Count me among the conservatives who’ve had more reservations about than admiration for Republican Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie for quite some time. A recent comment of his gives a good indication of why. In an article about Christie’s “risky bet on Trump is paying off”:
“How did I go from being an idiot 68 days ago to prescient 68 days later?” Christie asked mischievously last week.
I can’t speak for political professionals and people inside the patronage system, but outside that limited sphere, I don’t think anybody was saying Christie was an idiot. A cynical sell-out, yes, but that’s a different thing.
The idea of prescience matters. Christie’s negative observations of Donald Trump before he flipped to endorsing him might invalidate his self-description, now, but the key thing is what he’s claiming prescience about. Good for Christie if he foresaw Trump’s victory, but that’s separate from whether Trump will be a good president.
I don’t think Christie’s unique in this respect. It makes matters worse, though, that a world in which idiocy and prescience are valued mainly in picking people who’ll be able to help your political career is the world from which we pick our leaders.