New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is rangy and fast, a sinewy specimen of manhood, a champion of physical fitness who said yesterday that he fears America might become a “paternalistic entitlement society” populated not by hard workers but by “a bunch of people sittin’ on a couch waiting for their next government check.” Cynics immediately accused Christie of pandering to anti-government wing nuts, but others think the governor, whose self-discipline is evident not only in his streamlined physique but also in his style of speech, was simply urging people to get off the couch, put on their walking shoes, and start racking up yardage on the road.
Christie’s remarks have sparked renewed hope for a Chris Christie 100-Yard Walk to mark the June 2011 day when the governor was flown by helicopter “from Trenton to Montvale [NJ] to watch his son Andrew play baseball in a state playoff game. Upon arrival next to the field, Christie was shuttled about 100 yards in a dark town car with tinted windows to the stands.” The governor apparently used this incident as an incentive to begin a conditioning program, and these days is said by unbiased sources to be weighing in at a lean and mean 320 pounds.
In his speech yesterday, Christie linked physical fitness and virtue when he said success in life depends on one’s “willingness to work hard and to act with honor and integrity…” Long-time Christie watchers believe the governor was referring in part to his years as a hard-working lobbyist who fought to keep Wall Street exempt from laws against securities fraud. Or to the fact that he worked so hard to “exaggerate” the potential cost of a train tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan that would have reduced traffic congestion and pollution.
Promoters of the 100-Yard Walk say they are optimistic that the governor will not only lend his name to the event but also permit them to stage it at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion in Princeton. Apparently, they are hoping to capitalize on the fact that Christie is, as his speech implied, a credible role model for those seeking both fitness and integrity. How could this event not be a success?