For most of the past four years, Republican politicians generally have paid President Obama only minimal respect at best, no matter his high office.
But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has defied this prevailing GOP protocol this week by lavishing Obama with big praise for the president’s response to the Hurricane Sandy disaster. And some conservatives don’t like it a bit, especially with the election now less than a week away.
For three days in a row, Christie has lauded the president’s cooperation in dealing with the storm’s terrible aftermath in New Jersey. And, of course, all of this praise has been aired on network television for the masses to see.
A small collection of Christie’s comments:
“The president has been outstanding in this [emergency].”
“It’s been very good working with the President. He and his Administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful.”
“I’ve been on the phone with him personally three times. He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it.”
“The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit”
“He’s been very attentive, and anything that I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So, I thank the president publicly for that. He’s done—as far as I’m concerned—a great job for New Jersey.”
All of this effusive praise from Christie naturally is making Obama look quite presidential — and quite non-partisan — at the very height of the political campaign season. The imagery of it all is politically priceless, especially with the nation paying rapt attention to the disastrous effects of the big storm.
What’s more, Christie also seems to be going out of his way to diss his party’s presidential nominee. When asked by one of the talking heads on Fox News Channel if Mitt Romney would be visiting New Jersey to survey the damage there, Christie responded:
“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power. I’ve got devastation on the shore. I’ve got floods on the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
Christie’s conspicuous back of the hand to Romney, after tossing bouquets to Obama, has right-wing tongues wagging full-time, as one might well expect. What is the man thinking? Why is he doing this to our guy? Is this payback to Mitt for not giving him the running-mate nod? Is he trying to sink Romney’s ship this year so that his own presidential ambitions can be pursued in 2016 without an incumbent Republican president standing in the way?
Don’t you just love it?