One Cheer–Two at the Most–for Candidate Christie?

Regarding the governor of New Jersey, two items: 

Item:  Toward the middle of last week, I heard from a friend who lives in New Jersey and knows the politics of the place in some detail.  (Living in the Golden State, I rely on friends for my news of the Garden State.)  My friend had reached a startling conclusion:  Gov. Christie shouldn’t run for president.  Why?  Because Christie isn’t nearly as conservative as Republican primary voters now believe. 

Once Christie’s opponents began pointing out the thinness of his record as a conservative–he has bashed back the rate of growth of state spending, but the budget is still bigger than when he took office, and he has failed to enact structural reforms, improve schools, or, really, to do much of anything else at all–once this became understood, Christie’s support in the tea party would drop sharply.  “He’d lose,” my friend said, “and then he’d come back to New Jersey too damaged to be effective.  It would be the worst of both worlds.”

Item:  Yesterday, I heard from a second friend in New Jersey–like the first, someone who knows the scene in some detail.  A lot of establishment Republicans, he said, have been in touch with Gov. Christie.  Arguing that Romney cannot appeal to the tea party while Perry cannot win over Independents, they have told Christie he should consider a presidential run nothing less than his patriotic duty.  “The pressure on Christie has become intense,” my friend said.  The result?  Christie is reconsidering his decision to stay out of the race. This second friend, be it noted, agreed with the first.  Christie, he said, really isn’t nearly as conservative as people suppose–and may well prove a much less impressive candidate than he now looks.

Last night, my friend drew my attention to Paul Gigot’s appearance yesterday on Fox.  A meticulous reporter, my friend and I both know, Paul would never say Christie is considering a run unless Paul knew it to be true.

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=1166353024001&w=466&h=263″></script><noscript>Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxnews.com”>video.foxnews.com</a></noscript>&nbsp;

In short, Ann Coulter’s most fervent wish may yet come true:&nbsp; Chris Christie, plain-talking, hard-swinging Internet phenomenon, may be about to announce his candidacy for president.

But people who know a lot more about him than I do aren’t at all happy.

  1. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    I dream of Christie debating BHO.

  2. James Delingpole
    C

    And then, of course, there is his position on Climate Change – http://michellemalkin.com/2011/08/20/chris-christie-climate-change-is-real-humans-contribute/ – which for me rules him out altogether as a serious candidate.

  3. Gus Marvinson

    If there are GOP muckety-mucks who seriously believe Christie is a conservative, or that he can win the Republican nomination, then maybe we should run Arlen Spector and Lindsey Graham too.

    Is it because I’m stupid that I don’t understand what the “smart” people are thinking?

  4. KarlUB

    His position “[R]ules him out altogether as a serious candidate.” Really?

    I can accept “That position makes me unlikely to vote for him.” Heck, his past positions on the Second Amendment– shared by many who come to politics from the prosecutorial route– make me hesitate a little. But that attitude– Candidate X feels this way about issue Y so he is not “serious”– really frosts me when the universe of issues is 1000Y. But of course he would be a serious candidate. He might not be a candidate you like. But the two are not the same thing. Bachmann thinks vaccines might make you retarded. But she’s still a serious candidate. Ron Paul want to bring home 90% of our deployed military. But he’s serious (And don’t tell me otherwise. He’s the third most popular candidate right now. Fact.). Perry was Al Gore’s campaign manager in Texas. But he’s serious.

    Huntsman? Well, there’s a man who is not a serious candidate for a variety of reasons. But know what? It’s not because of his positions, which are totally middle of the road. It’s because he’s an obscure jaghole.

  5. Ed G.
    KarlUB: His position “[R]ules him out altogether as a serious candidate.” Really?

    I can accept “That position makes me unlikely to vote for him.” Heck, his past positions on the Second Amendment– shared by many who come to politics from the prosecutorial route– make me hesitate a little. But that attitude– Candidate X feels this way about issue Y so he is not “serious”– really frosts me when the universe of issues is 1000Y. But of course he would be a serious candidate. He might not be a candidate you like. But the two are not the same thing.

    Karl, I can’t think of a single instance in which I have agreed with you on Ricochet – until now. Talk of seriousness, electability, and such really sticks in my craw too. It’s an attempt to end discussion and make you feel out of touch unless you get on board. Of course there are obvious disqualifiers (e.g. Klan membership, Nazi death camp guard, child molester), but those are rare and certainly different than personal attitude toward a candidate.

