Chris Christie and the Irresistible Appeal of “Shiny Toys.”

“Mean? I’m not mean. I’m HUNGRY!”

If you play fantasy football, you have to be cautious of what I call “The Shiny Toy Theory.” Show a baby a shiny toy and they become hypnotized by the sight of it.  In fantasy football, there are players that get hot for a week or two and put up impressive numbers.  Everyone wants to pick them up because they are pretty and shiny.

Most of these players aren’t built to last. They are teasers, not pleasers. Showers, not growers.

Enter Chris Christie.   This week’s Designated Savior of the Republican Party and one of the media’s favorite shiny toy.

The Republican bench of potential candidates for 2016 is long, eager and many are rabid red-meat right-wingers whom refuse to compromise, negotiate or acknowledge political realities.   This plays well with the base of the party.   It scares the hell out of the general electorate in a presidential election.

Christie is one of those guys who went from obscurity to popularity and never stopped at humility.   He should enjoy his time riding high in the news cycle.   It won’t last because it never does.   Another shinier and prettier toy will come along and the media and the public will trot along behind it like puppies.

In politics destiny is occasionally confused with inevitably.   New Jersey has been the nexus of this phenomenon of late when two separate, but important events occurred.   Cory Booker went from the ambitious and nationally popular mayor of Newark to the first African-American to win a Senate seat in a state election since another ambitious African-American named Barack Obama did the same in 2006.  We all know where his ambitions took him and have no doubt Booker will eventually try to follow Obama’s career arc.

“Cory, just because I made you ride in the back of my helicopter is no reason to get mad.”

But that’s further in the future.  Here and now the other notable event was the Garden State’s incumbent governor, Chris Christie, easily won reelection in a race he was supposed to win in a Democratic state that admires his rough-around-the-edges Republicanism.  What made the victory notable to the self-styled seers and wise men sifting the tea leaves for the 2016 presidential race is how the governor cobbled together enough votes from traditionally Democratic supporters for a fawning national media to dub Christie the man  to rescue a party that seems to have forgotten how to win national elections.

It’s too early to tell, but he appears to have the makings of such a politician. It isn’t just that his four-year record of incumbency netted him a reelection margin of 60.4 percent compared to just 38.1 percent for his Democratic opponent, although that suggests that he is capable of generating considerable political force. More significant is his performance among particular voter categories. Women gave him a 15 percentage-point advantage over his female rival. People who identified themselves as moderates gave him a 21-point advantage. Independent voters turned to him by a 31-point margin. Even 30 percent of self-described liberals backed him. Meanwhile, he took half of the Hispanic vote and more than 20 percent of the African-American vote.

If  Christie could be elected by the slobbering mainstream media, he’d be the next POTUS.  Unfortunately for him, he’s gonna have to go stand in some Iowa cornfield in about two years and try to explain to some skeptical farmer chewing tobacco and spitting it out why he should support him over a true believer like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul.

Without a doubt it was a big win for the big man, but Chrstie’s triumph looks even more impressive in comparison to Tea Party poster boy and right-wing radical Ken Cuccinelli’s humbling defeat in Virginia to Terry McAuliffe, a Bill Clinton insider.

Christie’s appeal lies in when compared to the right-wing extremism of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and the “oh no, not another one” stink all over Jeb Bush, he benefits by being the least terrible choice.  For the GOP insiders, while they may grumble over Christie literally embracing President Obama, they can’t deny his popularity and the possibility his gruff, take-no-stuff persona may play well nationally.

What won’t play well is Christie’s imperious and often rude attacks on teachers, labor unions, journalists and other Republicans who cross him.  The GOP base won’t care about dissing those first three groups, but if Christie hopes to win the nomination he can’t treat the rest of the Republican field like bleeping idiots even if they are bleeping idiots.

I’m trying to imagine Christie in a debate with Paul, Cruz, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and whomever shows up all slicing and dicing into him and getting redder and madder as he struggles to hold his volcanic anger in check.   I don’t think he can for an entire campaign without at least one major eruption of Mt. Chris Christie.

Americans like tough guys, but they don’t like mean guys and Christie can be very mean.   That’s a liability and he’ll have to learn how to temper his noted temper.

Christie is not a secret liberal fantasy.   He’s a solidly mainstream Republican who has some moderate positions because he’s a governor in a pretty blue/Democratic state.   That will serve Christie well in a general election, but can he even get out of the Republican primaries when everyone from Cruz to Paul to Marco Rubio and the rest are going to be aiming for that target on his double-wide butt?

It’s not a lock Christie even gets the nomination despite the fact many of the traditional Republicans will hold their nose and support him despite not being ideologically “pure.”

Christie would be a moderate but only more moderate in comparison than Cruz, Paul or Rubio (but not that much more).    Christie’s lap-band surgery isn’t about slimming down but to take off the table the lingering question of whether Americans wants an obese president, but  until the pounds melt away, Christie will still offer plenty of room for his admirers and critics to ride his butt all the way to 2016.

