Christie Almighty?

 

ChristieNow that he’s formally a candidate for president, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enters the race to a decidedly mixed reception. Some are calling it an ego run. Others would have you believe he’s the king of the GOP long-shots (talk about a backhanded compliment). Still others said Dr. Jekyll showed up to announce; how long before Mr. Hyde makes an appearance? Not a compliment whatsoever. Here’s my take on Christie’s entry. Longer post short:

1) It’s a test of what I like to call the George Costanza theory of recent presidential elections — George deciding, in a Seinfeld episode, that doing the opposite of what his instincts told him was the only way to get women, get a job, and get respect. Translated to elections: Bill Clinton was the opposite of George H.W. Bush (distinguished WWII veteran versus Vietnam draft evader). George W. Bush offered a moral fiber that Clinton lacked. And Barack Obama’s rhetorical skills are a far cry from the younger Bush’s interpretation of the English language. The far opposite of Obama in this Republican field? Try a guy who’s abrasive, blunt, confrontational, probably can’t sing, and hasn’t fit in a 42-long suit in years.

2) Christie’s timing couldn’t be any worse. He peaked in November 2013, following his landslide reelection. But the past year’s been troublesome for New Jersey’s governor — most notably, that pesky bridge scandal. At present, Christie’s approval rating is at a record low. If I were starting a presidential run, I’m not sure I’d have done so on a day after the market tanked, a week after the Supreme Court broke conservatives’ heart, in a state where less than one in three voters like what I’m doing. I checked the web: United offers direct flights from Newark to Manchester, New Hampshire, where Christie’s presidential run either finds life or dies in the winter snow.

3) However, Christie does have one card to play: plenty of governors who owe him for his successful turn as head of the Republican Governors Association in last year’s election. Christie was dealt a bad hand — nine Republican guvs running for reelection in states Obama twice carried. Christie lost only one of those races: Pennsylvania. In theory, Christie should be calling in chits (not to mention hitting up all those donors he met along the trail last year). The problem is: if you’re a sitting Republican governor, this particular field offers a lot of sound choices. That includes governors present (Christie, Kasich, Jindal and Walker) and past (Bush). So why endorse now — especially, a guy not in the front tier?

Next up for Christie: trying to make the A-list at that August 6 candidate debate in Cleveland.

There are 8 comments.

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  1. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    The far opposite of Obama in this Republican field? Try a guy who’s abrasive, blunt, confrontational, probably can’t sing, and hasn’t fit in a 42-long suit in years.

    Obama is abrasive, blunt, and confrontational at least.

    • #1
  2. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    Regardless of his pugnacity in dealing with Union Thugs and biased coverage, I can’t stand the man.  He is a police-state poster child and I hope his campaign goes down in flames.

    The last thing the GOP needs is a jack-booted enforcer type as it’s standard bearer.  In fact, if I were the setting up a new administration, I might hire him as Press Secretary, but I’d keep him as far away as possible from any agency or department that had a SWAT team on the payroll.

    • #2
  3. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    I hope he gets that #10 slot. In the recent hour-long Hannity interview, Governor Christie surprised Sean with this exchange:

    • SH: You had a big battle with Rand Paul and you said he is dangerous on foreign policy. I talked to Jim Sensenbrenner, and he wrote the original Patriot Act. It specifically said that data mining of American citizens was not allowed. … Do you agree that data mining without the permission of the American people is wrong?
    • CC: No I do not.
    • SH: Every phone call, text, e-mail? They should gather all our e-mails?
    • CC: But Sean, they’re not looking at the e-mails. What they’re doing is they’re data mining phone numbers. And if your phone is talking to these folks here, and brother, and your wife, and your friends, no one is ever going to look at it.

    We need someone in these debates, preferably a former prosecutor, to call Senator Paul and others on the irrationality and paranoia directed against the use of data science in the Global War on Terror.

    If Governor Christie’s campaign gets any traction, he could also cut into the financial support and blue state primary votes which might otherwise be headed toward Jeb Bush. The best move Christie could make would be to identify, isolate, and pull away voters and donors from Jeb.

    Christie isn’t the only candidate capable of blunting the Bush machine. Donald Trump has the resources to hit the airwaves with major market advertising in the lead-up to primaries in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and California. Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio could also be players there.

    The Bush organization is quietly counting on blue states — large enough in population to elect Obama twice, let us not forget — to give him an insurmountable delegate base. The suburban areas in these states do have Republican primary voters who are up for grabs, but they’re more expensive to reach via media than small states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Those with primaries later in the campaign will be all-or-nothing, with significant delegate counts.

    The media will again overweight Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in coverage, but the long game for candidates with broader appeal and enough resources could be won in big blue states.

    Instead of tuna on toast, and being intimidated by large media markets, it means chicken salad on rye, and embracing major market voters. And that’s the opposite of what many in the conservative media are telling us.

    • #3
  4. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    What an incredibly bizarre way to choose a head of state and set of policy priorities for the next 4-8 years. I must have missed the section in the Constitution which sets out the role of CNN and Fox in ranking the candidates for President. Not to mention the privileged position of a medium that peaked in the 1950s…

    • #4
  5. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    genferei:…  I must have missed the section in the Constitution which sets out the role of CNN and Fox in ranking the candidates for President. Not to mention the privileged position of a medium that peaked in the 1950s…

    I didn’t know the debates were going to be televised in black & white.

    The early Americans, from Thomas Paine to Ben Franklin, to  the authors of the Federalist papers, very much anticipated the importance of communications media for democracy.

    It’s not so bizarre to have a cut-off based on polls, that’s been done for a long time to exclude candidates with minute followings. I would give more prominent exposure to the second tier debate, presently relegated to a daytime slot. But most viewing takes place in the clip and highlight cycle anyway. Producers and editors have a great deal of power, as they always have. That’s why campaign advertising is so important.

    Part of the test seems to be one of being able to adapt to the world as it is, not to some idealized utopia where all the candidates come a-knockin’ on your door.

    • #5
  6. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Part of the test seems to be one of being able to adapt to the world as it is, not to some idealized utopia where all the candidates come a-knockin’ on your door.

    There were four debates in 1960. Then three in 1976. And one (with both Carter and Reagan) in 1980. That was the peak viewership. Who is living in the past?

    • #6
  7. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    genferei:

    Part of the test seems to be one of being able to adapt to the world as it is, not to some idealized utopia where all the candidates come a-knockin’ on your door.

    There were four debates in 1960. Then three in 1976. And one (with both Carter and Reagan) in 1980. That was the peak viewership. Who is living in the past?

    “A medium that peaked in the 1950’s” was your phrase which I was challenging.

    We were discussing Christie making it into the primary debates. You criticized Fox News ranking the candidates as the basis for inclusion. That is not an issue in the general election debates.

    There was a period (beginning with Kennedy-Nixon) when the FCC had to suspend enforcement of equal time provisions to allow exclusion of minor party candidates. Since 1983 debates have been classified as news events, and not subject to the equal time rules.

    • #7
  8. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    genferei:What an incredibly bizarre way to choose a head of state and set of policy priorities for the next 4-8 years. I must have missed the section in the Constitution which sets out the role of CNN and Fox in ranking the candidates for President. Not to mention the privileged position of a medium that peaked in the 1950s…

    Amen. And amen again.

    • #8
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