Scott Raab in Esquire about the Christie story that's apparently knocking the voters dead in New Hampshire:
There's a story Chris Christie loves to tell about his mother on her deathbed, how he had flown to be by her side for her final moments of life, and how she shooed him back to work, telling him "there's nothing left unsaid between us."
It's touching, at least according to the journalists who've profiled Christie and who invariably cite this anecdote and characterize it as touching. I myself have heard him serve it up at a couple of his town halls, and I can attest to the fact that the crowds ate it up.
I was not touched, except by The People's endless hunger for bullshit. Any journalist who takes this fable at face value in order to make some self-evident point about Christie's skill as a candidate is either a putz or part of the long con. I've spent enough time around politicians to know that deep within each resides the soul of a siding salesman. The mama's-last-words bit reveals nothing about Christie that isn't entirely calibrated as theatre. It is a scripted performance, as were the many town hall shout-downs Christie's media people eagerly uploaded to YouTube before the Great Fort Lee Clusterfk.
Take a step back and think about Christie's mama and your own. Those few moments are the last you'll ever spend with her, and she's telling you to get back to the office, and you head out the door? I'm not disputing that this is what took place, mind you, and no doubt mother and son shared one moving last farewell, too; I'm just saying -- beyond the inherent absurdity of a politician pretending his stories are anything but a sales pitch -- that any son who leaves his mother's deathbed to head back to his job might be something of a lunatic.
The thought of Christie as more unhinged than most politicians crossed my mind several times back in 2010 and 2011 when we were trying to get access to him to profile him in Esquire. His size alone -- and I say this as a man who has himself flirted with morbid obesity -- revealed a man wrestling with appetites he couldn't control -- and losing. Same with his temper: Watching Christie snarling at schoolteachers to score style points as a straight shooter, I also saw a bully -- a predator unable to contain his loathing and anger.