Another likely exit from GOP circus

In this Oct, 12, 2015 photo, Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., speaks at a No Labels Problem Solver convention in Manchester, N.H.
Associated Press / Jim Cole, File

In this long-running circus that is the Republicans’ search for a 2016 presidential nominee, many things in the process haven’t been breaking right for the party. Not least is the continued presence of a guy whose position at the top in the polling of Republican voters should rightly be an insult to the intelligence of the overall American electorate. More understandably, the sampling of Republican voters has revealed numbers for some in the oddball bunch seeking the nomination that are a proper reflection of what their favorability in the public square deserves to be. One such is the aspirant who today has less company than he used to in his belief that he’s doing a marvelous job as New Jersey’s governor.

Chris Christie’s languishing among the single-digit rankings in polls seems just about correct, for someone bringing as much baggage as he does to the presidential wannabe table. Christie was one of the faces that popped up on last Sunday’s TV talkfest, making with the typical bluster that he and his handlers evidently figured to be his ticket to bigger and better things…like the presidency. Only, it doesn’t much look like such a plum is in the cards for the governor. Polls seem to be indicating that voters, Republican voters at that, have gotten hip rather early to the blowhard that Christie essentially is.

Most striking, perhaps, about the Christie poll findings is how the governor now fares on his home turf. He is shown to be trailing five Republican contenders for New Jersey’s nominee preference. Sixty percent of the Garden State’s GOP voters think he should call it quits with his campaign that is clearly not headed in the right direction. Very tellingly, a solid majority of those voters thought “presidential” wasn’t an apt description for the governor. And those anemic poll results regarding the Christie presidential delusions only mirror the now constantly negative trend that shows up in surveys of New Jersey residents about Christie’s job approval.

What we’ve got, obviously, is a dramatic turnaround from the salad days of yore when Christie and the minions charged with marketing the product that is the boss man had no qualms about their sky-is-the-limit expectations. Prospects looked good too, the governor once upon a time polling as the GOP’s best head-to-head gladiator against presumptive Democratic nomine Hillary Clinton. The Washington Bridge scandal and Christie’s being blamed for the state’s sagging economic well being only amplified the guy’s arrogance and perceived bullying tendencies, that are the core of his off-putting qualities. Given all of which, it’s only natural, perhaps, that Jerseyites would today critically revisit stuff they let slide earlier, resulting in a poll finding like the 51 percent who now question Christie’s canceling of the massive Trans-Hudson tunnel project that had been approved, with federal funds secured, prior to Christie’s becoming governor.

Collectively, the Christie demerits make for a picture that does not a whole lot to enhance the governor’s appeal in his quest for the nomination. But in truth, never mind other issues like his state’s tanking economy or the Washington Bridge fiasco being thrown into the mix, what would have been a deal breaker for Christie anyway, as we’ve always maintained here, is his apparent inability to appreciate the distinction between showering insults and putdowns on other political players and doing the same to average citizens. Anyone with the reputation Christie has for being brusque and ill-tempered in public ought to shelve Oval Office fantasies. Indeed, he should thank his lucky stars that he got elected governor, or to any public office prior to that.

On his latest Sunday morning TV splash, Christie was asked about the House Benghazi Committee’s recent questioning of Hillary Clinton. And to no one’s surprise, he took a contrarian view to the generally favorable opinion, across the board, that followed Clinton’s Capitol Hill appearance. With characteristic bravado, Christie insisted he would have accomplished in questioning Clinton what the Republicans on the panel could not. That’s the kind of chest-beating about which Christie is never shy.

But something that followed his TV appearance probably speaks to the state of Christie’s presidential quest narrative much more accurately than his predictable brashness on the tube. On his way back to New Jersey from D.C., a reportedly too loud Christie was ejected from the train’s “quiet car.” A perfect metaphor, it seems, for Christie’s political fortunes these days. And it very well could have been hinting at another of the 2016 GOP wannabes reduced to leaving the herd as the only option.

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