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This diary is not about digging deep into political machinations of either Christie or Obama.  It is a look at how loss and grief prompts one to see others.  It is deeply personal, deeply emotional.  It is also deeply real.

As I heard on the news, by the time Obama landed, Christie was emotionally exhausted.  He seemed to grab onto Obama as if grabbing to a life raft.  And Obama was, indeed, that life raft.  He offered hope, expertise, resources, a metaphorical shelter in the storm.

In contrast, during this time of deep loss and grief, Chris Christie also heard from Mitt Romney.  And Mitt Romney asked Chris Christie for a favor.  He asked Chris Christie to use the storm and the loss and the grief to help Mitt Romney get elected.

If we turn this tale into a fable, it is like Christie is a son who loses his last parent.  He is grief stricken and overwhelmed.  There are two people who visit.  One brings him food, sits with him, offers to help him in whatever way he needs.  That would be Obama.  The other person comes to the house and starts looking over the property of the deceased.  Instead of offering aid and comfort, he starts asking for the things he has always coveted from the deceased.  And that would be Mitt Romney.

If you were Chris Christie in the midst of grief and loss and exhaustion, which person would you turn to?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nice take on things. I think there's an element of (16+ / 0-)

    that there.
    However, Christie is just doing what's in his political best interests, too. There's nothing different from what he's previously done.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:48:24 AM PDT

    •  That's true (20+ / 0-)

      I'm sure both Christie and Obama are aware of the political consequences of their actions.

      But Christie is a smart politician.  And a Republican. And he's got to know that essentially painting the president as a leader goes in totally the opposite direction of his meme about why Obama should not be re-elected.

      He could have been polite to Obama and accepted his help.  This is way more than that.

      Ryan lies; seniors die.

      by NCJan on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:51:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NCJan, LSophia, jts327

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:54:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Christie's also up for re-election next year. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NCJan, LSophia

          In a blue state.  In an environment where he can't afford (politically) to screw up the rescue/stabilization/what will be a long restoration.  Especially by starting a partisan slap fight.

          He's a smart politician, and at this particular moment in time, I believe that his 'partisan' setting is dialed down in the face of the challenges his state faces.

      •  Yes, this is positioning himself for 2016 (0+ / 0-)

        NJ recovery MUST be a success or he has no chance in 2016. Sufficient extended federal aid will ONLY be available if a Democrat wins this election. His optics during recovery MUST be statesmanlike or he hands his opponents a gift that keeps on giving for 2016. A Democrat MUST win this election; otherwise, in 2016 he either has to face a successful incumbent President Rmoney (eeeeesh, I hate even typing those words) or overcome the the baggage of a failed 1-term President Romney. And his heart is broken, and he is exhausted, and receiving Federal aid as well as emotional support from someone who has an even heavier lift in this recovery will give him some personal shelter -- but that is lagniappe.

        This is a very disciplined, hard-boiled, dirty, union-busting, GOP machine politician, much too cozy with the big business community. From 1000 miles away, he appears to me a man whose personal baggage prolly doesn't get in his way much, but I could certainly be wrong.

        !! Four more years !!

        by raincrow on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:51:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And thanks for the compliment n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David54, NCJim, LSophia

      Ryan lies; seniors die.

      by NCJan on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:52:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  2016 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Danali, highacidity

    He wants to be the Republic nominee then. He can't be if Rmoney wins.

    You usually get what you paid for.

    by IowaMike on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:50:59 AM PDT

  •  I agree with David................... (10+ / 0-)

    there are both involved. There is an underlying political calculation but Christy's is sincere in his gratitude for BHO's assistance and support for his constituents. I think that sincerity is based on the diarist's premise.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:55:49 AM PDT

  •  Why is anyone surprised with this? (6+ / 0-)

    President Barack Obama walks with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Newark, N.J., as they returned from Paterson, N.J., after viewing damage caused by Hurricane Irene, Sept. 4, 2011. (Charles Dharapak / AP Photo )
    Nobody here remembers how chummy they were after Hurricane Irene? C'mon, that was only a year ago.

    Politicians do what they have to do when they have to do it. Or they pay the price for their inaction.

    Ask George Bush after Katrina.

  •  Christie is the guy in the car (5+ / 0-)

  •  True Character (11+ / 0-)

    This whole situation really highlights the true character of all 3 men.  Christie and Obama pulled together for the good of the storm victims and to focus on getting the job done and in the end the situation showed the strength of each man.  Romney handled everything poorly.  He is not the President so he couldn't have stepped into Obama's role.  But instead of looking for a photo op or holding a fake charity rally, he could have called Christie and simply asked "What do you need?" or "As I candidate for President, how can I use my influence and media attention to help you out right now?" or "Where can I made a donation? - would a monetary donation be better or canned goods? - is there a resident of your state that needs a helping hand right now that I could help out personally?  There are so many ways any decent person would have handled the situation and Romney just didn't show that he's made of anything.

