Does anybody remember the time when Georges W. Bush was “the guy you wanna have a beer with”? That was in 2000 and 2004. Back then the claim was very fashionable, and a journalist, Radio or TV commentator wouldn’t be considered part of the elite punditry if he or she doesn’t adopt that narrative in making a judgment about then presidential candidate, and four years later incumbent president Bush chances of being elected.
We know what happened. President Bush got elected and re-elected, and after his presidency turned out to be what most American would rather not be reminded of, the beer buddy narrative became a laughing matter among the so called pundits and slowly went dead.
History seems to repeat itself with the rise – I would say the manufacturing of a new character, Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey. Darling of the Tea Party, he launched a crusade against the teachers union and the state government employees whom he constantly paints as costly and inefficient. He is known for constantly ranting against those bodies and the Federal Government, which he blames even for his own personal mistakes. A few months ago for instance, the State of New Jersey missed billions in funding due to a gross mistake made by the administration of Governor Christie. In the midst of that controversy he forced his State Education commissioner to resign, and blamed some “Washington bureaucrats” for his administration shortcoming.
What was the media reaction? They reported his spins as gutsy instead of pointing out his arrogance and incompetence. He continued to be referred to as someone who is not a politician, which is one of the most idiotic statements in US politics. Even more remarkable, I heard a few weeks ago Joe Scarborough in his program Morning Joe say that Governor Christie should be on every republican candidate short list for Vice-President in 2012; last Thursday, Mike Barnicle, from the same program stated with a straight face that Christie is becoming “someone you wanna have a coffee with”. And I wondered what happened to the beer. Did Barnicle substitute coffee for beer because he was embarrassed by the George Bush debacle? Don’t they realize that the Presidency, and any elected office for that matter, should be decided by something more serious than the coolness of a candidate, by a rigorous vetting rather than some imaginary beer or coffee drinking sessions? Let’s hope that this time the American people show due diligence.