Before you whack out the stock answer of ‘to pad his resume and make him a more viable candidate in 2016’ consider this:
Prior to running for a second term as governor of NJ, Christie had already gained substantial political momentum from his Stallone-style stint as US Attorney for NJ and hands-across-the-aisle approach to leadership in his one, successful term as governor. He was already a formidable fundraiser for the RNC, and state and national polls confirmed he was the favourite son of the fragmented party.
Christie’s second term as governor would run from 2014 to 2018. The presidential election takes place in November 2016. Republican primaries are slated to take place in June 2016. He would begin officially campaigning in January 2016, but in reality the emphasis on campaigning would begin as earl;y as January 2015, cutting his four year term by three years. For someone who already has national name recognition and a favourable reputation with all parties, why commit to a second term when he could just as easily maintain his position as Republican frontrunner by campaigning and fundraising nationally for the RNC full time? Especially since he’s going to be campaigning and fundraising for himself anyway?
I’m pretty sure the answer lies with Sarah Palin.
When John McCain tapped Sarah to be his running mate in 2008, people were shocked that she didn’t step aside as governor and turn her duties over to her Lieutenant. She made jokes about running Alaska at 3am from her Blackberry while using a breast pump, and did it all in between stump speeches and interviews for the McCain campaign.
But Alaskans who were closer to the Palin clan understood Sarah’s real motivation was not an heroic desire to serve her state – but rather a fear of losing control of her story.
I submit Chris Christie’s motivation for this second term as governor is not so much from a desire to bolster his presidential credentials as it is a quiet desperation to stay in control of his story. And the lies he readily spat out during his 2-hour mea culpa to the press in January rather backs this observation.
Sarah Palin remained governor of Alaska, surrounded by an inner circle of devout loyalists who would protect her secrets at all costs, the same way Christie has needed to remain in office to keep his inner circle paid and quiet. The risk of another governor snooping into all of his hidey-holes was too great.
There are uncanny similarities between these two governors. From their damning of high taxes with one hand while accepting copious amounts of federal dollars with the other, to the dodgy disbursement of those funds, to the number of personal friends and family conveniently placed in tailor-made government positions, to the comfortable way both Palin and Christie look straight into a camera and lie without hesitation. (Troopergate vs. Bridgegate).
If you look at both their records, in many ways they read like a pair of dopplegangers separated only by gender and a couple hundred pounds.
Take heed New Jersey – it’s beginning to look like the only difference between Palin and Christie is the unlikelihood of his faking a pregnancy.