Before Trump won the title of most boorish politician on the national stage, there was Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, wagging his ice cream cone at a constituent on the boardwalk while telling the guy what an idiot he was. Lots of Jersey Republicans loved the Gov and the video posted on YouTube.
Christie was The Man for the Republican Party in 2012; they wanted him to run for president against Barack Obama — begged him in fact. Christie said it wasn’t his time, and the nod went to Mitt Romney. Four years later Christie became BFF’s with Trump, but Trump spurned him for the vice-president nod and then for any cabinet post that Christie might have wanted. Added to the Bridgegate scandal in New Jersey, Christie’s stock has been going down, down, down ever since.
Now there is the debacle of a government shut-down in the state, with all state beaches and parks closed and non-essential services shuttered until Christie gets the budget he wants from the legislature. That includes Island Beach State Park, and on the July 4th weekend no less. As of Monday night it seemed as if a deal may have been struck, so the Park might be open for the big holiday.
Jersey folk love the shore. They flock to the shore by the thousands on most weekends, and the migration from sweltering cities like Newark and Paterson clogs up the Garden State Parkway for miles on end, especially on long holiday weekends like the 4th. Toying with access to Island Beach State Park is no small matter, especially when the governor and his family demanded and got access to the mansion dedicated to the governor in the middle of the Park. Essential government service, you ask? Clearly in Christie’s entitled mind it was. Plus he was his usual snotty self when confronted by the press about the hypocrisy.
Christie is the poster boy for what happens when schoolyard bullies in the adult world finally get their comeuppance, which most eventually do. They become sour, bitter, oversized exemplars of a once-appealing mojo that curdles and becomes little more than blind resentment and in-your-face rage.
I can’t wait for Trump’s fall from grace to reach this same queasy, cringe-worthy moment.