Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The Chris Christie-Madoff Attack Ad That Writes Itself

In their ever-widening search for somebody who is not Mitt Romney, conservatives are now souring on Rick Perry and turning their desperate, flailing hopes toward Chris Christie. For his part, Christie says he's not running (but Republicans note that he keeps acting the part).

But should the New Jersey governor decide to dive into the shallow end that is the GOP nomination race, here's a lesser known part of his past that might doom him in the general election.

Christie's failings with hard-right Republicans have been well documented. He favors "some of the gun-control measures." He has gone from denying climate-change to an admission that "climate change is real." Maybe most egregiously, he appointed a judge with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Also harmful, Christie is both a hippo and a RINO.

Yet, as I discovered while among Michele Bachmann's doomed followers, Christie is still the top name of many conservatives' "dream ticket." Yet, should he enter the race and get past the primary, his chances in the general election are dicey. And there's one particular incident in his past that's practically a gift-wrapped present to Democrats.

Before he was flying in state helicopters to his kid's baseball games, Christie was flying on private jets as part of the law firm Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, for whom, as a lobbyist, the future governor fought for the rights of Wall Street. In fact, one of Christie's primary lobbying projects on behalf of Wall Street was to win an exemption for securities fraud from New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act. For those Americans whose 401(k)s have been gouged in the last few years, that won't play well. (The only reason this wasn't much of an issue in his gubernatorial campaign was because his opponent was Jon Corzine, who sucked off Wall Street's teat with even more gusto than Christie.)

But it gets worse for Christie.

In a detail that practically writes its own commercial script, the Wall Street client on whose behalf Christie lobbied was the Securities Industry Association. Which, at that time, was led by one Mr. Bernard Madoff.

The bottom line for Obama's communication team: As a lobbyist, Chris Christie worked to remove securities fraud from a consumer fraud act on behalf of an organization run by Bernie Madoff.

It's exactly the kind of scandal that's easy to understand no matter who you are, involves a universally despised villain who has come to represent all the illegality of the 2008 market collapse, and it would be devastating to Christie in much-needed Florida.

Abe Sauer can be reached at abesauer at gmail dot com. He is on Twitter.

Photo by Debby Wong, via Shutterstock.

17 Comments / Post A Comment

Astigmatism (#1,950)


Not yet!

Ham Snadwich (#11,842)

@Astigmatism Seriously, if you blow your load too soon you'll have nothing left when he actually enters the race.

HiredGoons (#603)

Also: from New Jersey.

Aatom (#74)

@HiredGoons Try to resist the low-hanging coglioni.

Mr. B (#10,093)

Among the many things I love about The Awl is its willingness to make Chris Christie fat jokes early and often.

dado (#102)

Fat and Skinny had a race
All around the pillow case
Fat fell down and broke his face
And Skinny won the race.

Or so it's been written.

JoshUng (#11,371)

Fat jokes. Fat jokes are the ad that write themselves, as evidenced by the lack of cleverness that has entered the public space since his entrance into the governor's race.

Why Christie isn't the "dream ticket" the GOP wants is the same reason any northeast republican never seems to be "their guy," they have to adapt a number of "left" ideas to have a shot. NE GOPers are not "real GOP" in the eyes of the rest of the country.

Ham Snadwich (#11,842)

@JoshUng Mostly I agree, but I did see an article that referred to him as "Chris Christie (R – Sandwich)" that made me laugh.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Executive and legislative offices should be chosen by lottery from a pool of people who pass a civil service exam. Elected office should be treated like jury duty, basically.

Judicial offices should be recognized as a form of punishment.

Well, that's three shoulds for me today. Time to pipe down!

Bean (#115,019)

Regarding hippos…

Over the last few years I've managed to shed about 170 pounds. As I adjust to life among the human race, I've *really* started to notice fat people in the world. I was SO used to being the biggest person in the room that seeing other fat people didn't really bother me. Now, they're freaking EVERYWHERE.

My point is as the rest of America heads in Christie's direction on the scale, his size is going to become less and less of a hindrance. We're becoming those fat people from Wall-E. Why not have a president that looks like one.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@Bean While this seems logical, the exact opposite appears to be true. If that theory were true, one would expect to see more and more "fat" people in our entertainment. While there may be a few more, by no means is it equal to the population. Just look at Fox News, as the FN viewership gets fatter and fatter, its anchors become more and more modelesque.

swampette (#19,696)

Well someone already made my Wall-E reference, so I'm going back to bed. I don't know that the Madoff-hatred-gut-reaction actually occurs outside of Florida and the northeast. Because if you personally know a Madoff victim, you know a [once] actually very rich person, not like an "I own the McDonald's AND the Dairy Queen in town" rich person. (A quick scan suggests the victimized charities were confined to a particular geography and demographic as well.) But everybody knows a teacher or other government worker getting rich off the taxpayer teat, basically stealing money OUT OF YOUR VERY OWN POCKET. Which is to say that I think Christie's taking on the unions far outweighs (no pun intended) the Madoff problem, at least as far the GOP base is concerned.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@swampette That is three times as much reason as many voters will put into analyzing such a comparison. For one, the very point will force Christie to address it and admit he was a lobbyist for Wall Street, one of the most hated orgs in the US right now (He also lobbied for such stand up organizations as the now-under-investigation Univ. of Phoenix). But more to the Madoff point: Christie doesn't need to what hurts him with the GOP base (in the general anyway). He needs to get the few swing voters like my grandma who hears things like this and immediately forms an opinion (see, also, Swift Boats vets for truth).

swampette (#19,696)

@Abe Sauer In the general – yes. I can already see the grainy B&W ad. In the Iowa Caucuses, though, I think it goes something like, "Madoff? Eh. Unions? BAD. Christie? GOOD." How's that for lack of reason?

SeanP (#4,058)

@swampette Viewing the situation somewhat at a distance here (Christie's activities haven't so far gotten a lot of play in Virginia), so take this with something of a grain of salt. But it seems to me that Christie's a very prickly guy who gets even more prickly when challenged in any way… and that plays pretty badly with the public. You can get away with it when you're running for governor. But in the spotlight of a national election, the first tantrum he throws is going to screw him up big time.

This problem is compounded by the fact that Christie is a big guy. Fairly or not, Americans judge fat people harshly, and even more so when said fat person doesn't conform to the "jolly" stereotype.

GailPink (#9,712)

Happiest News I've Read All Day!

street (#156,878)

governor kirspy kreme of new jersey says he puts money to into education what a lie this is after the court made him put money back after he wanted to take it out. governor kirspy kreme cut out money from medicad and left thousands of uninsured people throughout the state. i guess he should eat his donuts.

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