Why will C.C. survive this? Two words: Tom Kean, Sr. (is that two or three?).
Some things cannot possibly be overstated; among those is the regard with which Kean is held in the political/judicial establishments of the Garden State and beyond. Were Christie to achieve the presidency, his log cabin story would begin with the moment he knocked on Kean’s door as a 12? 14? year old–whatever–launching a relationship that endures after nearly half a century.
“Fake Huck Finn-ery is the real American boyhood,” wrote Garry Wills in his characteristically brutally incisive account of Ronnie Reagan.
Christie’s fake Huck Finnery entails his bogus Jersey toughness. The guy grew up in Livingston for God’s sakes; among his closest childhood pals was Harlan Coben the renowned mystery novelist (or is it detective stories? I’m not a big fiction guy).
Livingston is Philip Roth’s suburban Promised Land. This means that young Chris, Irish-Italian by inheritance, enjoyed some intimacy with the third person of Jersey’s white ethnic Holy Trinity. In that he’s not so unique: same thing went for me and millions like me of that era. But Tom Kean, Sr?
We Irish people long ago dubbed Kean and his fellow aristocrats “the old goyim.” Young Chris Christie knocked on Tom Kean’s door in Livingston and a political star was born: I caddied for decades for members of Kean’s family and friends at ‘the club’ in Bernardsville. It’s way too much to get into other than to suggest: Christie is the luckiest bastard in North America to have Tom Kean still in his corner after all the shit he’s pulled including a total betrayal of Tom Kean, Jr.
There’s too much going on here and last night when I wrote of such things as these, i failed to note what I learned from decades of caddying for these old, old money Republicans: their seeming aloofness toward their own masks a very profoundly deep kind of family loyalty that I could live for centuries without understanding. Kean, Sr., pretty much as I write, is saving Christie’s ass in a way that his own son, royally screwed just weeks ago by King Tubby, surely understands.
What I’m saying is: I know I’ve totally got Christie’s number by virtue of our common background but that doesn’t mean shit: he’s got Tom Kean in his corner and I’m still basically jes’ a caddy to those folk, albeit a caddy who continued to hustle loops at the club while serving as a junior faculty member at Yale. To the guys at the club that made perfect sense as it was obvious I was on a separate trajectory from the likes of Chris Christie.
There are some real good stories here though, beginning with my warm caddy-client relationship with Webster and Eleanor Schley Todd, parents of Christine Todd Whitman and two of the warmest, kindest, and most engaging humans I’ve ever met. Christie Whitman’s mom shoulda been the first female president of the U.S.; that’s how gifted she was. Chris Christie hitched his wagon to this remarkably intriguing cohort of Anglos, and right now they’re busy saving his sorry Irish ass. Here’s looking at you and yours, big fella…and to your credit I know you’ve avoided our tribal original sin of knocking the Wasps and the Jews, without whom you’d be working in a back office somewhere in Jersey City
(originally posted on Facebook)