New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the semi-resurgent candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, came to Washington last week to address members of the Council on Foreign Relations (the organization known, at least to Senator Ted Cruz, as the “pit of vipers”). I caught up with Christie shortly before his speech for an extensive conversation about Iran, ISIS, the travails of the American Muslim community, and the nuances of ball-breaking. More on all four topics in a moment. Especially the last one.
I hadn’t seen Christie in a while, though he would occasionally text me from the trail: “Driving through Des Moines with Maria, listening to her favorite song ‘Drive all Night’ on E Street Radio,” he wrote in September. “This is livin’!” I awarded this particular text message three Pinocchios, because what he was describing could not, in fact, be called “livin’!” On the other hand, I do know that Maria Comella, Christie’s adviser, has, in the past, implausibly asserted that “Drive All Night,” which is pretty much no one’s favorite Springsteen song, is indeed her favorite Springsteen song. (“I swear I’ll drive all night just to buy you some shoes,” is substandard Boss.)
Christie and I are both middle-aged bridge-and-tunnel ethnics who share a Bruce obsession (I’ve written about Christie’s emotionally agonizing relationship with Springsteen before), and so, as you will see in the conversation below, we address each other with a kind of amiable contempt that is born of intense tribal familiarity. (Christie, as I have noted in the past, is the Placido Domingo of contempt. I am merely the Mario Lanza.)