Chris Christie’s Cowboy love

Gov. Chris Christie won’t be needing that tux as his team – the Cowboys – takes on the Packers.

Gov. Chris Christie won’t be needing that tux as his team – the Cowboys – takes on the Packers.

The reemergence of the Dallas Cowboys – who play the Green Bay Packers today for the right to move on to the NFC Championship game next weekend – created some unforeseen levity once viewers spied Gov. Chris Christie hugging Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones after the team’s victory over the Detroit Lions.

“Spied” might be the wrong word. Gov. Krispy Kreme was sporting an orange sweater for the occasion, and let’s just say that orange isn’t always the new black. Indeed, though Christie described himself as a high school athlete at the time of Bridge-gate – to distinguish himself, I guess, from those “loser” henchmen who took the fall for the George Washington traffic scandal – his moment with Jones resembled nothing so much as the chubby kid trying to hang with the cool jocks. Altogether now singsong “Awk-ward.”

Christie – who has taken a lot of heat for his Cowboys’ allegiance – has been characteristically unbowed, leading the puckish New York Times columnist Gail Collins to remark that it’s “certainly the tough-talking, self-assured Chris Christie that all of us have come to know and, um, know.” 

The real problem here is not that a New Jersey governor likes a Dallas team – that would hardly matter in a national election – but that the Cowboys own a company that was recently awarded a contract at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, overseen by Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Even though Christie says the seeds for that were sewn long ago, the very semblance of political impropriety is as bad as any impropriety itself.

As for Christie’s Cowboy love, who cares? Lots of people root for teams outside their municipalities. Much of it has to do with the teams you grew up with. Of course, lots of people aren’t governors/chief cheerleaders of a state.

The Christie situation reminds me of all the criticism that’s been leveled at Kurt Warner, former Rams’ and Cardinals’ star, for working with 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick during the off-season. People, Warner’s a consultant. You take clients where you find them.

It also suggests what my favorite British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, once said: “There are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.”