Dear Governor Christie:
We’ve heard all the “what if’s” regarding your governorship. What if you knew that lanes on the George Washington Bridge were closed for political retribution? What if you covered it up? Most damning, what if you ordered it?
The pundits on both sides are having a field day predicting your future as governor and possible presidential candidate. But most are agenda-driven and don’t know their heads from their derrieres, so their input is irrelevant.
Since much of what will unfold is out of your hands, the real question is what you will do to win back your credibility and rebuild your image. If you play your cards right, governor, the current slide can be reversed and your second term can meet the same level of success as the first as you remain a viable national candidate.
Here’s how: Get back to your roots. Use your ace-in-the-hole that no other politician has, but all envy — being a “regular guy,” aka just being Chris Christie. Your ability to speak directly to the people — articulately, brusquely, and, when needed, right in their faces, be they voters, press or opponents — has met with unparalleled success.
Your eschewing the teleprompter, talking off-the-cuff and self-deprecating humor (the “Christie model”) are exactly what Americans seek. As your last election showed, while many may disagree with you, they support you anyway because they know where you stand. People will always choose conviction and passion over spineless, vacillating hacks.
Why mention this? Because too often we see individuals, businesses, and sports teams deviate from the game plans that earned them success. Rather than stay the course, many change who they are in a misguided attempt to meet a new challenge or survive a crisis.
Chris Christie cannot achieve success, and can’t beat this scandal, if he tones down his press conferences, appears more stoic, and keeps quiet until the storm passes. You must be stronger than the storm or your career will soon be a bridge under troubled waters.
With all due respect, Guv, go after your critics, hard. Take the fight to them.
Who better a spokesman than you to tout the strength of New Jerseyans who faced literal hell getting their state back on track? Who is more identifiable with Jersey than the man who spearheaded the reconstruction efforts? And who demonstrates to a nation in desperate want of bipartisanship the true meaning of “working together,” shoving political considerations aside and reaching across the aisle to get things done?
Absolutely no one. So don’t run from those things; embrace them.
Using campaign money, launch a series of ads touting your accomplishments and blasting the hacks who, believing you are weakened, are criticizing you and your family for appearing in public service ads which promoted a rebuilt New Jersey after Sandy’s devastating blow.
Political opportunists are requesting federal investigations into the public service ads, but, more disconcerting, they are doing so without a whimper from you, governor. Say it ain’t so! Don’t let them get away with it, or we all lose.
The hacks are trying to derail your second-term agenda by using Bridge-gate to marginalize you, despite the overwhelming number of Garden Staters who just sent you back to Trenton. It’s time to off take the gloves, as only Chris Christie can, and beat them to a pulp.
Tell them you will unequivocally not allow New Jersey to stagnate, and that the successes already achieved, but need to be expanded upon, will not rot away because of partisan politics.
Your opponents, Republican and Democrat, are smelling blood, hurling everything they can at you — legitimacy and truth be damned — in the hopes of a knockout. And the pundits say you have to “play nice” to get through this challenge.
Do the opposite. Unleash holy hell and tell them to reap the whirlwind, as Chris Christie isn’t going away. Be the bull in a china shop that we have not just come to expect, but love. By addressing the criticisms, you will rekindle support with the only ones who really matter: the people.
I have championed many of your causes (pension reform, fiscal responsibility, strong leadership in the face of seemingly impossible odds) and, as a fair commentator, have been critical (the helicopter flap, the weight issue, taxpayer money for Seaside Heights businesses, and your handling of the DRPA).
But above all, I, along with millions, respect your aggressive, no-nonsense, tell-the-truth approach. Therefore, I implore you to remain true to who you are and go with what brought you. It’s your only way to avoid being on a bridge to nowhere.
The 2016 election is fast approaching. It would be a great disservice to all Americans if Chris Christie were not among the candidates. Godspeed, governor.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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