So, the Washington Post now says that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is poised to “reclaim” front runner status as we head into the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
This on the heels of media reports that the US Attorney for New Jersey has thus far found no direct link to Christie in the Bridgegate affair after nine months of investigation.
And that Democrat-led legislative probe of the bridge closure has also gone nowhere even though the Dems are trying to keep it alive.
Well, you remember when we analyzed Chris Christie’s two-hour news conference in the midst of the GW Bridge imbroglio when he laid everything on the line and answered every question from every media outlet until everyone was just this side of exhausted. We said then that it was not only a masterful performance (an apt lesson in Crisis Communication 101) but also a credible one. Because it’s nearly impossible to make a flat-out denial such as Christie’s believable under such scrutiny unless you really are telling the truth.
After all, the governor left himself absolutely no wiggle room whatsoever. His statements and explanations were unequivocal, consistent and air tight.
Yes, the media continued to probe.
And they’ve never lost a opportunity to blast Christie on unrelated matters every chance they’ve had. What was once a near-adoring media chorus became a bunch of whiney bellyachers whenever the subject of Christie came up.
No surprise there, we suppose. Even under the best of circumstances, this is not the sort of crowd you’d necessarily share a foxhole with.
The media saw their opportunity and they took it.
But, guess what? It hasn’t amounted to much.
And in the meantime the fortunes of President Obama and the Democrats took a dive.
Through it all, Chris Christie soldiered on. In fact, the adversity seemed to strengthen him, to focus him and energize him in ways that some might not have thought possible. With the help of a prudent medical procedure he began to lose weight. He developed a rigorous, regular exercise regimen. Under fire, he showed a compassionate side, reaching out to Democrats such as once-embatled Governor James McGreevey. And yes, he softened some of his comments and approaches, made some significant compromises and frequently expressed gratitude to those who stood by him. Wisely (and tactfully) he refused to revisit questions about Bridgegate that had already been answered and fully vetted.
These are the qualities of a leader – a strong, realistic, reasonable leader.
None of these things surprise us.
Because these are the qualities that we’ve seen in Chris Christie all along.
We knew that he could more than hold his own, even in the midst of a veritable full-frontal assault. And he has proven that.
So, for us Chris Christie is not “reclaiming” anything.
His rightful claim to frontrunner status has been there all along. And far from diminishing anytime soon, we expect that claim to get even stronger.