- - Sunday, June 16, 2013


GOP Golden Boy Chris Christie is going to run in 2016, and he might not even do so as a Republican. Seriously.

So, will he challenge the highly beatable Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination? Maybe. But all signs point to the whalelike New Jersey governor floating himself as a middleman, neither right nor left — the Chosen One to solve all the discord in the nation’s capital:

The Independent.

Sound insane? Well, the man who clearly can’t control his base impulses (he’s fat) doesn’t know where he fits into the 2016 scheme. (Get it? “Where he fits in”?) He’s trying to squeeze into a packed elevator. Sure, the sweaty bloom went off the flabby rose very quickly, but it’s clear Mr. Christie will — Jeez, that guy is really, really fat, right?

OK, enough fat jokes. America has had fat presidents. William Howard Taft was big as a pig, often dozed off while eating, and had sky-high blood pressure to go with his BMI of 42.3 … but he had a lovely golf swing! Boozehound Grover Cleveland, at 5 feet 11 inches and more than 250 pounds, was known to his nieces and nephews as “Uncle Jumbo,” but he got the job done. Teddy Roosevelt was a bulbous butterball, yet he could hog-tie a steer in seconds (then eat an entire hog).

Still, you have to go back to FDR, first elected in 1932, to find a president as unhealthy as the New Jersey governor. Sure, JFK was a pill-popping drunk, and Bill Clinton was a Big Mac-inhaling chunkbucket, but both were young and good-looking when they were elected. Same, sorta, for George W. Bush, and James Earl Carter. Ronald Reagan was old, but virile and fit. So was George H.W. Bush, in that Boston Brahmin way. Gerald Ford was a former footballer, and Richard Nixon too was comparatively fit (even more so later, with all that late-night pacing).

But in the television age, fat don’t fly. Sure, America is fat, but we don’t want our president to be like us. Presidents are who we want to be, and we don’t want to be fat.

Neither does the governor. Which is why he did what America does: exercise, watch the diet, count calories, cut out the sweets. Just kidding. Don’t be absurd: lap-band stomach surgery. Yeah, the thing for “patients with certain comorbidities that are known to improve with weight loss, such as sleep apnea, diabetes, osteoarthritis, GERD, hypertension, or metabolic syndrome, among others.” This after he was rushed to the hospital for breathing problems at 49. Not good. Like the word “comorbidity.”

But let’s be honest: Mr. Christie is the Great Unknown for 2016. Marco Rubio is setting up (or being set up) as the Establishment Candidate. That didn’t work so well for John McCain or Mitt Romney. Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are the Hot Ones, but they’re newbies. Chances are they don’t go this next time (although Mr. Paul may follow his father and run every cycle for the next 30 years, and Mr. Cruz may track Barack Obama … less time in D.C. is a plus). Make no mistake: The White House fears that duo most, has made them the targets for 2014. But Jeb Bush: Please. The next Bush with a chance is George P.

Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Fat Newt, all done. Paul Ryan? America hates losers. Like Sarah Palin. They’re done. And you’d think the Republicans would have other women ready to match up with Hillary: They don’t. In the wings, but not ready.

That leaves Mr. Christie, and whatever you think of him, he is a powerful force … a rock star, a bad ass. As governor, he’s bashed teachers, leechers, wasters. He’s hard-core Jersey, and Jersey Boys don’t take no guff. He routinely shocks the MSM by speaking bluntly and they love him. (Wait, like they loved “Maverick McCain”? Oh, that can’t be good)

He’s irked the Establishment of his party. How dare he look after the people who elected him while a weak Republican candidate needs his star power?! Ever since the Obama visit after Superstorm Sandy, he’s been on the outs with party leaders. He toed the line on “Obamacare,” then backed tougher gun laws. He’s an enigma — wrapped in bacon. CPAC didn’t even invite him to speak this year … “for decisions that he made.” Just last week, he skipped a D.C. gathering of social conservatives — for show time with Bill Clinton in Chicago.

CNN, of course, was on the discord like fat on a pork butt. “Nancy Modlin, another North Carolinian and a self-described home-schooling mom, expressed disappointment that Christie chose to attend a forum hosted by Clinton instead of spending a day in Washington meeting with conservatives. ‘I am disillusioned with him,’ Modlin said. ‘I see too much two-facedness, trying to ride both sides of the fence for his own gain. I’m not sure what he is right now, with the way he philanders with a variety of people, Democrats like Bill Clinton. What does that tell you?’”

It tells you that Chris Christie is The One. Republicans are talking about him. So are Democrats. Soon, maybe, there won’t be any fat jokes possible. The Young Bucks in the Senate are peaking now — way early. And Mr. Christie is the great unknown.

But he won’t be running as a conservative. And he might just be the only Republican who realizes the Republican Party — for good or bad — might now just be a terrible fit for modern America.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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