Boy, Chris Christie has had a rough couple of months.
Although he insists “there’s no baggage here” when talking about his fully-expected 2016 presidential run, it’s obvious the ripple effect coming from his administration’s “Bridgegate” controversy is putting pressure on his chances of winning.
Recall just last year that Christie was the media’s darling, the Great White Bipartisan Hope for a GOP reeling from embarrassing run-ins with racism, misogyny and inappropriate uses (plural) of the term “rape.” His combative style appealed to the party’s militant right wing, while his moderate views and ability to work with Democrats were favored by the pragmatic money interests looking for a win.
Fast forward to today, and Christie’s political aspirations are suddenly facing some Hurricane Sandy-speed headwinds. Earlier this month, a Quinnipiac University poll ranked Christie 10th among Republican Presidential hopefuls. Yes, 10th. Behind Jeb Bush. Behind Rick Perry. Christie’s so cold, he barely beat our Rick “Don’t Google My Last Name” Santorum. He’s even begun to trail former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. To show the true dysfunction of the GOP, while Christie’s popularity has been reeling, Huckabee’s has rocketed skyward thanks to comments critical of Obamacare because it increases access to birth control for women. Huckabee told the Republican National Committee that by providing free birth control it somehow tells women that that only the government can help them control their libido. Yes, that’s who Christie is trailing at the moment.
Even back home, Christie’s popularity has plummeted. A recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll showed 41 percent of New Jersey voters now disapprove of his performance. Even worse, a Quinnipiac University poll shows just half of voters approve of Christie’s management of post-Sandy rebuilding efforts. That’s down from 85 percent just a year ago. And when it comes to Christie’s own internal review of Bridgegate, just one out of five people believe Christie’s explanation of what happened.
The only folks buying Christie’s expensive whitewashing of the Bridgegate scandal (other than the taxpayers, who are literally paying for it) are the same right-wing “ditto heads” that feast on an exclusive media diet of Fox News and talk radio. Laughably, right-wingers will defend Christie over the lack of evidence linking him to “Bridgegate” while calling for President Obama’s impeachment over Benghazi. At least President Obama has never used the phrase “I don’t recall that conversation” when it comes to Benghazi.
Even being named “Father of the Year” hurts Christie among the country’s struggling middle class voters. After all, it’s easy to be Superdad when you can fly into your son’s baseball game on a state police helicopter. Even worse, Christie nabs this award as he refuses to sign a bill that would allow adult adoptees to find their real fathers, thanks to opposition from right-wing groups that claim it will lead to an increase in abortions.
But, there may be a bit of good news for him. Despite the reeling poll numbers, the lack of support in his own state and the tarnished legacy he’s desperately trying to polish to appeal to a backwards political party, at least one national publication (that’s not a right-wing rag) is optimistic about Christie’s chances.
“Chris Christie’s White House Dream Alive!” is how the headline reads on a exclusive report that shows the embattled governor will fully recover from the Bridgegate scandal, with one “respected” commentator saying, “American politics is full of comeback stories and his could be one of the truly great ones.”
I mean, if they were right about an alien backing President Obama, the National Enquirer can’t be that far off about about Chris Christie, Right?
Rob Tornoe is a cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobTornoe.