Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chris Christie: a GOP Messiah?

Although it arguably would only be fair to finally have a president who “looks like America,” I’ve never come near to getting on the bandwagon to draft Chris Christie. The Republican Governor of New Jersey seems to be doing a fine job in that traditionally-Democrat-dominated state, but he’s only been in office 21 months, and he can’t possibly be finished with his work there. If he’s as talented and effective as his fans think, reforming New Jersey is good and holy work for him to complete, surely.

Then there are the concerns that he is not really very conservative when looked at from the perspective of national issues. This morning Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has a post titled, “Should conservatives by clamoring for a Christie candidacy?” that touches on some of these problems.

Christie is shaky on gun rights. Christie is shaky (and significantly shakier than Rick Perry) on the issue of illegal immigration. Christie is a firm believer in anthropogenic global warming.

In an election cycle where conservatives (1) are seeking a genuine conservative candidate and (2) have every reason to believe an unabashed conservative can win against Barack Obama—the weakest incumbent in recent memory—Christie, on the issues, appears instead to represent a compromise. I’ve been mystified when I hear someone like Ann Coulter wishing and dreaming out loud for his entry into the race. But then, she supported Mitt Romney last time. She seems to favor some notion of “electability” in her mind versus reliability on the issues; it’s a strange perspective for someone as uncompromising in her own political arguments as she is. However, I’m one of those who disputes that conceding issues to the other side is the way forward for conservative candidates in America, or that it makes a presidential candidate more electable. I think it does not, and I think that the last presidential race is exhibit A.

I think it’s time, frankly, for some on the conservative and/or Republican side to grow up, and realize that there’s a more than merely serviceable slate of candidates out there right now. Dreaming of white knights is a sign of weakness. The campaign didn’t end somehow at the last debate. Perry isn’t done: he is reloading. Cain is a candidate the GOP should be proud of: a genuine non-politician pushing genuine conservatism. Gingrich may yet qualify for a second act in American politics — stranger things have happened. And if you want a crypto-RINO-who-knows-what-o, Mitt Romney is currently filling that position admirably, with panĂ¢che and eloquence. It’s time for people to focus on the choices that are there to be made, and stop looking out the window for a parachuting savior. (If I wanted to make a cheap gag, I would point out that Chris Christie really should neither be jumping on white horses nor parachuting out of airplanes, but since I don’t I’ll let it go.)

If he does get in the race, at this late stage, he’ll have a variety of very serious obstacles to overcome due to that lateness. I predict he won’t win the nomination, and will limp back to the Garden State as damaged goods. That would not be good for anyone. New Jersey needs him right where he is. May good sense, with some help from the law of inertia, keep him there.

Chris Christie can’t — repeat: can’t — win the GOP nomination

No matter all the buzz of late suggesting that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might jump into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, I’m betting that he won’t.

And if I lose that bet, I’ll wager twice as much that he doesn’t win the GOP nod.

The people who see Christie as the answer to the party’s general dissatisfaction with its current crop of White House hopefuls just haven’t thought this thing through. They’ve fallen in love with the man’s straight-talking style — and ignored the substance of some of things he says.

On several occasions over the past five months, I’ve explained (HERE and HERE) that Christie has foreclosed upon any presidential bid by staking out positions on global warming and Islamophobia that run counter to the prevailing attitudes among the GOP’s Tea Party types.

And now, Dan Amira of New York magazine has ADDED three more issues — immigration, gun control and education — to the list of things that right-wingers would hate about Christie if he seeks the Republican nomination.

Sure, Christie could try walking back his previous statements on those matters, but that would only add flip-flopping to the list of conservative grievances against him.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, time is running out for late entrants in the Republican race, as we see HERE.

UPDATE II: Politico offers SEVERAL DOZEN RESPONSES to the question of whether Chris Christie should take the plunge.

By Pat Cunningham