Whoever triumphs in Tuesday’s presidential election — Barack Obama or Mitt Romney — the one sure winner in my estimation is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The rotund, irrepressibly charismatic Republican, who often resembles a Mack truck both in size and the way he crashes through the usual roadblocks other potential national candidates avoid, has put the welfare of those who elected him above partisan considerations. It’s a rare act of political courage.
Faced with the horrendous task of putting his state back together again after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, Christie came out singing the praises of his Republican Party’s chief nemesis. The president, he let the world know, has been of paramount help in the dark days of the perfect storm, the brunt of which was taken by Christie’s beloved Jersey Shore.
Forget the election, Christie announced. At this stage, he couldn’t care less. The only thing that mattered to him, he said, was the quick response of the Oval Office’s current occupant, who, at least for the time being, has become his new best friend. Christie walked through the wreckage almost arm in arm with the nation’s chief executive, both of them offering solace to victims.
Who can blame him? That remains to be seen.
Christie burst on the scene as a bigger-than-life, free-wheeling moderate who many saw at one time as the best hope of defeating Obama but who made it clear he wasn’t interested in running, at least this time. He resisted totally the siren call of bigger things, supporting Romney and bringing humor and good will to the presidential campaign. His possible aspirations for a prolonged stay on Pennsylvania Avenue were put on hold, perhaps as soon as 2016, if Romney loses.
There are those in GOP circles who are likely to reflect on Christie’s ebullience over Obama’s contribution to New Jersey’s welfare and find it over the top, just a little too passionate even for the irrepressible Christie. That will be a near certainty if Romney falls short on Tuesday.