What you’ll remember most about Christie
The State of the State address on Tuesday will serve as a farewell from Governor Chris Christie. A two term governor who won his second term in a landslide election and could have been president, only to collapse in popularity later. Once enjoying nosebleed high approval ratings, a Rutgers-Eagleton poll just out shows him leaving office with a 19% approval rating. The same poll shows only 5% of respondents saying they will miss him.
He's indicated you're wrong. He's suggested that when a new governor takes over and new policies are in place, you'll soon look back on him more fondly than you feel at present. What will he be remembered for? Taking on the state workers? Trying to tackle the pension crisis? His 2% property tax cap? His heartfelt, full on assault on the opioid epidemic?
Or will it be the glaring difference between his first term and his second? One got the feeling he was a different Christie in the beginning. One who was all about the challenge, the fight back, the ugly business of putting New Jersey on a course correction. Whereas later he seemed to become the guy who believed in his own press, enjoyed his appearances on Fallon and SNL far too much. To be fair, it must take a Herculean effort to not let it go to your head when so many were courting him to run for president in 2012. It would have been his, and he knows that now.
Then came Bridgegate. Many laughed it off at first. I knew it would have lasting reverberations. Sure enough, his appeal never recovered and his presidential bid in 2016 was doomed. Will Bridgegate be the thing we'll remember most about Chris Christie?
Or will it be the state shutdown and the infamous beach chair photo? As his tenure grew longer his arrogance grew bigger. In the end he seemed to be living in a delusional state. He believes we'll miss him.
If Phil Murphy does to New Jersey what a lot of us are worried he will; rising taxes, skyrocketing property taxes, sanctuary state progressiveness, what we'll miss won't actually be Christie. It would simply be a time that was less bad. That isn't saying much.
Ultimately, what we'll remember about Chris Christie isn't Bridgegate. It isn't pension reform, proposed school funding reform, the opioid epidemic, the gas tax hike. It isn't the SNL and Letterman appearances or the presidential aspirations. It isn't his relationship with Donald Trump or the aftermath of Sandy.
What we'll remember about Christ Christie is the guy who wasn't afraid to yell back when someone took him on at the boardwalk. Or at the ballgame. Or any of another dozen public spectacles. What we'll remember about Chris Christie is the passionate swagger whether right or wrong. What we'll remember is being closer to knowing the true personality of any governor who ever held office. What we'll remember most is simply...Chris Christie.
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