In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Clinton promoted a centrist philosophy to move Democrats away from the left.
In his victory speech following his re-election Tuesday, New Jersey's Republican governor seemed to be addressing a national audience. "Tonight, a dispirited America, angry with their dysfunctional government in Washington, looks to New Jersey to say 'Is what I thinks happening really happening? Are people really coming together?'"
Christie demonstrated he can reach beyond the GOP base to win in a state Barack Obama carried in 2012.
Pulling Latinos, African Americans, women, and a wide demographic swath of New Jersey voters does not automatically translate to the national level.
"What Clinton had that Christie evidently lacks is a well-thought-out approach to his party's predicament," writes Lowry.
Clinton offered a new centrist philosophy and public-policy proposals.
"For Christie to capitalize on the opportunity he has created for himself, he will need a conservative reform agenda," writes Lowry.
Kavon Nikrad, a political blogger
, believes an apt comparison is between Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Both were U.S. Attorneys, built political careers based on support from a wide array of voters, and drew admiration for their handling of a crisis.
Both, too, are viewed warily by the ideologically driven Republican base. Giuliani never convinced them he was pro-life. Christie will have to do better.
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