Chris Christie’s quixotic quest to talk sense to Republicans

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You rarely see the names Chris Christie and Kris Kristofferson in the same sentence, but some of the songwriter’s most famous lyrics best describe the quixotic candidate’s current shtick:

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”

Christie’s attempt to talk sense to grassroots Republicans is obviously doomed to fail, because Duh Base is armored against anyone who dares utter self-evident truths about its fascist cult leader. If as expected he loses big in his chosen battleground, the impending New Hampshire primary, his candidacy will have the life span of a fruit fly.

Wait, I’ll amend that. A fruit fly can live 50 days.

Given the futility of his quest, Christie clearly decided that his best option in the final GOP undercard debate of 2023 was to just cut loose and take no prisoners. And maybe, just maybe, his message can make a difference in the long run – not with the cult, but with the general electorate.

The other three folks on stage – faux-surging Nikki Haley, floundering Ron DeSantis, and feral twit Vivek Ramaswamy – were, as usual, terrified of taking on the guy who’ll spend much of the 2024 campaign in courtrooms.

But Christie went there, to the max.

“The truth needs to be spoken: (Trump) is unfit,” Christie said. “This is a guy who just said this past week that he wants to use the Department of Justice to go after his enemies when he gets in there. And the fact of the matter is, he is unfit to be president. And there is no bigger issue in this race.”

“There’s no mystery about what (Trump) wants to do,” Christie added. “He started off this campaign by saying ‘I am your retribution.’ This is an angry, bitter man who now wants to be back as president because he wants to exact retribution on anyone who has disagreed with him. Anyone who has tried to hold him to account for his own conduct.”

If given more time, Christie may well have shamed his rivals by sharing the latest news: In Nevada this week, a grand jury indicted six MAGAts who posed as fake electors in 2020 and filed fake electoral votes in a bid to overturn Joe Biden’s statewide win. The indictees include the chair and vice chair of the Nevada Republican Party. (Georgia and Michigan have also charged fake electors with crimes.) Also, in Wisconsin, ten fake electors settled a civil lawsuit by admitting that their fake electoral votes were “part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results.”

The best part of the debate was when Christie challenged his rivals to denounce Trump and stand up for American democracy. They wouldn’t do it. Duh Base requires them to be spinelessly quiescent, and so they were. DeSantis did manage to get his mouth to move with a few words about Trump maybe being too old, but Christie jeered, “Ron, is he fit or not? He won’t answer…He is afraid to answer. Either you are afraid or you are not listening. Is he fit or isn’t he?”

Indeed, Christie said at the close of the debate, “I want you all to kind of picture in your mind Election Day. You’ll be heading to the polls to vote and that is something Donald Trump will not be able to do because he will be convicted of felonies before then, and his right to vote will be taken away.”

It’s amazing that so few people are making that case. The Republican cult may think it’s no big deal to run a convicted felon for president – convicted, quite likely, in the federal coup case slated for a March trial in Washington – but how would that play with independent swing voters and the grassroots Democrats who are currently whining about Biden but who’d be highly motivated to save democracy when the chips are down?

For sharing that message alone, Christie belongs on the stump. He knows it’s useless to talk sense to the cult, so he’s playing the long game. With nothing left to lose, he’s rightly telling the rest of us that if the likely felon is re-hired next November, we as a nation will have everything to lose.

Copyright 2023 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at [email protected]