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Andy Ostroy Headshot

An Open Letter to Gov. Chris Christie

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When I witnessed how you handled the post-Hurricane Sandy devastation in your state, and in particular how closely you worked with President Obama on disaster recovery and relief, several thoughts came to mind: (1) here's a truly effective governor reacting to a crisis; (2) here's a prominent Republican putting aside party politics for the good of his state's residents; (3) here's a guy who's his own man and doesn't care what the GOP elite thinks; and (4) all of which is exactly why so many people like and respect you.

Then came Rupert Murdoch's November 3 tweet: "...Now Christie, while thanking O, must re- declare for Romney, or take blame for next four dire years." And as the New York Times reported Tuesday, you've been taking it on the chin ever since from party leaders, fellow governors and large donors who, like Murdoch, hold you partly responsible for Obama's victory over Mitt Romney.

At a time when the nation is recovering from the most brutal presidential election in history and years of unprecedented partisan vitriol, and while your state, as well as several parts of New York, are still suffering the horrific impact of the storm, it's an utter shame that you have to expend any time whatsoever on further explaining your motivations and behavior during a time of catastrophic destruction.

Furthermore, given the results of the election and in particular your party's humiliating defeat in all of the critical swing states, it seems terribly counterintuitive for Republicans to be pounding the partisan drum in your ear. What the election clearly demonstrated is that Americans are fed up with the bickering in Washington and the virtual deadlock it's created. Voters affirmed their desire to elect leaders who've demonstrated that they can reach across the proverbial aisle and get the job done. They want politicians who can enact meaningful legislation to grow the economy and provide funding for healthcare, education and clean energy while addressing immigration and protecting and preserving Social Security and Medicare. They also made it clear that they want politicians out of their personal lives... especially where it involves marriage, contraception and religion.

To be sure, the Republican Party, with its radical, intolerant, unyielding, stubborn base, is headed off a cliff unless it heeds the loud warning voters sent it on November 6th. Regardless, and more important, it is politicians like yourself who are your party's future. Men and women who can return Washington to the days when Democrats and Republicans disagreed, discussed, compromised, legislated, shook hands, had a drink together and then came back to the Hill the next day to do it all over again.

What you did during and after the storm was demonstrate true leadership, class and rarely seen political gravitas. Voters will remember that showing of solidarity with your fellow New Jerseyans and your president, whose response to the storm you hailed as "outstanding," "incredibly supportive" and deserving "great credit." In 2016 should you decide to run for president, you'll surely be able to tap that well of goodwill and capital. As for now, let the sore-losing, tone-deaf party crazies whine all they want about how you "sold them out" or became an "Obama surrogate." They're dinosaurs headed for extinction.