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Why We Must Draft Chris Christie for President in 2012

May 25, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012

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Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Unless Mitch Daniels has an unprecedented change of heart or Rudy Giuliani lives up to rumors he’s planning another run, I’m throwing my support for the 2012 Republican presidential nominee to a candidate who isn’t yet competing.  Here’s why:

1. Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2010 did spectacularly well, mostly by emulating New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s style and substance on the campaign trail.  Christie is on the cutting edge of the Republican Party: Other GOP governors are taking his lead by standing up to public sector unions, refusing to raise taxes, declining to fund unaffordable public works boondoggles, and slashing spending.  Even Democratic governors such as Andrew Cuomo are following Christie’s playbook.

2. Christie has a talent that Donald Trump supporters wrongly insisted would make the latter a uniquely formidable candidate: the ability to take the fight to the enemy.  In Trump’s case, they meant his confronting President Obama over the trivial birth certificate issue, whereas Christie has been battling teachers’ unions in New Jersey.  But Christie’s fearless propensity to confront his current opponents bodes well for his future capacity to face off with a certain big-eared neophyte who stumbles off track without his teleprompter, and always looks nasty and petty when he fights back.

3. Christie is wildly popular as a potential candidate among Republican voters, a fact that gets masked by the fact that his non-candidacy means he’s excluded from many straw polls.  But John Zogby regularly includes Christie as a choice, and Christie took first place in all four of the primary polls Zogby’s run since November 2010.

4. Waiting until the last minute to announce his candidacy, after the current crop of candidates has had its sorry say, is neither a foolish nor an unprecedented strategy.  Confidantes say Christie is still considering running, but might wait to announce until after November 2011, when he may be able to help Republicans take over one or both chambers of the New Jersey Legislature.  Christie may also be waiting until passage of pension reform and other state legislation—i.e., until he has more fully secured his record of accomplishment as governor.  Anyway, in this country it’s always better not to appear to be lusting for power, more charming to be dragged kicking and screaming into office rather than appear to be drooling over the prospect like Gingrich, Pawlenty, or Paul.  I’m perfectly content to be despondent for the next six months by the presence of a weak field if it means Christie will enter the race this fall.

5. Christie has no patience for fools, of which there are plenty in New Jersey, but even more in Washington, where the stakes are higher.

6. Christie is electable.  He won the governor’s race in a heavily Democratic state that went for Obama over McCain by 16 points, despite facing a conservative third-party candidate and being outspent five-to-one by the incumbent opponent.  Though he claims not to be interested in the presidency, Christie has plausibly admitted, “I already know I could win.”  Fundraisers around the country are imploring him to meet with them.  Diverse conservatives from Henry Kissinger to John Boehner to Ann Coulter who know something about electoral politics have been begging him to run.

7. He’s articulate, passionate, and colorful, and makes fewer mistakes when speaking off the cuff than Obama makes when using his teleprompter.  In this amazing video—one of dozens of similar videos floating around YouTube—watch him slowly eviscerate a pro-union audience member’s loaded questions, rhetorical tricks, and sneering tone, to such a degree that by the end of his brilliant answer even she seems to be nodding in agreement.

8. All the other candidates have fatal flaws.  Most are too inexperienced or naïve (e.g., Cain, Paul) or slick and ingratiating (e.g., Pawlenty, Romney).  Cain, for example, is making the rounds of the talk shows bragging about how he has no foreign policy, while Pawlenty is already boring the nation with trite pronouncements such as, “We are going to win it, and it’s going to start right here in Iowa.”  In contrast to others in the field, Christie can use to his advantage the fact that he has a distinguished career as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey and two hugely successful years in executive government, yet is not a typical politician who says things just to make people feel good.

9. The Obama campaign is already investigating Christie’s background and trying to find dirt on him to intimidate him.  Surely we can’t let liberals get away with their lowbrow tactics yet again.

10. Christie has done a fantastic job as governor of New Jersey in his first term, and shows more promise than any of the other GOP presidential candidates.  His failure to run could cost Republicans the White House and hand Obama a second term.

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