In one of my favorite “Simpsons” episodes, Lisa becomes a vegetarian and decides to sabotage a barbecue hosted by Homer and Bart. She hijacks their grill and sends lunch on a wild ride, as Homer and Bart chase after it, hoping their food can be salvaged.
When lunch rolls into the street, Homer says, “It’s just a little dirty! It’s still good, it’s still good!” When lunch lands in a river, Homer says, “It’s just a little slimy! It’s still good, it’s still good!” When lunch gets stuck in a dam before water pressure launches it into the sky, Homer says, “It’s just a little airborne! It’s still good, it’s still good!”
Bart, resigned to defeat, tells his father, “It’s gone.” Homer, crestfallen, replies, “I know.”
I think about the scene whenever New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) presidential ambitions come up. As the Republican’s odds of national success roll downhill, just like the Simpsons’ family barbecue, Christie’s admirers say of his campaign’s prospects, “It’s just a few criminal indictments! It’s still good, it’s still good!”
As the Garden State’s fiscal conditions deteriorate, thy say, “It’s just a few debt downgrades! It’s still good, it’s still good!” As the governor’s electoral support collapses, they proclaim, “It’s just a few polls! It’s still good, it’s still good!”
As Simon Maloy noted yesterday, the next “Christie comeback” always seems to be right around the corner – though it never arrives.
The Christie Comeback! If it feels like we’ve been predicting and discussing Chris Christie’s imminent political rebirth for a long time, that’s because we have. All that’s been missing has been the actual comeback. Christie’s 2016 primary numbers have steadily eroded from their November 2013 high of 15 percent to his current five percent share. His approval rating in New Jersey has also collapsed to a record low 35 percent. The New Jersey economy is stumbling along, Christie’s paths to victory in early primary states remain highly questionable, and even his own state party is starting to turn on him. But when each new “Christie Comeback” flames out, there seems to be a new one ready to step up and take its place.
What’s missing is someone to play the role of Bart, conceding, “It’s gone.”
In fact, many appear far more eager to play Homer’s role. Just two days ago, George Will appeared on Fox News to reflect on the devastating David Wildstein revelations. Referring to the Christie aide’s guilty plea and the nine-count criminal indictment against two other gubernatorial aides, Will said, “It could have been a bad day for Mr. Christie. It wasn’t.”
Politico added, “Those close to the governor believe the airing of the charges gives Christie, who saw his meteoric political rise halted by the scandal, the chance to get his derailed presidential campaign back on track.”
They didn’t literally say, “It’s still good, it’s still good!” but they might as well have.