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  • Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets President Barack Obama Oct. 31 as he arrived to see the destruction left by Hurricane Sandy.

  • Bruce Maiman writes regularly for The Bee.

Op Images: Meeting of Obama, Christie revealed best and worst of politics

Published: Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 5E

After months of bitter campaigning and years of increasingly divisive politics, this photo came along at just the right time to symbolize what politics should actually be.

This greeting on the tarmac in Atlantic City between two chief executives, their tour of a New Jersey coastline shattered by superstorm Sandy, and their effusive praise for one another as they consoled countless residents exemplifies the best of leadership in the worst of times, when disaster supersedes turf wars to remind us that we are bound together to look out for one another.

But the moment would subsequently deliver the worst in us: brackish partisans appalled at the sight of bipartisanship. Fox News titan Rupert Murdoch tweeted that Gov. Chris Christie "must re-declare for Romney, or take blame for next four dire years."

And when Mitt Romney lost his bid for the presidency, in the minds of many, it was because a Republican governor embraced a Democratic president.

"It is unlikely Republicans shall soon forget your perfidious betrayal," wrote one pundit, who, like others, couldn't resist also breaking out the fat jokes usually reserved for Michael Moore.

Seriously? Facing a statewide disaster, millions displaced, billions in damages, turning away the president would've made the governor a better Republican?

This, from the party that famously stresses the need for accountability and responsibility, yet cannot concede that their candidate simply wasn't good enough.

You might as well blame the referees when you lose by 30 points. If that campaign was hinging on Christie, the Republicans should've run Christie.

Isn't bipartisanship what politicians are supposed to do? People needed help; what was wrong with helping them? When is the political scum in our national discourse going to realize that doing the right thing is pretty good politics?

This photo represents everything we could be but reveals everything that we are. We truly are not very well behaved when we don't get what we want.

Christie may be getting the last laugh. A recent Quinnipiac University poll gives him a whopping 72 percent approval rating – in a "blue" state – as he begins a run for a second term, and maybe bigger things.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Bruce Maiman



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