It is against that backdrop that Governor Christie's response to the support New Jersey has received from President Obama and FEMA seems so striking.
Christie offered a fairly detailed assessment of conditions in the Garden State, including the fact that there have been three reported fatalities thus far. But when Lauer asked about the efficacy of the federal response, the governor said it's been "great," noting that he spoke directly to President Obama at midnight and FEMA again this morning. Christie said Obama "has been outstanding."But should we be surprised by this? People's lives and livelihoods are on the line. Of course a Governor is going to appreciate the support of the President and the federal government at a time like this. But the truth is - it hasn't always played out that way.
The governor made similar remarks on CBS, saying, "Cooperation from the president of the United States has been outstanding. He deserves great credit."
What's more, Christie told reporters yesterday that he'd spoken to Obama, "and he told me that if, at any point over the next 48 hours, I was not getting something from the federal government that I should call him directly at the White House and that he was going to be there. And I should just not worry about dealing with anybody else, call him. So I appreciate that call from the president. It was very proactive. And I appreciate that type of leadership."
And so we are a bit shocked when a Republican Governor expresses his appreciation for President Obama's support and assistance. We might naively hope that this kind of thing creates a "new normal" of what it means to govern in a way that actually serves the people. But like you - I'm not going to hold my breath. Perhaps the best we can hope for is that Governor Christie's response will blunt any attempt by Mitt Romney to try to play games with this one.