Great, just great, Chris Christie, America's cafone, just announced that he is indeed running in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, or as Tengrain puts it, The Goat Rodeo. Although Christie is a mendacious bag of protoplasm, he's characterizing his run as "telling it like it is".
I have to confess that I have a fascination with Christie, much like I have a fascination with cane toads, which like Christie are bloated, venomous, and pernicious. I actually sat through his announcement speech this morning while pitting another haul of cherries. Most of Christie's announcement was a repeat of the self-hagiography he indulged in at the 2012 Republican convention, but there were a couple of things that caused my ears to prick up.
Christie, in a move that is sure to alienate the GOP base, paid lip service to diversity, in contrast with the other vulgar Northeasterner running in the primary:
See this place, this place that represents the most ethnically diverse state in the country. The most densely populated state in the country. We're all different and we're on top of each other like you're on top of each other in this gym. And what has come from that, what has come from that is the absolute belief that not only can all of us achieve whatever dream we want to achieve, because of the place where we live and the opportunities that it gives us, but not only can we do it together, but we have to do it together. We have no choice but to work together, this country needs to work together again, not against each other.
Chris, Chris, Chris, this is not going to win you friends in Iowa or South Carolina... it probably won't win you friends in New Hampshire either, seeing as it's the GOP primary you're running in.
Christie had some typical pablum about making the state work, even though one of his first acts as governor was to squash the construction of a trans-Hudson tunnel which would have provided numerous well-paying jobs and vastly improved the traffic flow in the New York Metropolitan Area:
When I became governor six years ago, we had a state that was in economic calamity and an eleven billion dollar deficient on a twenty nine billion dollar budget. A state that had taxes and fees raised on it one hundred and fifteen times in the eight years before I became governor. A state that no longer believed that any one person could make a difference in the lives of the people of this state so we rolled up our sleeves and we went to work.
Further on, Christie started talking like one of the Republican-funded "Third Way centrists" so beloved by the corporate media:
And both parties. Both parties have failed our country. Both parties have stood in the corner and held their breath and waited to get their own way. And both parties have lead us to believe that in America, a country that was built on compromise, that somehow now compromise is a dirty word. If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed compromise was a dirty word, we'd still be under the crown of England.
I think Michael Bloomberg and the entirety of the Sunday morning talkers just got a "shiver up their legs". I don't see this playing well with the GOP base, though, and I don't see Christie running as a third party candidate, either. Like all "third way" types, though, Christie sure loves punching down on workers and retirees:
And now, as Livingston New Jersey turns it's gaze to the rest of America today, what do we see and what do we have to confront? We need a campaign of big ideas and hard truths and real opportunity for the America people. We need to fix a broken entitlement system that is bankrupting our country. We have candidates that say we cannot confront, because if we do we'll be lying and stealing from the American people. Let me fill everyone else in, the lying and stealing has already happened. The horse is already out of the barn. We've got to get it back in and you can only do it by force.
We've all heard this austerity pitch before, Christie, like Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, must be heavily invested in cat food futures.
Christie then started talking about jobs (which he has a bad record on) and, even more hypocritically, as someone who thinks that eliminating college debt is wrong, started concern-trolling about college graduates:
We need to get our economy growing again at four percent or greater and the reason we do is because we have to make this once again the country that my mother and father told me it was. That as hard as you work, that's as hard and high as you'll rise. That's not the case anymore, we can't honestly look at our children and say that to them. Because we have an economy that is weak and doesn't present them with the same opportunities that Mary Pat and I were presented with in the mid 1980s when we graduated from college. When we graduated from college, we weren't worried about finding a job, we were worried about picking which job was the best for us. We didn't worry about whether we were going to be successful; we knew if we worked hard we were going to be successful. This country and it's leadership owes the same thing to my children and yours I'm ready to give it to you.
Of course, no Republican speech would be complete without a dig at the "Kenyan Usurper":
Well, here it comes. After seven years. After seven years, I heard the President of the United States say the other day that the world respects America more because of his leadership. This convinces me, this convinces me. This is the final confirmation that President Obama lives in his own world, not in our world. And the fact is this. After seven years of a weak and feckless foreign policy, run by Barack Obama, we'd better not turn it over to his second mate Hilary Clinton.
I'd hate to break it to him, but President Obama is much more respected than his predecessor, and it's Christie who lives in his own world. In Christie's world, he thinks he has a shot at the presidency.
While listening to the post-announcement commentary, one thread that ran through the analysis is that Christie's real goal in 2016 is to position himself as the GOP Vice Presidential candidate. His geographic origin, his inability to speak in evangelical dogwhistles, and his suspect conservative credentials will sink his presidential ambitions, but his reputation as a bully and a bloviator will make him the perfect "attack dog" on a GOP ticket.