Chris Christie: political stud, popular dud
If there is one thing Chris Christie does well, it's selling out. Whether to big business or to pig farmers, Christie is willing to do anything it takes to fund his flailing 2016 presidential bid.
Christie made this abundantly clear last week with his ruling in New Jersey's case against Exxon Mobil. Originally filed in 2004, the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection was suing over the loss of "1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in Northern New Jersey." The case had been heard by three governors before Christie made his decision. The state was originally asking for $8.9 billion in damages, but the final settlement came out to just $250 million.
While that number may seem criminally low, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for Christie's decision: money. According to the International Business Times, Exxon Mobil has donated $1.9 million since Christie's first gubernatorial campaign. This all may seem illegal, but Christie is well within his rights to protect the oil giant and his future donations.
This is not the first time Christie sacrificed his approval rating in order to gain political favor. Just last year, Christie made the controversial decision to veto a bill that would prevent farmers from housing pigs in gestation crates, even though it had almost universal support from the state Legislature and the people of New Jersey. It's a mystery why Christie would go directly against the people living in his home state.
The answer lies in Iowa, home of the nation's first caucus and a large portion of the nation's pigs. Christie voted against the interests of his own people (and pigs) in an attempt to gain favor in the Iowa caucus and inch himself forward in the political world.
While Christie continues to make his decisions with political gain in mind, public opinion of the governor has slowly begun to shift. Once considered the front runner for the Republican nomination, Christie's approval rating has dropped with each controversial decision. Christie has even started to lose support in his own state. Currently, his job approval rating has sunk to 42 percent, an all-time low for the New Jersey governor. Given his mediocre standing in his own state, it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine Christie winning the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency.
With enormous donations already being made, the 2016 presidential election is projected to be the most expensive election in our nation's history and no one knows this more than Christie. Since announcing his campaign, he has made it crystal clear that he is willing do anything to gain the nomination. All of these tactics are proving counterproductive to Christie's end goal.
If the governor is serious about being president, he must put aside the political games and focus on improving his public image. If he doesn't, Christie will continue to be portrayed as just another corporate shill, devoid of any real moral fortitude. And ultimately, his presidential aspirations will fade into the background.
Reach the columnist at Alec.Grafil@asu.edu or follow @AlecGrafil on Twitter.
Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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