New Jersey Governor Chris Christie yesterday proved what many have speculated—he is the ultimate self-promoter. Christie announced he would hold a news conference in Trenton setting off wild speculation as to whether he would enter the now-boring GOP presidential nomination sweepstakes only to say he would not run.
Christie insisted nothing had changed from when he was first being urged to get in the race. “Nothing’s changed. It’s always been ‘no.’” Yeah, right. Christie did nothing to definitively kill the recent round of speculation, admitting that he had to “rethink” the possibility.
Yesterday’s circus reminds The Shad of UConn basketball star Khalid El-Amin’s 1999 news conference to announce he would not enter the NBA draft. Both men at the time of the non-announcements were too heavy to succeed in the endeavor they were turning down. Both were beloved by a certain demographic. El-Amin ended up with a respectable pro hoops career. Eventually, he was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bulls (no one leaves college to be drafted in the second round). He played 50 total games in the NBA averaging a little more than six points.
Christie’s future is as yet undetermined. He has however succeeded in the ultimate in self-promotion. His contrived “plain speak” was on display as always. When asked if he was offended by comedians making fun of his ample girth he replied, “If they’re funny, what the hell do I care”—a gratuitous “hell” to show he’s a straight shooter. Don’t be surprised that as polls begin to show the Republican flavor-of-the-month candidates begin to fade, there will be a new round of “draft Christie” talk that he will allow to fester until he again says no.
Also yesterday, FOX News did nothing to dispel the notion that it is a tool of the Republican party. The Shad actually has been of the notion that FOX News, while leaning right in its hard news coverage, does a semi-decent job of separating its news coverage from its commentators who are to the right of Attila the Hun. Not so yesterday.
The media knew well in advance of the Christie side show that he was announcing he was not going to run. Yet FOX covered the event like it was the biggest announcement of the campaign season. After it was over, anchor Shepard Smith went so far as to mock his own outlet’s coverage of the newser. “Did you hear? Chris Christie is still not running,” he said over and over again. That speaks volumes. In part of his event, Christie said that New Jersey was stuck with him for. Good. They can keep him.