MANASQUAN – Just above the beach, two guys lay on the rocks by the inlet here wondering what to ask Gov. Chris Christie.
“Are you guys spear fishermen or surfers?” someone asked.
“Both,” was the reply.
Fluke. Triggers. Blues.
“Dude,” one of the two asked a stranger, “do you think the governor would be offended if I called him ‘El Presidente?'”
“Not likely. He’d probably like it.”
The stranger asked one of the guys if he would like Christie to run for president.
“Yeah, I want him to run, because, dude, we need strong leadership in the world. I mean, look at Syria. That’s not cool, dude.”
Some IBEW and CWA workers had mobilized on the inlet walkway and readied their signs as the dark-colored SUV rolled up and a blue T-shirted figure alighted and began shaking the hands of people gathered to see the governor at this spot cherished by surfers who describe the inlet as “magical.”
“Why aren’t the beaches free in New Jersey? That’s what I’m going to ask El Presidente.”
“He’ll probably tell you it’s a local issue, but if you ask him in the context of government deregulation, maybe he’ll take a swing at it.”
The governor had been delayed over an hour before he arrived here at this next leg of his Jersey Shore promotion tour, lambasted by critics as an 11th hour summer shot by a governor who spent his vacation somewhere in the land-locked confines of the western United States and whose red tape review commission, they argue, is little more than an opportunity for developers to go ape on the environment.
“I guess he doesn’t love Manasquan,” griped one man, but a young woman in a bikini and jean cut offs, Crazy Cindy they called her, heading down to the surf with a board and sunglasses, said, “Any Republican is a friend of mine.”
Christie appeared on his way up past the gazebo where his advance men had rigged up his microphone and the TV news people were complaining that he had kept them waiting and forced them up against deadline and a woman, baseball cap, sunglasses, started yelling at Christie as he combed the extended waiting hands, “Shame on you, Gov. Christie.”
Hearing that, a bald man in a T-shirt started yelling, “State workers for Christie.”
“I guess you don’t mind getting a pay cut,” said the woman, who identified herself as a teacher.
The man offered a garbled response and the woman started screaming “bull—-.”
“There are children here,” the man exclaimed.
“Run for president,” someone blurted at Christie as he hit the ramp walk in the crowd.
“Why would I want to leave all this, are you kidding?” said the governor.
Later, after the press conference, one of the locals who had tried to ask a question grumbled as he turned away. Someone asked him what he would have asked Christie.
“I wanted to ask him a prevailing wage question,” said the man. “That’s what’s killing this town. We should put an end to prevailing wage. He won’t. That’s what is raising the cost of our administration building. This is afflicting all towns and all budgets. But he won’t do it. He won’t do it because of (Senate President) Steve Sweeney and the ironworkers.”