At NRO a few days ago, Kathryn Lopez had this to say about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:
“I am in the begging-a-man-who-said-he’d-rather-commit-suicide-than-run-for-president-is-pathetic camp myself.”
No insults intended to some of the people in the conservative movement whom I greatly admire and who are among the “Desperately Seeking Christie” hoardes, but Kathryn has a point. In fact, there’s an even bigger point to make: The entire American Idol mentality gripping the right these days is pathetic. The text-message attention span is pathetic. The failure to let time itself help vet a candidate is pathetic. The lack of patience — specifically, the patience needed to allow a new guy/gal on the scene to prove themselves through repeated actual conduct, rather than merely through strong words and a few, early, reformist stances — is pathetic. Have we lost our confidence so much that we must always chase the “new new thing” in vain hopes that this latest, newest candidate will be a savior? If so, that, too, is really pathetic.
Look, after less than two years, most of the Republican congressional class of 1994 still looked like principled reformers. By about seven years later, a disturbingly high proportion of them had proved themselves less principled (or even corrupt), careerist, compromised in the wrong ways, or politically inept.
When Buddy Roemer was elected governor in Louisiana he was seen as a great reformer, but by the end of one term he was asking his staffers to snap rubber bands against their wrists and say “cancel, cancel” to themselves every time they had a negative thought — and he came in third for re-election to a crook and a Nazi. Similar examples are legion. Two years is not enough time to judge a public official.
As for Christie, it really is a fair question how he could EVER, in this cycle, get over his “suicide before running” line or, worse, his repeated statements that he isn’t even ready — not yet experienced or knowledgeable enough — to be president. Obama would hang that around his ncek so many times that its weight would make Christie’s own girth a comparative trifle.
Meanwhile, Christie could easily find himself following the same trajectory as Fred Thompson four years ago or, to a lesser extent, Rick Perry in the past month: Enter high, then fade. Conservatives pining for him now like puppy-lovestruck teeny-boppers will soon start to balk at his global warming nonsense, perhaps his stance on immigration, surely his Second Amendment record, and some of his Cabinet appointments. Worse, they will see his inexcusable signature on what National Review called an “extraordinarily comprehensive” anti-bullying regime that is a disgusting example of nanny statism and that the New York Post said would both “outlaw” and “criminalize” childhood. And they will question his appointment to a judgeship of a Muslim (no problem) with worrisome ties to jihadist-supportive organizations (big problem). And they’ll start to remember that less than a month before he was elected, he was seen as anything cut a conservative hero; instead, he had run what until then seemed like a seriously bumbling campaign and looked to be possibly blowing a golden opportunity. This is not a man with a ton of poltiical experience or a seasoned team of operatives. And he hasn’t dealt much at all with national issues.
By the looks of things, Christie appears to be something of a gourmand. He should therefore value the adage to “serve no wine before its time.” Perhaps Christie’s national potential isn’t yet ready to be uncorked.