Sunday, January 03, 2016

Chris Christie in New Hampshire....

Dateline Merrimack New Hampshire, American Legion Hall, 5pm 1-3-2016. There is no denying it, Chris Christie is an obese man. His stomach bulges grotesquely over his solar plexus and mutely suggests the man has a real challenge whenever the candidate has to mount a high flight of stairs, that and his dull clay colored complexion give him a distinctly unhealthy pallor. I raise these mere issues of appearance against the possibility of a notional presidency blighted with ill health should Chris Christie get in, we will spend four years worrying about heart disease, hypertension and diabetes in the White House count on it. Moreover the man wears what appears to be baggy shirts and suit coats in a vain bid to draw attention from his bulging seems like a lost cause all around. *** It was the usual NH GOP crowd some 350+ strong crammed in there, average age sixty three and restive when the candidate was delayed....granite state audiences expect promptitude from candidates when getting their tired and sore asses kissed. But eventually Christie rolled in and devoted an total of twenty five minutes to articulating his Obama Hatred that is when he is not snarking in a very sophomoric way on former Secretary of State Clinton...fair enough though, the primary is thirty five days away and subtle is not a big seller among the GOP field. Of course it ought to be mentioned that when Governor Christie needed the full faith and credit of the US Government after "Super Storm Sandy" Barack Obama Had His Back. So Christie's bitter fulminations against President Obama do have that fragrance of aromatic hypocrisy to them....but again this is "Game On in New Hampshire" one cannot expect even a tincture of decency this late in the game. Christie's game plan superficially resembles Jimmy Carter's ground game in 1976, arrive early answer lots of questions (roughly twenty or so over two hours interspaced with more Obama-hatred and 9-11 bloodyshirtism) and totemize your own candor ad nauseum. Personally I think it's a huge strategic error to target The President like that, he is not on the ballot next year at some point the snarkage (which is all it is) starts to look evasive, petty & obsessive. If I had to locate Christie on the Conservative Myth Spectrum, I'd score him a lot closer to the whole "Myth of Grievance" sector, he thinks everything that is wrong out there is the fault of his former friend and sponsor Barack Hussein Obama, it is a topic he cannot seem to forsake over a two hour campaign, this is bad because it makes Christie sound like a de facto declinist even amidst his entirely mechanical invocations of Saint Ronald Reagan'cheery giddy memory. I will say I don't think the questions this time were entirely planted (something I always suspected at Romney's rallies) but a fair number of questions about EMP countermeasures and New Jersey's state mandated bear hunt came from what seemed to be various lobbying groups that stalk sundry candidates at these events. Along the way Governor Christie asserted some plainly contradictory notions, he would "never sign a tax increase" but would work to end a myriad of tax loopholes that benefit shirkers and the idle rich. That sounds great but if you close all those thousands of loophole you are in effect implemented a massive passive aggressive tax increase. Moreover....congress will never ever go for it in any way I count about fifty presidential candidates from Dick Nixon to Jimmy Carter to Tom Laughlin who've promised the same and never get anywhere near to accomplishing it. Its a sort of local Buddhist Hymn to means nothing but sounds great. Christie's other big idea is to replace Obamacare by COMPELLING the fifty states create their own individual plans build around certain Federal Mandates (notably the ban on preconditions and allowing to keep children on a parental plan into the post collegiate timeframe). This is yet another passive aggressive approach this time to health care it constitutes wholesale abandonment of the issue to the states who are not in a position to solve the issue due to revenue and demographic reasons if they were, it'd be resolved by now. I find it astonishing that a candidate who requires no prodding to complain about the President's latest directives on gun control can propose with a straight face a new unfunded nationwide federal healthcare mandate...and a bad one at that! I did have to stifle a giggle when Christie started whinging about President Obama's "Lawless Administration" this from a governor with a known rep for retaliation, closed bridges and the like. Christie sure likes that word "Lawless" expect to hear it from him quite a bit if he prospers. In short the man likes to make threats against Chinese Cyber Hackers, the Iranian Mullahs, GOP Congressmen who don't toe the line....and then Christie veers off into Compromiseland and insists he is some sort of giddy high minded statesman who can reach Across the Aisle. That part is pure contradiction....but then they all contradict themselves as the evening trudges on. Someone asked him about a "legacy mission" Christie immediately swung into an impassioned plea for a renewed war on cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer...he is at risk for three out of the four so I can well understand the man's urgency. His plan for entitlement reform is built around raising the retirement age and then means testing social security sad to say he might get his way about the retirement age (I suspect it's bound to happen no matter who gets in) and mean's testing just doesn't seem to do much for the fund unless multimillionaires reach 40% of the population. If I had to sum up the man, Christie is a fairly typical "Big Government Conservative", prolife and given to windy verbose and entirely ineffective solutions to problems all delivered in a belligerent tone that is a hallmark of campaign 2016 so far. The Indoor Voice is indeed losing. The other weird thing about Christie is that he visibly has to restrain himself from geting all prideful and nostalgic about the Admin of George Bush Jr, he knows the topic is still toxic in certain reaches of the GOP but his admiration for the empire days of Dick Cheney is very very real and stands in sharp contrast to Jeb Bush who still seems unable to put his family legacy in perspective. At the moment Christie is allegedly polling second in NH behind Trump he is making comeback kid noises as often as possible but second place in NH is still second place in NH....not many candidates can use that to catapult themselves to glory. After NH the ground gets tougher for Christie, South Carolina Super Tuesday venues where the retail model of simply out trudging the opposition is ineffective its also plain he is betting all on a plurality in New Hampshire something he may not get and if he does it may not do him any long term good.

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