Christie’s Niche in True Believer Hall of Fame
Size matters, but so does moral essence. Snarling bridge traffic out of political pique may be petty compared to aiming airliners at tall buildings, but the dazzling human disproportion between ends and means, the reckless assault on innocent people and the subjugation of life to self-serving abstractions are inescapable, the mark of what Eisenhower’s favorite philosopher, Eric Hoffer, called “The True Believer.”
Hoffer’s prototype, in search of self-realization, used “a freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse,” to destroy perceived enemies by whatever means necessary to achieve his righteous ends.
Christie joins such company, not by his breadth of vision, but a pathetic failure to recognize the borders between populist posturing and making political power a literal bully pulpit. For months, observers have been parsing his performance but, in one swipe, he clarifies it with the kind of meanness that hasn’t been seen in politics since Nixon turned loose “the plumbers” to sabotage his perceived enemies with “dirty tricks.”
The New Jersey governor will continue to squirm out of as much responsibility as he can, but voters may have a harder time erasing the image of themselves being stuck in traffic jams at his whim than being killed by Osama in the Twin Towers.
Each question he dodges only raises more questions, and he is more than likely to end up in the ashbin of history without getting anywhere near the White House, as Nixon and Osama’s hijackers did.