New Yorker Profiles Chris Christie
The New Yorker has a long profile of Chris Christie, and it isn’t pretty — he bullied Joy Behar! — but the center of it may be his falling out with former N.J. Governor Thomas Kean:
Recently, Governor Kean, during a long interview in his office, in Far Hills, New Jersey, forty-five minutes west of Manhattan, told me that he has reconsidered his support of Christie. Kean is now seventy-eight years old; he served from 1982 to 1990 and is a revered figure in state politics. He became well known nationally when, in 2002, George W. Bush appointed him chairman of the 9/11 Commission, the widely praised investigation into the 2001 terrorist attacks. Kean is also arguably the most important political figure in Christie’s career. Christie was born in Newark in 1962, but, after race riots there in the summer of 1967, his parents moved to suburban Livingston, which, like Newark, is in Essex County, the most Democratic county in New Jersey. When Christie was fourteen years old, he heard Kean, who was then a member of the state legislature, speak at his junior high school. He told his mother that he wanted to become a politician; she drove him to Kean’s house and told him to knock on the legislator’s door.
Kean became Christie’s political mentor. … Christie worked on Kean’s gubernatorial campaigns, and in 2001, when Christie was nominated by Bush to be the United States Attorney for New Jersey, Kean wrote a letter validating his qualifications. When Christie ran for governor, in 2009, Kean told me, he was the first major figure to endorse him. “I campaigned with him a lot, and raised money for him,” he said. On Election Night last November, Kean spent time with Christie and his family before his victory speech, which was nationally televised. But they hadn’t spoken since that evening. Christie has a way of distancing allies, and he and Kean have had a falling out.
“He doesn’t always try to persuade you with reason,” Kean said. “He makes you feel that your life’s going to be very unhappy if you don’t do what he says.” He added that one of Christie’s flaws “is that he makes enemies and keeps them. As long as you’re riding high, they’ll stay in the weeds, because they don’t want to get in your way. But you get in trouble, they’ll all come out of the weeds, and come at you.” Although I didn’t ask, Kean told me that if Christie ran for President he wouldn’t necessarily endorse him. “I haven’t decided whether I’m going to support him or not,” Kean said. “There are a lot of people I don’t know that well”—he mentioned John Kasich, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush, among other potential 2016 Republican Presidential nominees—“and I’d like to get to know them better.”
John Cassidy, also of the New Yorker, comments: “By the time you get to the end of it, I bet you’ll find yourself asking the same question I did: How could we ever have taken this bully seriously as a Presidential candidate?”