Nice podium, Barack. Mind if I keep it?

Can Hulkbama Smash Not -So Puny Republicans?

“Hulkbama SMASH puny Mittens!”

Did anyone really think winning a second term would be easy?

If you’re paying any attention to the polls and the news and the pundits you would think the election was already over and Barack Obama should be choosing the words for his concession speech.  And let’s not mince words:  Obama had a terrible May and the news for June isn’t starting off any better with Mitt Romney and the RNC raising $76.8 million in May clobbering the president and the Democrats’ $60 million (my $25 bucks is in there somewhere, but they’re back begging for more).

There’s no spinning this as anything but bad news for the Democrats.  They knew after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling they would be behind a fundraising 8-ball, but they probably weren’t expecting to be this far behind already.   the only good news is with five months to go, there’s still time to get their base motivated and active.  The bad news the Republican base already is.

If elections were won in June there would be no reason to vote in November.   They aren’t and running from behind is a place Obama has been before.   No incumbent president has won reelection with the unemployment rate over 7 percent.  Right now it stands at 8.2 percent which is not good news for Americans looking for work or for the president’s chances of keeping his job either.

It was never going to be easy for Obama.  Hope and Change has run headlong into Disillusion and Reality.  No one man no matter how much he inspires or how much difference he said he would make can change the way politics work in America by himself.   Not everybody wants things to change.  When they don’t they push back against it and the Republicans have kept a united force against the president since he first took office.

The gloomy mood for Democrats deepened this week as the special election in Wisconsin to recall Republican incumbent Scott Walker fell dismally short and instead emboldened gleeful conservatives.

The recall flopped as most voters stayed home and most that bothered to show up backed the favorite son of the Koch Brothers over Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor Walker had beaten before to win the job in the first place.  The recall was backed by Walker’s enemies on the Left and wasted precious time, money and effort in a long-shot bid to oust an unpopular incumbent; though not as unpopular as they had hoped.

You really think “Slash and Burn” is a better motto than “Hope and Change,” Bill?

This was the equivalent of wanting a “do over” and because the election results don’t go the way you want doesn’t mean you’re gonna get a second bite of the apple.

Recalls should be reserved for high crimes, misdemeanors and illegalities in office. Scott Walker may be a dick with ears, but that’s not a good enough reason to overturn the will of the majority of Wisconsin voters.

I’m hardly surprised Walker won and Obama stayed out of the recall. The Left will barbecue the president’s butt over it, but this smelled like a loser from the jump. They should have known when Russ Feingold, a hero of progressives declined to run against Walker, he was trying to tell them something.

Yes, there will be an insufferable amount of giggling coming from fatheads like Limbaugh and Faux News, but c’est la vie. If you try to kill the king, you’d better take him down because if you don’t he’s going to make your lives hell on Earth and if anybody thinks Scott Walker will feel humbled or chastised by the recall, they’re high on crack. If anything, if he could run for the GOP presidential nomination he’d have a good shot at it as a bona fide conservative rock star.

Way to go Wisconsin labor and liberals.   Now we’re already hearing Romney has a good shot at taking Wisconsin away from Obama in five months. Such are the perils of overreach.

Elections have consequences and if the political winds were once blowing in Scott Walker’s face, they definitely are at his back now.

Though Obama chose not to throw his support behind Barrett, Bill Clinton threw his weight behind him, but that wasn’t enough to fire up the Democratic base, another worrying sign for the fall.

Bill being Bill means though he says he believes Obama will win by five or six points made headlines by going “off-message” and praising Romney for his time at Bain Capital at the same time when the Obama campaign has blasted him for killing jobs, not creating them.   The former president joined another Obama surrogate, Newark Mayor Cory Booker in undercutting the president by criticizing the attacks on Romney’s time as a vulture capitalist.

This snafu has delighted Republicans and dumbfounded Democrats wondering why Clinton and one of the party’s brightest rising young stars can’t seem to get on the same page as President Obama.

For Booker it may simply be inexperience as a campaign surrogate on this level.  But there’s no such thing as Bill Clinton misspeaking or going off message.  Bubba is one of the sharpest mind in politics and he doesn’t simply have brain farts where he says something off-the-cuff he has to back pedal from later.  Clinton says what he means even if he doesn’t always mean what he says.

This is just his way of tweaking Obama to remind him how much the current president needs the former president to have his back  if he wants to follow his footsteps to a second term instead of Jimmy Carter to one-and-done.

Never mind that.  Let Bubba be Bubba and enjoy his little joke.  Ultimately Obama’s fortunes will rise and fall not on who endorses him, but if  voters believe he’s done a good enough job for a second term.

There’s still plenty of time and it’s too early to get worried.   Obama could use a few wins, but with the Supreme Court on the verge of handing down its decision on healthcare reform, the signature achievement of his presidency, things may get worse before they get better.

“Thas’ right. I’m a bad mutha.”