  6. Western Chauvinist

    Let’s get to the heart of the Christie matter. &nbsp;What conservatives like about Christie is all&nbsp;style, not substance. &nbsp;We’re so tired of the mewling simpering reach-across-the-aisle RINOs, we’d even consider an obese New Englander with the wrong positions on AGW, immigration, gun control, and, most importantly to me, &nbsp;an indefensible appointment of a Muslim (with radical ties) to the bench (see Andrew McCarthy’s work), which Christie has clumsily defended, as a viable presidential candidate. &nbsp;And I didn’t need to know anyone in New Jersey to tell me that.

    I think Christie improves Perry by contrast, even with Independents. &nbsp;Perry has the grit we’re looking for with mostly the right policy positions. &nbsp;Even his “weakness” on immigration may be a bonus, if, as I believe a wide majority of Americans want, he comes down Iron Curtain hard on border enforcement, while dealing compassionately with illegals already here.

    And let’s not forget possibly the last wise thing Chris Matthews ever says… voters try to correct for the flaws of the previous president in the next one. &nbsp;If he’s right, Rick Perry is a shoe-in.

  7. KarlUB
    Western Chauvinist: What conservatives like about Christie is all&nbsp;style, not substance. &nbsp;We’re so tired of the mewling simpering reach-across-the-aisle RINOs…

    I think you are half-right on this.

    People really are tired of the attitude you describe. But I think another aspect of Christie’s appeal is that he actually gets things done in a very difficult environment for anybody even remotely conservative.

    As Washington D.C. is not even remotely conservative, this speaks well to his qualifications were he to decide to run.

    So I wouldn’t say it is ALL style. But style certainly is part of it.

    And, actually, that’s OK. Because in this case I think style and efficacy are at least somewhat related.

  8. Snow Bird

    Western Chauvinist: Let’s get to the heart of the Christie matter. &nbsp;What conservatives like about Christie is all&nbsp;style, not substance. &nbsp;We’re so tired of the mewling simpering reach-across-the-aisle RINOs, we’d even consider an obese New Englander with the wrong positions on AGW, immigration, gun control, and, most importantly to me, &nbsp;an indefensible appointment of a Muslim (with radical ties) to the bench (see Andrew McCarthy’s work), which Christie has clumsily defended, as a viable presidential candidate. &nbsp;And I didn’t need to know anyone in New Jersey to tell me that.

    Agreed, 100%. Add to your list signing the bullying law into existence – government nannyism worthy of that paragon of conservatism Mayor Bloomberg.

  9. iWc

    I love watching Christie. But I don’t want him to run. On both Radical Islam and Global Warming, he is clearly a product of his environment. And if I have to choose a politician who is a product of his environment, Texas trumps New Jersey.

  10. Cobalt Blue
    Western Chauvinist: Let’s get to the heart of the Christie matter. &nbsp;What conservatives like about Christie is all&nbsp;style, not substance. &nbsp;We’re so tired of the mewling simpering reach-across-the-aisle RINOs …

    99 and 44/100% correct, WC. Christie’s ability to vigorously defend his positions (particularly against teachers’ unions) is refreshing to say the least. He usually has excellent command of the issues and refuses to allow his opposition to define him – it’s a beautiful thing! We need someone with his fighting spirit and skill to make headway in coming years. But if he really is a big government type (you know the type, “big government is fine as long as we can collect enough taxes to pay for it”), then his seductive style (have those words ever been used in reference to him before?) won’t help us out – he’ll only be a placeholder until the next Democrat can come along and pick up where Obama leaves off.

  11. Western Chauvinist
    KarlUB

    People really are tired of the attitude you describe. But I think another aspect of Christie’s appeal is that he actually gets things done in a very difficult environment for anybody even remotely conservative.

    As Washington D.C. is not even remotely conservative, this speaks well to his qualifications were he to decide to run.

    So I wouldn’t say it is ALL style. But style certainly is part of it.

    And, actually, that’s OK. Because in this case I think style and efficacy are at least somewhat related. · Sep 19 at 7:46am

    Managerial competence in a difficult environment is an argument for Romney. &nbsp;

    Look, this is possibly the US’s last chance at meaningful constitutional reform or we become just another European social democracy. &nbsp;Christie has the cojones (may I say that?), but many of the wrong policy positions. &nbsp;Romney has executive competence, but no burning desire to shrink government (we might be saved by a TEA Party Congress if he’s elected). &nbsp;Perry has it all: &nbsp;cojones, correct policies (I particularly like tort reform), executive competence, and making government inconsequential in our lives. DING! DING! DING! &nbsp;We have a winner!

