncements.
Kristol is the guy who's often caused me to offer my services to the networks, because I can be just as wrong for half the price.
However, after the last Republican debate, Kristol wrote a "special editorial" on the Weekly Standard's website and summed up the Republican field in one word: "Yikes!" He went on to say that "none of the candidates really seemed up to the moment, either politically or substantively. In the midst of a crisis, we're getting politics as usual - and a somewhat subpar version of politics as usual at that."
He quoted a "bright young conservative" who'd emailed him in dismay: "WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!" He also rather glumly quoted my favorite poem, Yeats' "The Second Coming," to describe the choices before Republicans: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
So far, so good. And so right. Kristol, however, can't stay correct for long, and his solution was typically dimwitted: Call in Chris Christie, the corpulent New Jersey governor, whom Kristol calls "a big man for a big job."
Problem is, Christie's said over and over that he's not running. His poll numbers in his own state are awful. He also appointed a judge who's a Muslim to the bench and called people who protested "crazy" and their concerns about the imaginary threat of Sharia law "crap."

He's dead right, but it immediately disqualifies him in the eyes of the crazies who believe in crap.
Oh, and I don't want to be Pedantic Literary Guy here, but Kristol also completely misunderstands the poem he's quoting when he says that the last line ("what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?") "sounds like Chris Christie."
I wonder how Gov. Christie would feel about the comparison, because the "rough beast" Yeats speaks of in his vision is kind of scary. He's a "shape with lion body and the head of a man, gaze blank and pitiless as the sun." Not the kind of candidate you'd want to have a beer with, for sure.
Nevertheless, it seems that Christie is the latest in a series of desperate attempts by the wingnuts and teahadists to find someone who'll save the party from nominating Mitt Romney, a heretic who's actually worked with Democrats and gotten some good things done for his state, like a reasonable health care plan.
But the far right doesn't want compromises with Democrats. They don't want a health care plan for anyone who's not them. They're willing to burn the country down in the name of "taking it back." So they fall for grifters like Palin (perpetually fundraising, perpetually coy about whether she's running) or nutters like Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann.
But then the flavor of the month says something so mind-bogglingly stupid ("The HPV vaccine caused a woman's child to become mentally retarded!") that even the mainstream media can't ignore it, and down they go. So Rick Perry becomes the new ABM (Anyone But Mitt), until he falls apart in the debate, then shows that he's actually got some positions that make sense, such as not punishing children who grew up in America because they were brought here by illegal immigrant parents.
But sanity enrages the goon squads, that noisy cohort the party refuses to acknowledge, yet somehow manages to get invited to every GOP debate. You know, the ones that cheer for executions, shout "yeah!" when someone asks if you should just let an uninsured man die, and boo soldiers in Iraq because they're gay. For those people, Rick Perry's greatest sin is that he's not crazy enough. So the perpetually angry and disgruntled right moves on. Now they turn their eyes to Christie, who's not even running.
Yeah, good luck with that.