The Corner

Christie Sells Out. Sad!

So I was almost done with the Goldberg File when the news came out that Chris Christie has endorsed Donald Trump. I missed the press conference but caught some of Trump’s interminable rant carried for free by all the news networks.

A few thoughts:

1. If this isn’t a classic example of Bill Rusher’s rule that “politicians will always disappoint you,” I don’t know what is. Frankly I think Christie should be ashamed of himself. I could list a lot of reasons for that, but some of them would probably amount to me projecting my complaints about Trump onto Christie (about which subscribers to the G-File can read shortly).

So I’ll just give one based entirely on Christie’s terms. Christie spent a year telling the world that the entitlement crisis is the gravest threat to the future of the country (for instance, in the January 14 debate: “The reason why no one wants to answer entitlements up here is because it’s hard”). But the day after Trump insisted that we don’t need to touch entitlements and that we can balance the budget by finding “waste, fraud and abuse” and eliminating Common Core, Christie comes out and celebrates Trump as the guy the country needs. Christie boasted constantly about the need to tell the American people hard truths and he endorsed the guy who tells little more than easy lies. What a profile in courage.

2. This is good news for Trump. He’s lacked support from a major politician. Now he’s got that. He’s also got a useful attack dog in Christie, who will undoubtedly go around trying to replay his successful suicide attack on Rubio from the New Hampshire debate.

3. It’s also good for Trump because he got pantsed last night and this changes the storyline. This has always been the “genius” of the Trump campaign, as many have observed. The reason “genius” is in quotation marks is that Trump is mostly taking advantage of the media’s enabling. It’s a very similar advantage to Barack Obama’s in 2008. The media followed Obama’s lead out of infatuation and they follow Trump’s out of fascination. In neither case was the attention the result of some brilliant plan.

4. I suspect this means that if Trump wins the nomination, Christie will be on the short list to be his running mate. That might be smart, as it doubles down on the Trump brand — bogus as it may be — of “telling it like it is.” But it would also let Democrats quintuple-down on the notion that Republicans are bullies.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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