Turn on the television and wait five minutes and it begins playing. “It’s in our blood, our DNA,” the painfully high voice sings, “Because we’re stronger than the storm.” The ad closes with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his family playing on the beach.
The 25 million dollar ad campaign feels like it has been in rotation forever. The earnest warbling of the song can be heard everywhere. It probably isn’t doing much to move tourists to the Jersey Shore, but that isn’t what it’s there for. It’s there to remind everyone that Christie is the guy who flew over the state in a helicopter after Hurricane Sandy. We’re not stronger than the storm, is the message. Christie is.
The 25 million dollar ad campaign like the 24 million dollar special election is about the Governor of New Jersey.
Some Democrats have criticized both moves as cynical elections ploys and that’s true and it isn’t. The election, against a placeholder candidate, is no threat to Governor Christie who is running 60 to 28.
No matter how many minority voters Cory Booker brings to the polls (and it’s no sure bet that he will bring any, Booker for the moment is far more popular among white liberals than among the inner city voters he is deserting in Newark) there is no conceivable way that Christie could lose this election.
But it’s not just about winning another four years. It’s about 2016.
Christie doesn’t just want to win. He wants to win by a landslide. And he doesn’t just want to win by a landslide. He wants to win as many Democrats and Independents as he can to make the case that he is the sure thing for 2016. The candidate who is bound to be electable because he has a track record of winning over blue voters.
The 2012 election involved two deals being cut for the 2016 election. Obama cut a deal with Bill Clinton to endorse Hillary for the Democratic nomination in 2016 in exchange for Bill coming out there and campaigning for him and another deal with Chris Christie to give him an easy election now and a clear path to the Republican nomination 2016.
Unprecedentedly the deals made in 2012 are supposed to lock down the nominations for both parties in the 2016 presidential election.
Christie considered jumping into 2012, before deciding to stay out of it. But that didn’t mean that he had any interest in Romney locking down the job and preventing him from running until 2020. And he gave Romney exactly the kind of help you would expect from a man who ran ads in 2008 touting his compatibility with Obama.
New Jersey politics has always been cynical. Its last governor was responsible for a monumental financial scam. The governor before him resigned after a gay affair spilled out into the tabloids. The President of the New Jersey Senate doubles as the General Organizer for the International Association of Ironworkers.
In carefully culled soundbites, Christie’s brazen attitude can seem like a reformer’s breath of fresh air, but it actually reeks of the contempt for voters and everyone else that is typical of Jersey politicians who pride themselves on not even pretending to give a damn.