Chris Christie has never had any problem criticizing Barack Obama. A few weeks ago, for example, he uncorked this:
Now, I’m as cynical as the next guy, but … really? Does Christie cross people as that sinister? I think Jeffrey Goldberg has the best theory:
Christie, in my experience, is a deeply emotional and highly sentimental man, and he is torn-up about the devastation along the Jersey Shore. The support he’s received from President Obama — the support he receives from anyone — at such a wrenching moment, makes him inordinately grateful. And President Obama has been extremely attentive.
Exactly. As I said earlier on Twitter, Chris Christie wears his heart on his sleeve. He says what he thinks and he doesn’t pull punches. This is, in fact, one of the things we like about him. Seeing the devastation wrought on the Jersey Shore of his youth, the Shore he has taken his children to many times, has clearly hit him hard. You can see it in his face; you can feel it in his statements. And having a President he has been highly critical of call him up and say, “tell us what you need” moved him.
Of course, I may be buying into Christie’s genuineness too much. And maybe Goldberg’s alternate theory — that Christie just wants to meet Bruce Springsteen — is the right one. But for the moment, I’m taking this for what it is: the gratitude of a man who is deeply hurt by what his state has endured. And I think it’s a sign of how weird our politics has gotten — just yesterday, I was reading about people only wanting to date politically like-minded mates — that we immediately assume a sinister motive? As Franklin Harris noted on Twitter, politicians used to play nice in the aftermath of a crisis. Katrina was the exception, not the rule.
By all accounts, Christie is doing a fantastic job managing this crisis. Why should we be upset if he wants to throw some credit in the Feds’ direction? Especially if the reports that FEMA has learned from Katrina and is doing a better job are true?