Why Winter Storm Jonas is Chris Christie’s Missed Opportunity

Why Winter Storm Jonas is Chris Christie’s Missed Opportunity

Rachel CohenMonday,25 January 2016

Here in New York we’re sitting in our ice locker after this weekend’s winter storm (or Jonas or #snowpocalypse or whatever). I’ve been through enough of them to know that the forecast a day before the storm means nothing. Many a cancellation has been implemented only for us to get a few flurries. So when I saw the early reports, I didn’t do much to prepare. Okay, I ordered 10 pounds of Chinese food, but you know, it was the weekend.

You know who didn’t need to be so blasé? Chris “Mother of Sandwiches” Christie.

This was his moment! When he showed up in his oversize fleece admonishing Mother Nature and fighting for his state before, during, and after 2012’s Hurricane Sandy he gained the favor of millions in the tri-state area and beyond. He hung out with Obama, and both Democrats and Republicans in the Garden State happily reelected him. He was a guy who could get things done.

Christie’s fall-2015 ad campaign referenced his post-storm actions. As it should have! 2012 was Christie’s moment – he had bipartisan support, and was able to navigate the line between common man hero and confident figurehead that oh so many politicians are in search of. Not only that, but he served his constituents well, and proved he had the potential to govern effectively.

So why, with Christie holding on at a dismal 3% in a recent Fox News poll, would he not pull out the – yes, I’m going to say it – big guns? This was his time to be back in the spotlight, not New Hampshire, and his opportunity to adorn his giant fleece to remind voters of his greatest moment. Again, he also could have shown that he deeply cares about the people who elect him.

Instead, he waited. For whatever reason, Christie and his team saw being on the ground in New Hampshire as more important than immediately returning to his home state, threatened yet again by another potentially destructive storm. He held this position until Friday, when in an abrupt about-face he apologized to New Hampshire, via tweet, of course:

 I’m sorry, NH but I gotta go home – we got snow coming. #Jonas

Chris Christie is the high-schooler who has to leave the party because he has family coming into town, and not the hero returning to defend his valued home-state.

I’m not saying Christie needed to get into the hype of fear and destruction that usually precedes such weather events, but goddamn, even his response after the storm “We dodged a bullet” feels like a wasted opportunity. I’m sure the people in Ocean City or Stone Harbor didn’t feel like they were dodging any bullets when they started seeing their town flood, yet again.

The only people who dodged a bullet this weekend were Trump and Cruz. Even though they hold the GOP race pretty tightly, they are quickly coming apart at the seams, and Christie could have used the opportunity to put himself back in the conversation as a true leader of the people. Voters are looking for alternatives! A growing number of Republicans in New Hampshire are begging for anyone besides Trump, and current GOP politicians won’t get behind Cruz.

All Christie had to do was get on a plane, don his fleece, and defend New Jersey against Mother Nature as only he knows how to do. Instead, he kept his focus on the 3% he already had in his struggling Presidential bid, and likely lost any chance of making up ground.

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Image Credit: Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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