I have listened to conservatives mock and ridicule New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for almost a week now and it’s kind of ticking me off. We’re all upset that Romney lost Tuesday’s election, but accusations that Christie helped Obama win are just nuts. What Christie did was give credit where he felt credit was due, and if conservatives aren’t willing to the same, then we’re no better than those we criticize on the other said of the aisle.
I don’t blame Christie for working cooperatively with President Obama and thanking him for visiting his state with emergency management personnel. I think prioritizing politics and petty differences over the needs of hurricane victims is ludicrous, and I applaud Christie for not being distracted from his work with worry about pleasing Republican Party officials.
Christie understands that more than being a Democrat, Barack Obama is the President of the United States and that a certain amount of due respect comes along with that title. “Honestly the fact of the matter is that what New Jerseyans expect from their governor is to work for them, not to work for any particular political party,” Christie said in the days following the storm.
And despite Christie’s insistance that his commitment to Romney’s candidacy had not changed, Republicans were quick to pounce. But in my opinion, criticism like, “Mr. Christie is simply politically tone-deaf,” isn’t criticism at all. In fact, isn’t this exactly what we’d like to see in a candidate? It’s what we’ve always loved about Christie, yet in the wake of a crushing defeat, Republicans seem too eager to toss him overboard. “Tone deaf” is Richard Mourdock; Chris Christie is the rare sort of politician that sets the tone, not follow it.
“I’m a Republican, I’ve endorsed Mitt Romney and I support him. I intend to vote for him on Tuesday,” Christie said. “But the fact of the matter is that if the President of the United States comes here and he is willing to help my people, and he does it, then I’m going to say nice things about him because he’s earned it.
“And I’ve said plenty of not-nice things about the president over time — he knows that. And we joked about that when we were together this week,” Christies said. Indeed he has, and the same Republicans who are now criticizing Christie for praising Obama then cheered him for slamming Obama.
“The fact is that if somebody does a good job they deserve credit and New Jerseyans expect me to work with everybody —- Republicans, Democrats, Independents —- to get through this crisis and get the job done.”
And when you put this political squabble in front of the backdrop of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the GOP looks like a bunch of whiny losers. In the end, the immature attitude (fat jokes? really?) and petty partisanship on the Right may have done more to hurt Romney than anything Chris Christie ever said.