Here’s something I don’t know that I ever expected to see myself write: Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, sounded like the voice of reason in a recent book-stumping appearance on The Daily Show.
Now, before we all get too carried away, let’s set the bar as it now stands: perhaps you missed the news out of Dallas this month. Based on the number of my friends who did, it appears to have been a sideline rather than a headline and really, why not? Hundreds — not a couple, not 10, but hundreds of adherents of however you want to refer to QAnon (conspiracy theory, looney tunes, arm of the Republican party) gathered in Dealey Plaza.
This might have been on Election Day; otherwise it was some day that didn’t appear to have any numerical resonance. These hundreds gathered where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated (on Nov. 22, 1963), a happening that has given rise to numerous conspiracy theories of its own, one of which (as spread by the current leader of the Republican party) involves Senator Ted Cruz’ father.
These hundreds were gathered at the assassination site kind of like the scientists at Devil’s Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which was, I should remind you, a fictional movie.They were waiting for a momentous event to which we have been leading up for quite some time now, apparently: John F. Kennedy Jr., every bit as dead as his late father, was going to emerge triumphant from whatever shadows exist on the plaza to great acclaim from this very right-wing crowd. Some further felt a 104-year-old JFK would join the gathering as well.
Now, I’m not 100 percent clear (can you blame me?) on what was to happen next: perhaps the recently-reluctantly-retired president was going to emerge from other shadows (I had no idea this was such a dark place) to join hands with JKF Jr., who I think automatically, by this action, instantly became the vice president of the United States, and then this triumphant pair was going to levitate, or perhaps board Air Force One, or I’m not sure what, and return to Washington, D.C., to restore this country to the glory it was only beginning to grasp when 81 million Biden voters, 60-plus judges and even one bamboo-fiber-seeking audit yanked that gold-plated rug out from under a puny human who thinks what he sees on TV is reality.
I’m not sure what sort of governance we were going to expect from this pair who would likely be hard-pressed to agree on the time of day, let alone policy (one of the two understood what “policy” is; the other hasn’t a clue), but to our — certainly my — immense surprise, JFK Jr. never did appear out of the dim recesses. These folks, most of these hundreds, waited several hours, but for some reason this didn’t happen.
So then it turned out the “reunion” was going to take place — I kid you not — at a Rolling Stones concert that night. And maybe it did, for one or two drug-addled concert-goers, but for the rest of us, it just didn’t come to pass. And it further didn’t come to pass, not even after many of these lingering hundreds returned to the plaza a day or two later and stood in the shape of a Q. Now someone who isn’t Q but some sort of highly-placed acolyte is offering a patch of property somewhere in Dallas, because so many of these folks decided there was no reason to return home and every reason to remain in Dallas. The story isn’t even making the sidelines anymore, the merriment having faded, so I can’t tell you how many have taken up residence in this beginning of a cult waiting for the mothership.
So how do we get from here to Chris Christie? Sadly, it’s a fairly straight line, and it leads right through Congress, including the representative of my congressional district, who probably wasn’t in Dallas but who, as an adherent of other QAnon “philosophies” may believe that JFK Jr. is out there, dangling tantalizingly just out of reach.
There is no more truth to his aliveness than there is to the big windy that the national election was stolen, by Gypsies or illegal immigrants or corrupt socialists or simply by a whole lot of people who either voted for Joe Biden or against the incumbent. This happens from time to time, and it’s what happened, but there are a whole lot of people out there, a discouraging number really, who would rather believe what one narcissist with a god complex says. It is just that: a belief, nothing more. Certainly not reality.
Which is what so many of us have been waiting for any Republican to say. A couple of them have, in Adam Kinziger and Liz Cheney. And what has become of them? Kinziger got re-districted out of his seat, and Cheney has been disavowed by the Wyoming Republican party on a 31-29 vote. They both remain in Congress for another year and change, and both are continuing their important work on the Jan. 6 commission, but their own party seems hell-bent on de-commissioning these stalwarts of conservatism.
[And not just them: After the North Carolina legislature carefully gerrymandered a new district specifically to give a long-time party member a smooth slide into Congress, Madison Cawthorn, who had also been given a safe district, announced his intent to move into the new district to displace this RINO.]
So when Chris Christie breezed onto Trevor Noah’s show to promote his book, it was like a breath of fresh air. Gov. Christie, himself not that long ago an adherent of reality TV stars, just flat out said: the election is over, it was won fair and square by Joe Biden, we have to stop litigating the past and look to the future.
Right there, I had an epiphany: if — and I can’t stress enough how big this “if” really is — Republicans went back to embracing reality and reclaimed some portion of a platform literally completely abandoned in exchange for one that said “loyalty to the cult and its leader who won’t return any to us,” Democrats would probably be so profoundly grateful that Republicans would be able to enact far more of their agenda than they ever thought.
I keep hearing, and Gov. Christie said he gets this all the time, too, about how the Republican halls of Congress are filled with whispered appreciation for Reps. Cheney and Kinziger for their moral stance. Make no mistake: most of the delegation, except the ones who are friends with Q, know there was nothing approaching widespread election fraud and that what took place on Jan. 6 was sedition.
But when you’ve got Marjorie Taylor Greene turning her space lasers on her fellow Republicans for the traitorous act of voting for infrastructure that will benefit all Americans, including the crazy ones, you have to wonder how low the Grand Old Party is going to sink before it either starts swimming on its own or latches onto Gov. Christie as a flotation device.
He told Trevor Noah he didn’t know yet if he was going to run for president three years hence, but he said he didn’t care who else is in the race. If you think you’re the most qualified person for the position, then you run, he said, adding off-handedly that it’s almost disqualifying if you plan to bow out because someone “better” decides he’d like to improve on his record of already losing the popular vote twice.
So rise, Chris Christie, rise: someone needs to succeed in delivering this message. Others have made these feints before. Can Gov. Christie make it stick? I guess we wait and see.
It’s 18 minutes, but I thought it was a good conversation.