Whenever I’ve talked to mainstream Republicans or Tea Party members, whether in Washington or throughout the United States, there is one thing that everyone seems to agree on: Governor Christie never has been, is not, and never will be, the Republican candidate in 2016. I’m not sure where this sense of his daunting candidacy comes from, other than non-evangelical Republicans who find him refreshing and Democrats who see something in him that they either admire or want their candidate to run against. In short, if the Democrats were to pick the Republican candidate, they would pick Christie. Good thing its not their choice. Journalists in the Belt Way like him, too. And the AP Brass.
I’ve noticed something else as well. There seems to be a consensus amongst Republicans and Tea Party members that the next Republican nominee has to be someone untainted by a New England or Eastern affiliation. With Florida becoming more populous than New York, its becoming oddly clear that the division in this country may be less one of Republican v. Democrat, or Republican v. Tea Party, or the 99 % v. the 1 %, and maybe more of the 13 v. the 37. In other words, if you start scrutinizing recent events, it almost seems like there is a policy consensus across the board in the original United States as opposed to the added 37 provinces. Its not clear whether the exceptionalism comes from here (as I noted earlier, I still don’t consider Florida a state) or whether there is a perception in those places that we are different here, but it is palpable. In the past twenty years or so, Americans have routinely rejected originalists in favor of newbies. Start with Dukakis in 1988, add Kerry in 2004 and Romney in 2012, and its clear that Bay Staters don’t have universal love and adoration. And others have pointed out that George H.W. may have moved to Texas, but the loser in 1992 was from Maine/Connecticut, and the loser in 2000, whose family moved to Tennessee is old New England stock. Hillary claims New York, and lost to someone from Kenya or Indonesia (we still don’t know which).
So what makes anyone think that Christie, with or without BridgeGate, is going to draw any more favorable reaction? I mean, no one in New Mexico could find New Jersey on a map, and they don’t know what a bridge is anyway, and everyone knows that no one from New Jersey is a Republican any more than the fact that anyone from Massachusetts is a real Republican. Everyone here is “one of them.” And we in the original 13 do move in incredible lockstep on most issues. Its interesting to ponder whether we’ve ever really assimilated those other provinces.
Maybe its time to let them go.
But the news story about Christie is not that BridgeGate has put a damper on his candidacy. The news story is that the lack of caring indicates that he was never being seriously considered anyway.