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The Bridge to Nowhere: Why Chris Christie Never had a Shot at the White House

Having no new ideas, no novel policy positions, and punching down on every trivial transgression like a spastic kid playing Whac-A-Mole on a Pixy Stix high pretty much knocks you out of the running for President.

The work environment in the airline industry is one of barely controlled chaos. On the best day, things are merely hectic. On the worst, it’s utter hell and it keeps piling up. You just have to hang on and tell yourself your shift will end at some point. They can’t keep you there forever.

That type of environment leads to a lot of frayed nerves, especially when record breaking cold temperatures are involved. The other night, I got into a heated back-and-forth with a co-worker over a piece of equipment. In hindsight, it was stupid, but at the time, we were cold, tired, and angry. However, the next day I sought him out and apologized. Besides the fact that the blame was more on my side of the ledger, even if it wasn’t, I would’ve apologized first. I still have to work with this guy. Having an enemy on a crew that’s looking to screw me over even in petty ways just adds to the ever-present stress. It’s a nice rotten cherry on a mound of shit cake. Why eat extra if you don’t have to?

Petty vengeance, the need to always win, to get even, or just be right gives you more heartburn than its worth. We’re all human beings. We won’t always agree. We’ll piss each other off, but down the road there’ll be a time when we’ll have to work together. Better to let it go and just go along to get along. Well-adjusted adults understand these things.

That’s why Chris Christie never had a shot at being President; the governor of New Jersey sure, but not the Commander-in-Chief. He’s reached his zenith. He simply doesn’t have what it takes to make it to “The Show”.

I’ve never liked Chris Christie. He’s an obnoxious, bloviating, wanna-be gangster; a caricature of New Jersey that resides in reality shows and B-movie crime genre films. No matter how much we loathe to admit it, optics matter, and when you’re an unpolished, uncouth, unattractive fat ass on top of being a monumentally condescending prick, you better bring something serious to the table to counter balance it all. Having no new ideas, no novel policy positions, and punching down on every trivial transgression like a spastic kid playing Whac-A-Mole on a Pixy Stix high pretty much knocks you out of the running for President.

State politics isn’t the same as national politics. You might be King Shit of Fuck Mountain in New Jersey, but what sells in the Garden State might not fly in Tennessee. In fact, it might turn off voters who align with your politics and winning the White House is all about building coalitions. What if President Obama decided to put the screws to Hillary after that very contentious 2008 primary? We’d be saying the same thing about Candidate Obama that we do about Candidate Gore.

Smart politicians play the long game. Cory Booker is playing it. He’s a senator, and he’s got a shot at either the White House or the New Jersey Governor’s Mansion. Governor Christie is all about the immediate. He’s both a reactionary bully and a horribly inept manager. Even if he had nothing to do with this scandal, as Bob pointed out, it speaks to a level of incompetence that should automatically disqualify him from higher office, not to mention his current one.

(Seriously, can politicians stop using the Reagan dementia act? Ron Paul’s feigning ignorance about the content of his newsletters was paper thin just like Christie’s assertion he didn’t know anything about the worst traffic jam in the country. I’m sorry “traffic study”.)

It’s not as if a scandal dooms you from being President. All politicians have them at some point. It’s part of the job. It’s how you handle yourself during those moments that define what kind of leader you are. Are you cool under pressure? Do you punish those who deserve it, or do you minimize the damage if someone has to fall on his sword? Or do you throw everyone under the bus to save your own ass?

It was possible that Christie could’ve gotten out in front of this. It was possible that he could’ve handled this like a statesman, but that would’ve gone against his nature. If he were a statesman, he wouldn’t have gotten into this mess in the first place. He would’ve put a stop to it immediately and quietly fired those responsible. His response would’ve been an apology and “the matter’s already been handled” now that the issue has come to light.

Chris Christie has never been brave. The next Presidental Candidate for the GOP will have to take on the extremist factions or at least, grudgingly, win them over, otherwise their party is doomed. As Aviva Shen of Think Progress pointed out, one of Governor Christie’s first acts was to cancel a public transportation project.

“To alleviate the constant traffic jams into New York, New Jersey spent 14 years planning and finally broke ground on a new commuter rail tunnel in 2009. The Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Tunnel was expected to double the number of trains that could enter Manhattan, shave off 15-30 minutes from commutes, and convert thousands of New Jersey drivers into train passengers. In October 2010, Christie abruptly canceled the project, claiming unforeseen costs. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report later concluded that Christie had greatly exaggerated these costs.”

The reason for all of this was to move money around just like Governor Rick Perry of Texas with similar results. Don’t raise taxes to pay for a public transportation project that would’ve created jobs and saved thousands of people time on their commute, especially if you desperately need it. You have to stay within the bounds of Grover Norquist’s dictummandment: Thou Shalt Not Raiseth Thy Richs’ Taxes.

That’s why Chris Christie won’t be President. He doesn’t have the chutzpah, the charisma, frankly the deliberateness to sit at the Resolute desk. While Americans admire strength, its resolve, conviction, and people of a deliberate, determined nature that we want as leaders. We don’t need another Decider-in-chief, or a puffed up, wanna-be Mafia Don in the Oval Office.

If it wouldn’t have been the George Washington Bridge scandal, it would’ve been something else. Governor Christie has a track record of petty bullying. It’s in his nature and it’s gotten him this far. It just won’t carry him the rest of the way because right now, there’s a political organizer dreaming up an attack line that reads: “Governor Christie doesn’t solve traffic problems. He merely studies them.” And just like that, you’ve gone from a potential hopeful to a punch line.