Evidently the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is still not recognized in certain parts of the United States. How else could Chris Christie remain David Koch’s slave?

As Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey explores a 2016 presidential campaign, he is under growing pressure from his State Legislature to rejoin a regional cap-and-trade program that would limit New Jersey’s carbon emissions — and likely hurt his chances for the Republican nomination.

Mr. Christie, who withdrew from the program in 2011 as he first considered running for president in 2012, remains adamant that New Jersey not participate in the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, even though the majority of state legislators say it would be in New Jersey’s economic and legal interests. Business groups remain divided on the plan. “No, I would not think of rejoining it,” Mr. Christie told reporters during a recent trip to Mexico. “I think it’s a completely useless plan.”

A good slave never, ever offends his master.

Some political analysts say Mr. Christie’s motive in staying out of the plan is to placate powerful conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity, which are highly influential in Republican primaries and consider cap-and-trade programs to be energy taxes that hurt business and eliminate jobs. Mr. Christie will be the main speaker at an Americans for Prosperity donor meeting in New York on Friday…

Americans for Prosperity, which receives funding from the libertarian billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch, spent heavily in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections to oppose candidates who supported cap-and-trade. The group took aim at Republican candidates in primary races who signaled that they would back climate-change policy, and it is expected to play a key role in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. “We were exceedingly pleased that the governor got New Jersey out of the R.G.G.I. boondoggle,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, referring to the regional plan. “It’s something that A.F.P. in New Jersey worked hard on, and the governor listened, and we applauded him pulling out and applaud him for refusing to go back in.” Mr. Phillips said the move would be sure to help Mr. Christie’s efforts in the Republican primaries, should he run.

For all of Christie’s tough talking, it’s clear that he’s just willing to step and fetch for his owner at a moment’s notice. He has been branded, emasculated, whipped, humbled; he is no longer a man in any real sense of the word.

Christie is little more than chattel; he is beyond pathetic and beyond help. You can’t even call him the worst governor in New Jersey’s history, because only a free man can be governor, and he is neither free nor a man. He is simply property, chopping wood and carrying water for the owner of his plantation. He is Kunta Christie, nothing more.

UPDATE: From Mother Jones, investigative journalist Brad Friedman’s 2011 revelation of the ties between Christie and Koch.

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D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.