Saturday, January 05, 2013

Bloomberg Outmaneuvers Christie in 2016 Race

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It's amazing how fast Chris Christie went from the golden boy of the GOP to just another politician in the mix for the 2016 nomination. Think about it, here was a guy in the bluest of the blue states taking on the teachers unions, slashing spending and cutting taxes. He was in-yor-face like a Jersey guy should be but spoke eloquently of conservative values and viewpoints. He was a fat, egotistical blowhard but he was our fat, egotistical blowhard.

Christie played the loyal soldier allowing Mitt Romney to ascend to the nomination and he threw his support behind him early and vehemently.

And then came Sandy.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Christie heaped layers of praise on Obama at a crucial moment in time. before it was even clear that the administrations response was adequate or even good, Christie gave Obama a nice Lewinsky and that probably sealed the deal and knocked the last nail in Romney's coffin. Christie invited the guy to tour and gave him a photo op that Obama campaign chair Jim Messina couldn't have dreamed about the week before.

One could argue--and I'm sure Christie would argue this himself--that he was just being Christie and was doing what was best for the state by praising Obama. You know Christie, he calls them as he sees them. Except he wasn't.

I firmly believe that Christie saw his star rising and used whatever clout he had to back Mitt Romney seeing that Romney was not the best candidate and was in fact the exact wrong candidate. Christie burnished his GOP street cred by backing the eventual nominee and did his part knowing that Romney would lose and his star would rise setting him up for 2016. But then he realized that Romney could potentially win and that would destroy any presidential aspirations for the next 8-years and maybe longer if Paul Ryan held the second highest job in the land and was in the news frequently.

So Christie chopped the legs out from under Romney in one quick swipe. He left Romney no chance to respond and no chance to get the precious momentum back in his favor in such a short time.

Christie could have said nothing, he could have thanked Obama with a terse statement and that would have been that but he trumpeted Obama's response as the greatest thing ever. A failed response that was in fact worse than the response to Hurricane Katrina by some accounts. A month later the people who were suffering (and still are) expressed just how impotent the response was.

Jump forward to this week when the GOP-led Congress failed to pass a Sandy relief bill that had been larded with pork including roofing for the Smithsonian, fishery help in Alaska and numerous other non-relief spending. Christie lashed out at those in his own party again blaming them for not passing the legislation.

Now juxtapose the responses by Mayor Bloomberg in both circumstances. He told Obama to stay home and not come to NYC for a photo op in the wake of Sandy. Yes, Bloomberg endorsed Obama a few days later but that was with one eye on 2016 pure and simple.

Then this week, Bloomberg refused to blame the GOP for not passing the relief bill because he agreed that it had way too much pork in it and was a sham.

So Bloomberg will run in 2016 as either a Republican or an independent. He can claim that he did not push Obama across the finish line while Christie did. He can say that yes, he did endorse Obama but he did it because of conscience. Christie can't say any of that. He can say that he was the first major party figure to back Romney and was the good soldier but no one that votes in the primaries will forget that Christie stabbed Mitt right between the shoulder blades. They also won't forget that Christie gave his party the finger in bombastic fashion when they were fighting against a ridiculous $24-million in pork attached to a relief bill for New York and New Jersey. I know I sure as hell won't.

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