By Stuart J. Moskovitz
It is amusing to see Christie and his supporters act like Donald Trump in claiming victory out of a resounding defeat. True, Christie landed tough punches against Rubio. it is arguable he may have hurt him with those punches. We will see Tuesday. Frankly, if Rubio still finishes second or third, Christie’s punches will be yesterday’s sushi.
The fundamental truth about the Republican primary is that there is only going to be one nominee coming out of this to face the Democrat. Proving you are almost as good at being Donald Trump as Donald Trump is not going to get you nominated.
Moreover, the only shot ANYONE has at this nomination other than Donald Trump is to make sure Donald Trump isn’t the nominee. Christie not only failed to do this, he actually strengthened Trump’s position. First, he made it almost acceptable to be a shallow, boarish destroyer. Second, if he accomplished anything, it was to assure that Trump won by a larger margin than he would have, since Rubio was closing the gap.
Trump lost Iowa. If he lost New Hampshire, his campaign would be on an irreversible slide. It would have been Christie’s only chance, however remote, to be the nominee.
Taking Rubio down does absolutely nothing for Christie. Christie went into the debate fighting for third place. Third place doesn’t get you a silver medal let alone the nomination. It’s a fool’s mission to improve the position of the front runner by attacking the third place runner. Had Rubio won New Hampshire, there would be opportunities for other candidates, perhaps even Christie to move up in later primaries. If Trump wins New Hampshire by double digits, as Christie may have made possible, the opportunities will disappear overnight. Look for several of the candidates to drop out the next day. Christie will probably stay in the race so that he can continue to avoid New Jersey’s problems.
The fact is, while Christie is bragging about New Jersey’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy, we have done no such thing. Ask the people living at the shore in Monmouth and Ocean Counties if, now more than three years later, their communities have recovered. They have not. Not by a long shot. Some boardwalks have been rebuilt. Many homes have not. Much of the failure has been that of Christie’s hug buddy, Obama. Christie doesn’t have the courage to attack Obama, just like he doesn’t have the courage to attack Trump. He knows Obama will retaliate. He knows Trump will retaliate. He knows Rubio will stay on message, a positive message, rather than get involved in a self-defeating street brawl with someone who has proven he can do little else.
So, Christie takes the easy route. He fights for third place. The current President refuses to take on China. He refuses to take on Putin. He won’t even take on Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. He won’t even mention it, as if they are the second coming of Beetlejuice and will appear on our shores if he mentions them three times. No, Obama takes the easy route and attacks Netanyahu and Republicans, like that will solve anything.
The last thing we need is another President without the courage to fight the battles that need to be fought, to direct his ire at the true enemies, to focus on the real battle. The last thing we need is another President who will fight the easy fight rather than the necessary fight. Christie last night proved he isn’t qualified to serve in the lofty position of commander-in-chief. That’s ok, because he also assured it will never be an issue.