Chris “Damaged Goods” Christie (formerly known as “The Luckiest Man in America”) is making those noises that indicate he’s going to run despite all the shadows hanging over him and his horrible record in NJ. So what if half your staff is going to be indicted, your state credit rating keeps getting downgraded, judges have said you have to make pension payments you tried to avoid, the casinos you personally funneled money to are going belly up and 69% of New Jerseyans say you’d make a bad president? When you’ve got nothing you’ve got nothing to lose.
1. It’s the GOP, it’s a crap shoot no matter how bad your numbers are or how damaged you are. Nobody’s popular with every segment of the party. Damaged Goods’ odds suck for him but what the hell?
2. It’s the GOP, you run to burnish your conservative grifter bona fides, by golly.
What are you going to do when you’re term limited out of the current job you suck at and president is the only other elected job you would consider taking, even if there’s no way you’ll even be the nominee? You run a bullshit campaign for president talking the crazy conservative talk so that you can get a radio or TV gig.
DG’s future is as the next radio or TV loudmouth. That’s the one place (other than NJ) where being a loud, ignorant blowhard does not count against you. Tell average people to “shut up and sit down” at a townhall and it’s iffy but tell callers to “shut up” and your ratings go through the roof. We need another Morton Downey Jr. like a hole in the head but get ready ’cause DG has got the lungs, belly and gall for the job.
But first things first, DG has to reintroduce himself to GOP donors and voters to get some traction. The best way to do that is to reestablish his fearless persona by stepping directly on the third rail of Social Security reform (for donors) and going hard right on social issues (for voters).
So he proposes means testing for SS (reduced benefits for $80K a yr. and up, eliminated for $200K a yr.), which is a bad idea but popular, because it makes sense to too many people who have bought into the premise that SS is in trouble, so we have to do something. If we have to do something then it makes sense to cut benefits for people who have some money. Then he couples that with a horrible idea that is rightfully unpopular: raising the retirement age to 69! Oh and raising Medicare eligibility to 67.
This is awesome because, if he makes this his campaign raison d’etre, he will cause all of the rest of the GOP field to compete for worse and worse ways to “fix SS” and that’s a 75 pound barbell around any of their necks. If Hilary comes out for expansion and lifting the cap, as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have, she’ll have a perfect contrast issue. Although given this GOP she wont be lacking those.
The other issue Damaged Goods came out strong against was, get this, legal marijuana. Yep. I’m going to fix Social Security for the kids so they’ll vote for me (although they will have to retire when they’re 69, stay healthy people!) but I’ll take away their pot. That’s what I call a mixed message.
Well, it would be if it was meant to go out to the real world, but it’s not. Damaged Goods is talking to the base here. The 75 year old Fox News audience that still thinks marijuana causes you to jump out of windows and race hot rods up suburban streets. There’s an audience out there for reruns of Dragnet and Damaged Goods is going right after them.
Citing an “enormous addiction problem” in the U.S., Christie, who has not yet announced a presidential run but has launched a political action committee, said that a very clear message needs to be sent “from the White House on down through federal law enforcement.”
“States should not be permitted to sell it and profit” from legalizing marijuana, he said.
I can hear him on the radio now: “Shut up, put the joint down and don’t even think about retiring you idiot!”