Can Christie dance his way to the White House?

June 17, 2014

New Jersey governor (and UD grad) Chris Christie officially announced last week that he is running for president.

The announcement - made without the usual family and supporter lineups typical of such affairs - included only “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, with whom he did a brief but remarkable “Evolution of Dad Dancing” performance.

It also included no promises, vision, policy statements or indeed words of any kind, though it did end with the “Sorry, the Bridge Is Closed” dance, a number Christie himself made famous.

I say this only somewhat facetiously. There’s no way a man would put himself through that unless he still had the fire in his belly, which in Christie’s case is quite substantial, though he has slimmed down.

He also danced pretty well. Good enough to be president? We’ll have to see. But he managed to joke about the bridge incident and direct attention away from other problems.

Good news for conservatives

Though they might not see it that way, conservatives, especially gun owners, can take comfort in the recent standoff between the federal government and Cliven Bundy, who refuses to pay fees for allowing his cattle to graze on public lands.

The federal government demanded payment. Bundy said no. Armed followers of Bundy showed up in support. And, before long, the government backed off, no doubt fearing another Waco-style fiasco that would be captured on video and turned into a 24/7 cable news extravaganza.

(One of the reasons the government did back off was because a video of Bundy’s son getting tasered did go viral.)

The incident shows why gun owners need not fear the federal government seizing their firearms. First, no American president would order such a thing. Second, no American Army would follow such an order.

And third, even if you don’t accept the first two, the ubiquity of video cameras and the power of cable news and the internet would turn even the most modest attempt into a political disaster.

Not only would the federal government be unable to disarm America, as some fear, it couldn’t disarm Sussex County. Or Milton. Or even a single household. At the first sign of trouble in this imaginary scenario, the government would back off.

Here’s some more good news for conservatives. The so-called mainstream media isn’t quite as liberal as people think. Otherwise, they would have made more of the most under-reported fact concerning the recent ambush of two police officers and the subsequent murder of a Walart shopper.

The shopper, armed with a gun, confronted the shooters. He was brave, but he wound up dead.

Good news for liberals

Though they might not see it this way, liberals can take some comfort in the loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia.

Liberals often fear conservatives will outspend them during elections. Though money remains important, Cantor’s loss to former political nobody Dave Brat shows it doesn’t quite mean everything either.

It was often reported that Cantor’s campaign spent more money at steakhouses than Brat spent on his entire campaign. But here’s another amazing statistic.

Cantor’s campaign blew through around $5 million; Brat’s scraped by on about $200,000. That means Cantor spent around $173 per vote, which must be some kind of record, especially for a losing contest. Brat got by on a meager $5.53 per vote.

Cantor could have handed voters one-hundred-dollar bills and still had enough money for a sizable media campaign. In Delaware, I hear they used to buy votes for five bucks and a half pint of whisky.

Yes, Cantor might have been called out for flagrant vote-buying, but, after all, the U.S. Supreme Court equates money with speech. Why shouldn’t candidates be allowed to have crisp new Benjamins do their talking for them directly? They’d just be cutting out the middlemen.

Question of the week

Who’s more in need of help? On the one hand, you’ve got young people just out of college who are loaded with student debt but have poor job prospects because their elders wrecked the economy.

On the other hand, you’ve got wealthy, well-established older folks.

That’s easy; the wealthy old people. They can afford to hire lobbyists to protect their tax breaks.

Last week a bill that would have allowed young people to refinance their student debt at lower interest rates failed in the Senate. They would have been able to lower their monthly payments, freeing up money they could spend on the necessities of life. This in turn would stimulate the economy. It’s a no-brainer.

Except, of course, for one problem. Paying for the measure would have meant ending some tax breaks for the wealthy. That was too high a price. Republicans killed the bill (though three GOP members did vote for it).

Young people, through no fault of their own, are struggling because of a Great Recession they didn’t create. We could have helped them, but as a nation we turned our backs on our own children. It’s shameful.

  • Accomplished writers appear in the Politics column every Tuesday on a rotating basis to explore the dynamic world of politics at the local, county, state, national and world levels.