Chris Christie: ‘Dancing in the Dark’

Unlike the President and Al Green, Christie’s love affair with New Jersey’s most popular entertainer has been completely rebuffed. Springsteen won’t even publicly acknowledge his 50-year old super fan, and the two have only ever briefly met once or twice.

This is commentary from political blogger and cartoonist Rob Tornoe.

President Obama surprised donors back in January when he belted out a short rendition of Al Green’s classic hit “Let’s Stay Together.” It was a captivating movement in this election cycle, not only because the commander-in-chief showcased some impressive singing abilities (though not quite as impressive as Clinton’s charisma on the saxophone), but because Al Green had performed earlier during the fundraiser at the legendary Apollo Theater, and counts himself as an Obama supporter. 

Cut to last week, when Chris Christie sang part of Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” along with Jimmy Fallon on Fallon’s “Late Night” talk show. During the interview, Christie reminded viewers how much he loves The Boss, admitting he has been to 130 Springsteen shows during his lifetime. Since the first Springsteen concert he ever attended was at Seton Hall when he was 13 (thanks for the important journalistic due diligence, PolitiFact), that means he’s averaged a little over 3.5 Springsteen shows a year!  

Talk about a super fan. I’ll never get on his case for nodding off during a concert again!

Unfortunately, unlike the President and Al Green, Christie’s love affair with New Jersey’s most popular entertainer has been completely rebuffed. Springsteen won’t even publicly acknowledge his 50-year old super fan, and the two have only ever briefly met once or twice.

Christie wanted Springsteen to sing during Labor Day at the Revel, the new Atlantic City casino he has staked so much politically (not to mention the $261 million worth taxpayer dollars he’s on the hook for), but The Boss never responded to his request, “not even a ‘F— you,” he told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. 

Back in 2010, Christie invited the Long Branch native to sing at his Inaugural celebration, offering to make a gift to charity of Springsteen’s choosing if he performed.

In the end, Christie settled for the B Street Band, a Springsteen cover band, after Springsteen’s representatives responded that the singer “doesn’t want to get involved in state politics.” Funny, getting involved in politics didn’t seem to matter when The Boss performed for Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Kerry.

Springsteen even went so far as to travel on the road with Kerry back in 2004, and dedicated his live rendition of “No Surrender” to the Presidential wanna-be. “This is for John,” he told the crowd. 

Dedicating a song to one of the least soulful politicians in recent memory, yet giving Christie an earful to static every time he desperately tries to reach out? Man, that’s cold.

Even when Springsteen wrote a letter to the Asbury Park Press critical of Christie’s budget, he never mentioned the governor by name when responding to a story about advocates’ frustration with promoting the need for programs for the poor and disadvantaged.

Springsteen wrote, in part, that the “article shows that the cuts are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty.” 

Obviously, I understand Springsteen’s reasoning for not wanting to trash his principles and beliefs by returning Christie’s love, and I respect him for holding true to his own values. But the desperation Christie seeks in the Boss’s approval is just painful to watch at times. Can’t Springsteen just throw him a small bone? Even Elton John swallowed hard and sang at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding (although the $1 million he was paid didn’t hurt).

For now, Chris Chrisite’s love affair for The Boss remains undaunted, and I’m sure you’ll be able to catch the Governor dancing and fist pumping in the darkened seats of the next Bruce Springsteen concert. Sadly, I bet he’ll be singing along with Springsteen as the band queues up “Dancing in the Dark”:

“I’m dying for some action, I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book /I need a love reaction come on baby give me just one look.”

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Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. See more of his work at RobTornoe.com, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.

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