New Jersey is a state that once had a governor reveal during a single press conference:
- He was resigning.
- Because of an affair.
- With a man.
For most states, this would be plenty to process, but our suddenly former governor didn’t even mention that the man was about to start suing him for sexual harassment and that their falling out stemmed from that man, an Israeli poet, losing his job as the state’s homeland security adviser, a $110,000 a year position for which he had virtually no qualifications beyond the aforementioned affair with the governor.
That was the administration of Jim McGreevey.
Former presidential candidate Chris Christie wishes he could rise to this level of professionalism. Disastrous as McGreevey was as New Jersey’s governor, he still has one big edge over Christie: he occasionally spent time in New Jersey.
In 2015, Christie spent an incredible 261 days outside of New Jersey, which is only 72 percent of the year. (And yes, this is a great place to insert your, “Hey, can you blame him?” joke.)
It gets better: he did this at an estimated cost of over $1 million dollars to New Jersey taxpayers for security… while drawing a salary of $175,000 and a $75,0000 stipend for the 28% of the time he was in New Jersey. (To date, he has not offered to prorate his salary based on the time he actually spent being governor.)
And he did all this after Bridgegate ensured he was unelectable; after all, the only two explanations for that scandal are:
- Chris Christie is a man so petty and corrupt he would cause a traffic jam that may have killed a woman by stopping her from getting medical attention just to punish a political opponent.
- Chris Christie is a leader so incompetent and clueless that his staff would assume randomly screwing over a town and potentially killing New Jersey residents is something he’d either to be too dumb to notice or too weak to prevent.
Neither makes for an inspiring commercial.
Somehow this did not stop Christie from deciding, “I’m going all the way to the White House.”
Obviously, he did not make it. (Indeed, it’s unlikely he would have even managed to win New Jersey, as a poll found a majority of people wanted him to resign.)
This leads us to an obvious conclusion: it is impossible to run for president and do an actual job.
In some ways this is unfair to presidential candidates, because Chris Christie, like McGreevey before him, is a corrupt sack of crap and Christie was one long before he threw his hat in the ring, with antics including:
-Blowing a total of $82,000 in taxpayer money on concessions from his luxury box while watching football at MetLife Stadium, a practice that ended only when he decided it would look better if the Republican party started picking up the tab.
-Accepting a $30,000 weekend in the Middle East on a luxury “trade mission” that saw him bring his wife, three children, his father, stepmother, and mother-in-law, among others, which was explained as a gesture of friendship from the King of Jordan. (A pal who is so close to him that Christie got his name wrong during a Republican debate, leading to him announcing he planned to take full advantage of his close relationship with a man who died in 1999.)
-Insisting on billing taxpayers for luxury hotels even before he was governor, as he had a strange knack for staying at $400 a night Four Seasons-type hotels as a U.S. Attorney.
But while Christie is a man of exceptional appetites — sorry, couldn’t resist one — the fact is once anyone starts running for president, what matters most to them is where they happen to be campaigning that day. And you know what?
That’s okay! At some point, Abraham Lincoln had to leave Illinois behind to serve the greater U.S. (Well, part of it.)
I like to believe that the men and women seeking the presidency genuinely feel that, if elected, they can benefit the entire nation. (Or, in Chris Christie’s case, take most of the White House china when no one’s looking.)
But I also think if you believe this, go all in.
Truly believe you have what it takes to make it to the White House? Great, give up whatever elected position you have now so you pursue it exclusively.
And yes, this may be a temporary financial hardship, but don’t worry: once you get there it’s a $400,000 salary and perks galore. (Not that they need the money: a 2015 analysis found the average net worth of the presidential candidates was over $13 million… and that figure does not include Donald Trump.)
If you’re not ready for that commitment, stay where you are.
Or better, come to New Jersey: Christie’s coming back and we need all the help we can get.
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