    I still prefer Ryan…

  12. James Of England

    Why would he be weakened by a showing that he’s really kinda liberal/ kinda centrist? Does New Jersey really demand red meat governors? So long as those were the only kinds of attacks he took, I’d have thought that turning up for some of the debates would be great for him. If they turned conversation to education, that’d be good for the debates, too, and it’d be handy to have a multi-polar race for a bit longer. Too long a two man race and the temptation to descend into full time hateful attacks on people’s less preferred candidate is likely to be overwhelming. A bigger pool would mean more focus on ideas.

    Christie would be likely to be my third choice of the three (although I’m very open to persuasion), but I think he’d be a good voice to add to the debate.

  13. liberal jim

    I don’t understand the idea that a GOP nominee might not win in a two man race.&nbsp; McCain ran a poor campaign, in the middle of the worse financial panic in 70 years that the public blamed on the GOP and got 47% of the vote.&nbsp; &nbsp;I cannot imagine that any of the 47% would now vote for Obama.&nbsp; That means that if 6% of Obama voters change their mind and vote GOP or 12% stay home the GOP should win.&nbsp; All current polling show much larger defections than that.&nbsp; The real worry should be a 3rd candidate.

  14. Frank Soto
    Western Chauvinist

    KarlUB

    People really are tired of the attitude you describe. But I think another aspect of Christie’s appeal is that he actually gets things done in a very difficult environment for anybody even remotely conservative.

    As Washington D.C. is not even remotely conservative, this speaks well to his qualifications were he to decide to run.

    So I wouldn’t say it is ALL style. But style certainly is part of it.

    And, actually, that’s OK. Because in this case I think style and efficacy are at least somewhat related. · Sep 19 at 7:46am

    Managerial competence in a difficult environment is an argument for Romney. &nbsp;

    Romney care and pushing green jobs can hardly be described as”Managerial competence”.&nbsp; We are agreed that Ryan was our best option though. I’d say we can look forward to him making a run in the future, except once interest rates rise to their historical averages and we’re paying 900 billion dollars in interest on our debt every year, it’s really going to be too late.

  15. Stuart Creque

    I suggest that if Christie actually declares his candidacy, Palin will do likewise.&nbsp; Christie’s announcement would be proof positive that there’s an anti-Perry constituency in the primaries, and Palin would then be free to offer herself as another alternative to Perry’s Texas-rerun factor and Christie’s semi-RINOism, without being accused of turning on her friends Bachmann and Perry.

    Also, Christie’s candidacy would validate Palin’s: Christie has been Governor a shorter time than Palin was.

  16. Douglas

    Christie is really only a fiscal conservative. He’s pretty left wing on social issues. He’s Rudy without the personal baggage…&nbsp;likable, and trusted on fiscal/security issues, but he has no chance in hell of surviving primaries in the southern states (and some western ones as well).

  17. John Marzan

    He’ll win against Obama. Tea Party presidential candidates are unelectable in the general election. If the tea partiers are serious about fiscal reform, Christie is their best man–the ultimate Republican–to beat Obama.

    so he believes in global warming. so what? as long as he’s not going to let his beliefs get in the way of oil drilling…

    Christie Giuliani 2012

  18. John Marzan

    After his bludgeoning in the Monday, September 12 GOP Debate, Texas Governor Rick Perry has lost more than half of his lead over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

    http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/romney-closes-in-on-perry/#more-4357

    and with perry as nominee, we won’t be able to attack obama on “crony capitalism”… a potentially huge issue vs obama in 2012.

  19. Western Chauvinist
    Frank Soto

    Western Chauvinist

    KarlUB

    Managerial competence in a difficult environment is an argument for Romney. &nbsp;
    Romney care and pushing green jobs can hardly be described as”Managerial competence”.&nbsp; We are agreed that Ryan was our best option though.&nbsp;

    “Managerial competence” was intended in the “managerial progressive” sense, not as a complement. &nbsp;It was a reference to Romney having “saved” the Salt Lake Olympics and having “successfully” worked with Democrats in MA to institute Romneycare. &nbsp;

    I’m not a Romney fan and certainly not a fan of universal healthcare (at any level) or statist green jobs programs. &nbsp;Romney may have done the wrong things as governor of MA, but he did them very competently! &nbsp;That’s why he’s my worst nightmare. &nbsp;

    More damage has been done to this country by Republicans behaving like progressives than by anything any Democrat ever tried, because voters then see both ideologies as equally bad. &nbsp;Only a TEA party Congress can save us from progressive foolishness by a President Romney.

  20. TeamAmerica

    Western Chauvinist-”We’re so tired of the mewling simpering reach-across-the-aisle RINOs, we’d even consider an obese New Englander”

    New Jersey is a Mid-Atlantic state. New England ends at Massachusetts.