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The Chris Christie Conundrum

Let me start by stating that Chris Christie’s keynote speech at the Reagan Library tonight was powerful refutation of the Obama administration. The Governor of New Jersey can lay down a speech like no one since Reagan himself.

Since his days as a candidate running for Governor of New Jersey, I’ve heard good arguments for and against his candidacy. Several local teaparty groups were not enamored by Christie as the Republican candidate, and some were. As delighted as I was when Jon Corzine was defeated in his reelection bid, I wondered what type of politician the voters of New Jersey selected to replace Jon Corzine.

I decided to adopt a wait and see stance with the newly elected Republican governor. I didn’t have to wait long to have  the character of Chris Christie illuminated. He jumped into his role of Governor with full vigor by calling out the malaise within the NJ teachers union. The more he spoke, the more I listened, his outspoken leadership completely changed the national dialogue in dealing with unions.

That being said, I still find there’s a great gulf of opinion on Chris Christie’s credentials for a successful Presidential bid in 2012.  Two extraordinarily intelligent writers whose blogs are my daily must reads have weighed in on opposite sides of this discussion.  Both writers have written posts that best illustrate the competing opinions regarding Chris Christie’s qualifications as Republican presidential candidate. Below are two snippets of their opinion for comparison:

In Christie’s corner is John from Verum Serum:

This is our last best hope to see 6% unemployment in this decade. Our last chance to balance the budget before 2016. Our last chance to get entitlements in line with reality and avoid another downgrade. Barack Obama won’t do it and neither will Mitt Romney. Chris Christie will get it done. Not just talk and promise things that sound good. He’ll do it. He’s been doing it in New Jersey against overwhelming odds, despite a hostile media and truckloads of union money.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Christie is our Ronald Reagan after four long years of Barack O’Carter. No, he’s not perfect on every issue, but he’s damn near perfect on the issues that matter in this election and in this decade of American politics. If he doesn’t get in we lose even if we win the election.

Not exactly in Christie’s Corner is Dan Riehl of Riehl World View:

Forget the YouTube clips, Christie is pure establishment Republican dealing with a balanced budget mandate in NJ and an already over-taxed population. He has no other route to take for New Jersey than the one he has been and he is doing some real good there. However, if he ever steps onto the national stage, it will soon be very clear from his record that he is your typical NE Republican and unable to stir the conservative base.

All the forces pushing him hope for is that Christie could peel off enough soft conservatives to take it to Mitt. Christie may well eventually run for President one day, but he’ll do it as an establishment Republican because that’s what he is. The backstory behind the push for Christie makes it obvious, but all the proof one needs can be found on the pages of the Weekly Standard and the Washington Post.

And there you have the division of opinion in a nutshell.

Personally, I hope Governor Christie runs for President in 2016 as I would prefer he remain Governor to continue the positive budgetary changes his administration has embarked on since his inauguration.  Tonight at the Reagan Library Governor Christie ruled out any presidential run in 2012 but would he refuse a VP nod by whoever becomes the GOP Presidential candidate?

Let me be clear. I am NOT pitting one writer against the other with this post. I’m simply highlighting the best articulations of each side of the Christie debate.  I highly respect the opinions of both writers and always discover a new point of view from their writings. Also, there is a high likelihood of meeting both writers at blogger conferences and I would very much like to stay in their good graces :)

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts on the presidential qualifications of Governor Christie? Have you heard the same arguments for and against Christie? Please check out the two blogs linked in this post, you will not be disappointed – besides have I ever steered you wrong in the blogosphere?

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2 responses to “The Chris Christie Conundrum

  1. Trevor Hilton

    There’s a Jersey-based blog I read called Conservatives With Attitude. They seldom have anything good to say about Christie. I figure someone who has to live with his rule would know more about him than someone who doesn’t. There’s also the fact that he appointed a muslim judge that bothers me.
    So, sorry Ann Coulter, but I’m just not ready to jump on the Christie bandwagon.

  2. says:

    Thanks for the kind words. You set out the divide that does exist very well. I’ve seen some of this on my own blog and in private communications with others.

    I’ll just say that I can’t even truly disagree with Dan RIehl, whom I like and respect. He’s right that Christie is an establishment candidate. I think we saw this last year when the RGA flew him around the country to stump for various candidates. He’s part of that network in a big way.

    My argument is not that Christie is as pure as the Tea Party might like, he’s not. He’s moderate on gun rights and green issues. Those do matter, but not as much as financial issues at this moment in history. On those important issues: debt, deficits, entitlements– he’s the man for the moment. If it’s true that those are the Tea Party’s defining issues, they should back him for that reason.

    That’s probably the one area I’d disagree with Dan. I think Christie’s opposition to these things is principled and foundational. I don’t think he’d “grow in office” if elected. Harry Reid (were he still Majority leader after a Christie win) would meet the Christie buzzsaw just as Democratic leaders in the NJ legislature have. The result would be a joy to watch for all conservatives.

    There will always be some issues a great candidate isn’t perfect on. Michael Reagan reminds us that even his father wasn’t a perfect conservative candidate. My take on this election is let’s major on the majors and get someone who can a) win and b) deliver on the big things.

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