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The Chris Christie-Andrew Cuomo bromance

No one who has been paying attention will be surprised by this story from Politico describing the warn relationship between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

Instead of jockeying for advantage, the two Northeastern governors — the Republican from blue-state New Jersey and the Democrat from bluer-state New York — have developed an unexpectedly warm working relationship over the past 18 months, marked by occasional dinners and more frequent cell phone contact, aides say. Not coincidentally, both also enjoy approval ratings at the 70-percent level, a novel, post-Hurricane Sandy occurrence for Christie and a nearly two-year constant for Cuomo.

Notice how the second sentence of this paragraph refutes the first. The development of the “warm relationship” looks, in part, like “jockeying for advantage,” at least in Christie’s case.

Actually, no one should be surprised by any of Christie’s bipartisan moves and gestures, although I think it’s reasonable for Republicans to be upset by his over-the-top embrace of President Obama on the eve of the presidential election. Throughout American political history, this sort of “pragmatism,” (or bending with the wind, if you prefer) has been the rule rather than the exception. In the Nineteenth Century, American politicians with significant longevity were more likely than not to end up in a different ideological place from where they started.

For better or for worse, we see somewhat less of it these days because the force of the national parties, and their commitment to a single ideology, has increased. But the national Republican Party holds little force in New Jersey, so clever Republican politicians like Chris Christie can be expected to respond accordingly.

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