    •  so true! Romney is in a power position (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NCJan, LSophia

      has so many options to help!

      imagine if he just called Obama and asked what he could do or contribute.
      if he had Obama would have said something.

      Romney would look good/better in side effect instead he reveals the ass that we know he is...doesnt' care about all Americans
      very Bush in Katrina like response. "not my problem"

    •  I agree with this. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NCJan, LSophia

      Whatever Christie's political motivations are, he has demonstrated during this crisis the kind of leadership, compassion, and effort that we all want from our public officials.  Romney has not, in clear contrast to the President and Gov. Christie.  In fact, Romney would have shown more leadership if he had expressed support for what the President and the Governor have done and are doing.  Instead, his approach just screamed "typical politician."

  •  Has it been confirmed (0+ / 0-)

    that Romney asked Christie to politicize the disaster to benefit him? I totally believe it, I'm just wondering.

    •  I believe Christie himself confirmed it (4+ / 0-)

      If implicitly.  When asked by Fox if Romney would be coming to do a photo op.  His response was, I think, quite telling.

      On the question of whether Mitt Romney might go to New Jersey to tour the damage with Governor Christie, he said, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I have a job to do in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. I could care less about any of that stuff… If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
      If Romney had called and offered to help, I don't think Christie would have responded this way.

      Ryan lies; seniors die.

      by NCJan on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:32:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Two things stick out for me (8+ / 0-)

    First, at their core, both men are pragmatists. They are problem solvers. Sure, we dislike (sometimes with alarming passion) the solutions Governor Christie comes up with. However, the Governor knows it is more important to take care of his people than to posture. I think his comment to Fox News was truthtelling out of exhaustion and worry.

    Second, I think Governor Christie is one of those people who remembers that the two parties are not meant to be enemies, but opponents. That's a fact increasingly lost, with much of the Party of No seeing us as the enemy. THey see two Americas; people like President Obama and Governor Christie see one America - especially in times like this. (I personally hope that saner heads in the GOP bring back the opposition party that can be collegiate and work together and leave the enemies at the gate.)

    I also want to say I appreciate the emotional perspective of this diary. It most certainly plays a part, and we can't discount the toll disasters take on those who are in positions to be strong.

    "Do not believe in any thought that dehumanizes you." - James H. Cone

    by Word Alchemy on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:24:39 AM PDT

  •  Christie is smart and can read... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, jts327

    Christie is smart and can read the writing on the wall. Romney is going to lose, and the Republican party is, or will be, basically leaderless...unless you want to count the nut jobs and all the crazies...and nobody in their right mind should follow any of them around a corner.

    Again, Christie is smart and perfectly capable of reading the tea leaves.  He could be the future of the Republican Party...and it may be the time for the moderates to make a comeback and enlarge their tent...and he might be just the man for the job.

    And I could be reading way to much into this whole thing...who knows?

    I am a 67 year old teacher...teaching computer applications in a Texas high school. I've already retired once but it didn't take.

    by 43yearsateacher on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:30:21 AM PDT

    •  when i first saw him on tv (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      after the devastation, i had no doubt that he was serious, that he was truly affected by what had happened, and that he was being a very strong leader, and not a G W Bush at ground zero cheerleader.  
      I was impressed and even more impressed as the last few days passed.
      If he emerges as the leader of the Republican Party we would all be the better for it.  I would unlikely ever vote for him, but, I really think that this shock has affected his basic political being.

      ...sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport,whereas Virtue, if a pauper is stopped at all frontiers. from The Sermon, Moby Dick

      by jts327 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:26:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  CC's an asshole, tragedy or not. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, highacidity

    But sometimes tragedy can help clarify the truth. Maybe he'll realize that Obama has always been the stable guy in the room who tries to put the people ahead of politics. But as hard as CC has been, I think he checked his integrity at the door a long time ago. I'm looking forward to the story about Christie not using federal dollars to upgrade the NJ transit system, which could've been in a much better position today if he had. Stay tuned...

  •  Whether it was an epiphany (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NCJan, jts327

    or just cold, hard calculation, the fact is, this meme gave our country - not the Democrats, our country - a HUGE gift.

    It raised the chances of electing a competent, intelligent, compassionate president, over one who has no moral core, and whose entire focus seems to be on obtaining and acquiring power for himself.

    It also presented, with a series of powerful images, the ideal that the two parties CAN work together, that you CAN respect your opponents and still get things done, thus opening the door to a return to a sane, principled discourse.

