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SURPRISE! Chris Christie's 2016 Gambit

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As for the outrage by Rush and company, it seems at best, misguided.     After having endured a treacherous run of epic political ineptitude from Romney, you'd think that Limbaugh and other Christie critics would be convulsed in rapture over the actual political brilliance of Christie's bi-partisan post-disaster gambit.    In the short run, it's the kind of bi-partisan grandstanding that is likely to assure that blue state New Jersey will remain controlled by a GOP governor.

But more importantly, Christie's maneuvering could eventually provide what Limbaugh and all the rest of those calling for Christie's scalp today been craving for since the nomination process began several months ago -- a Republican in the White House in 2016.   Because let's face it; at the time of this writing, Election Day was just 48 hours away and it seemed clear that Romney was not going to win the presidency.   But even if he has somehow finagled his way into the White House the fact remains that Mitt is exceedingly unpopular among his fellow Republicans therefore lacks much of a buffer against a 2016 party challenge from within by the likes of Bush, Marco Rubio, Pawlenty and yes, Chris Christie.  

Mitt's unpopularity among fellow Republicans could mean that even if elected, traditional political protocol may be tossed out the window in 2016.   Mitt's unpopularity could certainly remove any deterrent against challenges for the nomination by a fellow Republican.   That's a likelihood that could increase if Republicans develop enough insecurity about Romney's prospects for re-election; something that could emerge if a Democrat as formidable as Hillary Clinton decides to run.

I think Christie realizes all this and simply decided that Hurricane Sandy was as fortuitous a time as any to begin campaigning for both re-election as Governor and for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.   Does he care that by looking ahead to 2016 today he's helping to dash Mitt and the GOP's nearer-term 2012 hopes?    Probably not, especially if he believes that Mitt's going to lose anyway or if he believes that a Romney victory would in fact leave the GOP vulnerable in the near-term as well as jeopardize its long-term future.

Millionaires and suckers

It has long been obvious that for many voters, particularly Romney partisans, the term caveat emptor has no relevance.   Rather than buyer beware it's buyer's remorse that seems to characterize the outcomes of those who live their lives -- both personally and politically -- within what's been described as "the comfort of a lie ."    It is from within this comfort zone where the distinctive characteristic of many Republicans to both rage and vote against their own interests lay.   It speaks to the premise that there are only two kinds of Republicans -- millionaires and suckers.

Sometimes the millionaires and the suckers are one in the same.   Right off the bat, I'm thinking folks like Donald Trump, Sheldon Adelson, and Limbaugh.   Today, each of those millionaires is probably hopping mad at what Chris Christie said and did in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.   But tomorrow's another day.   We won't find out how mad they are at Christie or, if the Governor suckered that specific cluster of old fools -- along with others like Karl Rove or the Koch brothers -- until probably around 2015.   That's when Christie will be in the thick of the race for the GOP nomination.

Taking into account past behaviors, I predict that by then Rush will be sitting as squarely on the Chris Christie bandwagon as he was just before Sandy struck; Trump will probably be trumpeting the virtues of Christie's over someone like, say, Jeb Bush or Colin Powell.   Meanwhile benefactors like Adelson and the Koch brothers will still be playing sugar daddy, only this time, on behalf of the Jersey governor.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)
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