Posted by: JDM..... | January 14, 2014

Running the Gauntlet.….

on the way to 2016….

Like Rudy Giuliani of the post “9/11” decade, NJ Gov. Chris Christie is enjoying his own “fifteen minutes of fame” for providing a corona around his Hurricane Sandy responses. The Republicans took the rectal temperature of Public Opinion and immediately set about the business of grooming his persona with an eye towards the 2016 presidential election.

Just as quickly, the Democrats, and unaligned anti-Republicans, whipped out their Fine-Toothed-Combs and set about the business of mining for anything from misshapen dead skin cells to international sex scandals. It’s cumulative. The sooner they can pile up enough to make Christie smell a little too ripe for comfort, the sooner they can turn their attentions and faux passions to someone of their liking to beatify for 2016.

This is nothing new. Presidential aspirations come out of the closet and the first move of a pawn in the next round of political chess occur at the very moment a sitting president stands up to take the oath of office for his second term. Party affiliation has no bearing on the matter. Politics reminds of the mid-fifties when I tagged along with a pal as he did his weekly chore of cleaning a local horse stable for fifty cents. In addition to the requisite building of hay bale forts in the loft, we invariably engaged in brief but energetic skirmishes involving airborne shovelfuls of equine byproducts. The voting public thrives on this kind of behavior while feigning disgust, unlike our respective mothers, whose displeasures were clearly genuine.

The first volley of airborne political “stuff” ironically was launched on the rather thin ice of “political correctness” by attacking Christie’s girth. At the same time the word “fat” was being groomed by language managers as the next taboo “f-bomb” in the Age of Perceived Propriety (a vaudevillian form of communication), Christie was being enthusiastically caricatured as Dumbo the Republican by those whose primary objective for the next couple of years is to rain on all parades not of their own gestation. The rules of engagement for this quadrennial contest are both innumerable and vigorously ignored.

As a cartoonist, I cannot help but defend the Birthright of Caricature for unlimited levels of venomosity / hilarity because the underlying objective is to convey a message; to build a concept, perspective, or idea; to communicate with humor. Though “politics” is reputed to be the honorable process of practicing self government, it is, in practice, synonymous with character assassination and human demolition; to win by default by rendering any opponent impotent and / or toxic, rather than by promoting one’s own strategies for wise public administration and defense, etcetera.

To those ends, Gov. Christie has been firmly locked in the Democrats’ cross hairs. The “fat” man has now been splattered by “Bridgegate”, the ultimate impact, if any, to be determined more by the theater quotient of his responses than by any need for his detractors to transform the deftly fostered element of doubt by much theater of their own. Proof of complicity on any level would be neither the cake nor the icing, but simply sprinkles added for effect.

Additionally, political pedants from the counter-camp have raised questions about Christie’s alleged use of Hurricane Sandy disaster funds to put some juice into his reelection campaign.

It is an old but never tired or trite tactic of politicians and tabloid-style journalists alike to invoke the undeniable truism that “The best way to create a rumor is to deny that something is true”, thus putting the ones on the other side of the chess board in “check” by forcing them to prove their innocence.

Tit for tat has not yet made its inevitable significant and/or dramatic entrance because the Democrats, while enjoying the catbird seat for the present, have been preoccupied with looking for lipstick, bows, sequins, and Febreze to make Obamacare as pretty and stink-free as possible. Nevertheless, their turn is immanent.

Media snipers are, of course, ever-poised to pounce like trap-door spiders on any opportunity to stir up dust. Dust sells, not only for the media, but for the opponent of any player unfortunate enough to get caught with a finger up his nose or fixing his shorts while the cameras are on. If Christie survives this gauntlet, he may very well be a frontrunner for the final duel.


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