    We're a long way away - but this is a hopeful sign if I ever saw one.  And I don't grudge Christie his time in the limelight, if it helps us reverse this disastrous course.

  •  Well I agree with both. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NCJan, LSophia, efrenzy, jts327, highacidity

    Christie is clearly a man that work with emotion.

    This loss must be devastating to him.  Think from his childhood that he wanted to share with his children and grandchildren are gone.

    Also he must feel weighted by the huge responsibilities that he has.  Peoples lives are at stake and I am sure he feels that emotionally.

    As NCJan says, in this time of  need and grief one person is loving and helpful, while his friend is self serving, narcissistic and selfish.

    Some where in there there might be a political calculation that Obama is going to win (needs to win to rebuild NJ) that I am going to have to work with him, want him on my side for the next two years.  And that is the only way I can win reelection and in 2016 the presidency.

    Knock, knock...who is there? -- One more vote for Obama.

    by NCJim on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:48:02 AM PDT

    •  Both politics and emotions at work here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, jts327

      I agree with everyone here and elsewhere talking about Christie's political calculations, about Christie as a political animal.

      I don't discount that at all.

      This is an attempt to look at another side of the situation, as the commenter says.

      Ryan lies; seniors die.

      by NCJan on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:52:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  a few short weeks ago.................. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NCJan, highacidity, J M F

    Chris Christie claimed that our president couldn't find the "light-switch" of leadership.

    What he must be realizing, about now, is that Obama's been leading since he was sworn in, is January, 2009.

    But people like Christie refused to follow.

    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and me?" - Don Van Vliet

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:55:13 AM PDT

  •  Comments (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NCJan, highacidity, Maverick80229, LSophia

    1. First and foremost, Christie needs FEMA do do its job.  He needs that federal response; he needs for Hoboken not to become New Orleans.  This isn't just political: do you want to go down in history as the guy who presided over the disappearance of the Jersey Shore?  So now Obama is invested in making it work for NJ.  That it makes for an unflattering comparison with Romney ("privatize FEMA!  Privatize the NWS!  No global climate change here!") really doesn't matter.

    2. Politically, Christie is solving two problems at once.  First, he ensures that Romney won't be around in 2016.  Second, he increases his own odds of re-election, which weren't that good until he discovered how to do emergency management and how good that is as political positioning.  

    3. Obama is very,  very popular in New Jersey.  And Christie knows damn well that Obama can get the job done.

    4. Both Obama and Christie just got a huge barrage of potent free advertising.  (Which is more attractive?  Christie and Obama standing on the dunes in a show of bipartisan problem solving, or Romney and Donald Trump swapping birther conspiracy theories?  And it's exactly the sort of bipartisan happy story the MSM wants to see.)

  •  I will believe he is sincere (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when he says schools do not have to make up lost days deep into the summer to retain badly needed state aid, as Whitman did after the hellacious winter of 94 ( still the worst NJ winter I've ever seen; no flat out blizzard, but a record setting 18 winter storms in one winter, two of them devastating ice storms ). I work in a school and we have not had school all week. We get 3 snow days for the year. Winter isn't even here yet, and it will have to be as mild as last year ( unlikely ) for us to be looknig only to add two days to the calendar; mansy schools are off next week due to Veterans, election Day and the NJ teachers convention ( the largest of its kind anywhere ) which is supposed to be held in Atlanctic City; hard to see that happening. Got power back last night; it was great to see a convoy of hundreds of out of state utility trucks staged at the local supermarket from...ILLINOIS!! Wonder why...

  •  Christie must know he'll be blamed for Mitt's loss (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NCJan, LSophia

    He could have thanked Obama every bit as sincerely, but provided fewer sound bites like "wonderful" and "deserves great credit".  Lots of Republicans will think this was deliberate, even if it wasn't.

    Without Sandy, he may have been the 2016 front-runner if Romney lost.  Now, he has baggage for not being a team player. It won't help that his star-making convention speech had so much Christie and so little Romney.

    His best career move may have been to share in a Romney victory, serve two terms as Governor, then take a Cabinet post in Romney's second term. Four years longer, but more probable than 2016 now appears for him. Did he get friendly with PBO because that looked impossible?

    I have no idea if he calculated well, calculated badly, or spoke honestly from the emotions of the moment. Can someone who knows him better say which is most likely?

    •  At risk of sounding really weird (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As an Italian-American, and knowing Christie is half-Italian American, it could be Italian American culture showing through.

      It's really simple.  You judge who your friends are by who shows up when you need them.

      That could be political, that could be emotional; I think having been raised in that culture it's both at once.

      Ryan lies; seniors die.

      by NCJan on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 09:52:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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