Chris Christie’s Whale of a Beach Tale Smells Fishy

First off, I’d like to say that seeing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in beach wear is an experience I could have happily gone through life without–but now that it’s happened, and neither I nor the rest of America can unsee it, I might as well toss in my two cents and try to make sense out of all the madness.

Some background:  New Jersey is having some budget difficulties because it’s New Jersey.  That is to say, in spite of having some of the highest taxes and fees in the nation, the state had to shut down its government because it didn’t have enough left in the coffers to keep the joint running.  Those fees, by the way, include around $75 in tolls you’d need to pay just to get to the Jersey Shore, plus the $50 or so you’d have to cough up to park there–but even all that wasn’t enough to keep the beaches open the weekend before the 4th of July.

Except for Chris Christie, of course.

The guv known for his girth apparently also has a voracious appetite for the sun, and didn’t let a little thing like the state budget keep him and his family from soaking up some rays even as his constituents were told to pound sand.  As you would expect, the media quickly got wind of the story, whipped out a wide-angle lens and snapped a pic of Christie in flagrante delicto–which led to no shortage of memes taking note of his hi-larious hijinks:

 

On the bright side, with the beaches as empty as Amity Island after Bruce the Great White Shark munched on some swimmers, the line for the governor’s favorite hot dog stand was a lot shorter than usual.  Unfortunately, a lot of people are also starting to say the same thing about Christie’s political career.

So how is he spinning a blunder so obvious that it has Anthony Weiner thinking he should have run for office in Jersey instead?  Well, let’s just say that he’s not exactly being contrite about it:

“I think my poll numbers show that I don’t care about political optics,” Christie said at a press conference. “What I care about is doing what’s right and wrong.”

Christie was polled as the most unpopular governor in at least 20 years last month, clocking in with an approval rating of 15 percent.

That’s an interesting way of putting it, governor.  But if I were you, I’d work on doing what’s right–because you already got that whole wrong thing down cold.

As for not caring about political optics, I’m guessing that was true–all the way up to the moment Christie got caught.  Much like Bill Clinton when he took a dip in the intern pool, he obviously didn’t see anything wrong with what he was doing, otherwise he woudn’t have done it.  What Christie doesn’t seem to understand, however, is that most of the time things look bad because they are bad.  In this case, the highest official in state government was perfectly happy to inflict punishment on his citizens that he was unwilling to suffer himself.  Put that together with what happened during Bridgegate, and a pattern emerges:  Chris Christie views himself as above the people he was elected to represent.  In common parlance, that makes him a jerk.  And jerks don’t tend to be very popular.

In that light, governor, the optics are the least of your problems.  It’s your attitude that needs to change–because right now, it stinks like a beached whale.

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Marc Giller

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