USA | Ett säkert tecken på någon funderar på att ställa upp i presidentvalet är när de plötsligt börjar tillbringa mer tid i Iowa än nödvändigt.
Republikanen Chris Christie är en av dessa politiker. Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent på The New York Times Magazine, har följt New Jerseys guvernör på något som liknar en gryende valkampanj.
“Am I willing to put up with what might happen if I win? frågar sig Christie vid ett tillfälle. “Losing isn’t the problem,” blir svaret. “Winning is the problem.”
Här är ett utdrag från Leibovichs artikel:
There are, in the public’s imagination, two competing notions of Chris Christie. In the first, he is a cravenly ambitious Everyman, a restless former lawyer and local officeholder who, through his law partner, became a major fund-raiser for George W. Bush and was named his campaign lawyer for New Jersey. This led to Christie’s appointment as United States attorney for the state, a post that, thanks to scores of high-profile cases involving corrupt politicians, propelled him to an unlikely victory over the incumbent governor, Jon Corzine, in 2009. In this vision of Christie, his love of the media spotlight is nearly Kardashianesque.
In the other persona, Christie is a cartoonish bully and a classic embodiment of New Jersey’s brawny ethnic politics. The state’s best-known national politicians have tended to be sober cerebral people in the tradition of Bill Bradley, Tom Kean and even Woodrow Wilson, but Christie seems to better resemble his state’s pop-culture powder kegs instead: that is, the Tony Sopranos, the Snookis and the Cake Bosses. In this vision of his character, Christie is an oversize figure of little substance, one whom Richard Ford recently referred to as the “candied-yam of a governor.”
In person, Christie defies both of these caricatures. Obscured by the ambition, loose-cannon personality and, frankly, the girth, is the fact that he is an exceptionally gifted and nuanced politician. He has a preternatural talent for appearing blunt and insistent when he is being cute and obfuscating. He is also a savvy tactician. If Barack Obama were not a politician, you could imagine him being a law professor; Mitt Romney would be in business. If Christie were not a politician, he would be perfectly exhilarated to work as a political operative.
He speaks in the clipped shorthand of the campaign managers, lobbyists and political pros who operate in state and national capitals. There is a cynical expression you hear around Washington, especially in lobbying circles, that someone “gets the joke”: They know the purpose of every situation and they know the angles, they know what people are doing and trying to do and they know how to do all this without looking as if they’re doing it. At that first meeting, Christie did not agree to be interviewed, but neither did he seem displeased when I suggested that I would be following him around through the summer and fall. Christie absolutely gets the joke.
There is a theory in presidential politics that electorates will gravitate to the candidate who represents the biggest departure from the incumbent, especially if they have grown weary of that incumbent. “That’s the argument people make to me about why I should run,” Christie told me during one of our conversations. “They’re like: ‘No one could be more the opposite of Barack Obama from a personality standpoint than you. Therefore, you’re perfect.’ ” Yet one of the more compelling aspects of a Christie candidacy would be his ability to start an overdue fight within his own party.
“Christie’s strength is that people think he is being straight with them,” said Tom Kean, a former New Jersey governor and one of Christie’s political mentors. “If he kowtows to anyone, and people stop believing that he’s saying what he means, he’s going to kill the brand.”
Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 23 november 2014.