This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 11th, 2013:
Fresh from his resounding reelection victory for a second term as New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie spent the weekend being interviewed on four different TV shows denying that he has any interest in running for president in 2016. He probably would have done another one but he ran out of time.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Christie said:
I know everybody’s going to be speculating about what may come in my future … but the fact is, I’m focused on being the governor of New Jersey and be[ing] the chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
The more he denied, the more he reminded one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote: “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” His denials just didn’t wash.
For instance, Matt Mowers, one of Christie’s key reelection campaign managers, is now the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican Party. How handy is that? New Hampshire just happens to host the first national primary for the 2016 presidential election. Christie didn’t mention that. Nor did he mention that he’s already been invited to speak in New Hampshire to “discuss policy issues,” raise money, and, oh yes, his profile as well.
Those invitations to speak will take him away from running New Jersey, where he promised to focus his attention, and allow him to gain national attention (some say notoriety) while helping establishment Republicans retain their offices. For instance, Christie has already promised to help South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham who is being challenged by a real conservative in his primary.
In politics, if something happens, be assured that it was planned that way.
He’s already being declared the front-runner by the Republican establishment. None other than Ed Gillespie, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee said: “We’ll be led back by our governors, and Chris Christie is now at the forefront of that resurgence. He’s proved that a conservative Republican can get votes from Hispanics and African-Americans, that a pro-life governor can get votes from women.”
Christie made sure that he is that one to lead the way. He reminded his audience that in New Jersey he created “143,000 new private-sector jobs, reformed pension and benefits, slowed the growth of property taxes, cut business taxes by $2.3 billion, and reformed teacher tenure.” He took a swipe at Obamacare, knowing that it will be a key, if not the key, issue in 2016:
Anybody who’s run anything in their lives could see this coming a mile away. That’s why we didn’t do a state-based health exchange. We didn’t do it because we could see that his whole program was going to be a problem.
He reminded them that he, a Republican, won in a dark blue Democrat state by 22 percentage points, and that he did it by capturing a majority of female votes, half of Hispanic votes, and nearly 20 percent of black votes. If he can do that there, goes the implication, he can do it nationally. In his election night victory speech he said:
I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, then maybe the folks in Washington, DC should tune in their TVs right now and see how it’s done.
The liberal press is obliging. Next Monday, Time magazine will boast a not-so-flattering picture of Christie on its cover, along with the headline: “The Elephant in the Room,” referring not only to his bulk but to his faux popularity that makes real conservatives fear that he might just steal the nomination away from a true conservative come 2016.
Liberal college professors see it as well. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia called it correctly when he said
[Christie’s] not going to turn down this chance to be president. He’s running. It’s obvious he’s running. [His election night speech was] less a talk about his second term in New Jersey than his first term as president.
There are more than a few problems that Christie must overcome in order to seize the prize, not the least of which will be taking the momentum from his win in New Jersey and building it into something nationally. The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), said his victory last Tuesday was attributable to nothing more than “a big personality and the aftermath of [Hurricane Sandy].” And Wasserman’s communications director, Mo Eleithee, called Christie’s budding campaign for 2016 a “Guiliani boomlet”, adding:
Here’s a Republican who knows how to win in blue territory [due to] some sort of emotional connection to a national tragedy….
It’s not transferable and it’s not sustainable.
There are vast differences between a northeastern liberal Republican like Christie who can get away with promoting the liberal agenda while calling himself a Republican, and the heart of the GOP residing in the west and the south.
Those folks are repelled by Christie’s moves. Let’s count the ways:
- His embracing, both physically and politically, President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy just two days before the 2012 election, which polls showed was a key factor in the race
- His nomination of a hard-core, far-left state attorney general, Paula Gow, who favors abortion (while Christie claims to be pro-life), and gun confiscation, not just gun “control” (while Christie claims to support the Second Amendment with the NRA supporting him!).
- He thinks the “science” behind the global-warming scare-mongering is real: “When you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”
- He signed into law a bill that will levy criminal penalties on parents and counselors who try to persuade a young person to change his sexual orientation or gender identity, and
- He let stand a court ruling allowing homosexual marriage despite claiming to be for traditional marriage.
There’s more for Christie to overcome in order to enlist the support of real conservatives. In their just-released book Double Down, authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin found out why the Romney campaign so quickly dropped Christie from consideration as his running mate:
The [Romney campaign] vetters were stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record. There was a 2010 Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of Christie’s spending patterns in his job prior to the governorship, which criticized him for being “the U.S. attorney who most often exceeded the government [travel expense] rate without adequate justification” and for offering “insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification” for stays at swank hotels like the Four Seasons.
There was the fact that Christie worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Securities Industry Association at a time when Bernie Madoff was a senior SIA official – and sought an exemption from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.
There was Christie’s decision to steer hefty government contracts to donors and political allies like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which sparked a congressional hearing.
There was a defamation lawsuit brought against Christie arising out of his successful 1994 run to oust an incumbent in a local Garden State race.
Then there was Todd Christie, the Governor’s brother, who in 2008 agreed to a settlement of civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he acknowledged making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.”
Christie is running for president, all right. But with prominence comes exposure. And with exposure comes the realization that Christie is the premier example of a RINO extant today. If Republicans are really serious about fielding a candidate in 2016 who has any chance of turning the country back to its constitution, they will have to look elsewhere, and leave Christie alone.
Newsmax: Christie: Focused on New Jersey, Not on Seeking Presidency
The New American: Christie Signs Law Banning Minors from Therapy for Same-Sex Attraction
The New American: Governor Christie Surrenders; New Jersey Begins Same-sex Marriage
Fox News: Democrats take their shots as Christie presidential talk heats up
New York Post: Christie building path for 2016 presidential campaign
New York magazine: Four Problems with Chris Christie 2016
Amazon: Double Down
The New York Times: Chris Christie Coasts to 2nd Term as Governor of New Jersey
Time magazine cover for November 18th, 2013
The NRA: New Jersey: Governor Christie Vetoes Major Anti-Gun Bills and Gun Owners Secure a Significant and Rare Victory