Tags: 2016 Elections | Chris Christie

Christie Down, but Not Out

By Friday, 08 May 2015 09:19 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Chris Christie had a terrible week. The Bridge-gate scandal flared up again with an indictment of Bridgette Kelly, who was a part of the governor’s inner circle; Christie’s approval ratings have subsequently suffered as well. They now hover in the mid-30s which is the lowest of his tenure as governor.

Many base republicans have not forgiven Christie for the “Obama hug” or the Republican National Convention speech, which was blatantly self-serving. All of this does not bode well for someone who is looking to launch a presidential campaign, but Chris Christie is not a typical politician.

Republicans have been a bit wary of Christie since 2012. His keynote RNC address was a list of his accomplishments in New Jersey and how he turned around a bad fiscal situation.

He finally got around to mentioning Mitt Romney’s name 17 minutes into the speech. It sounded like a Christie commercial with a mandatory tip of the hat to Romney at the end. His purpose in that speech was to be an attack dog to Obama’s failed policies.

He was supposed to be blustering, direct and entertaining, but he came off as self-serving.
He also angered the Republican base in 2012 by embracing President Obama after Hurricane Sandy. It seemed like an opportunist moment to show how bipartisan he could be. It rankled Romney supporters because it was three weeks before a close election.

He most definitely could have been more business-like in his dealing with Obama while working through the aftermath of the hurricane. His current challenges are not things that can be glazed over, but his strengths may transcend them.

New Jersey as a state is as blue as they come. It boasts the highest personal income tax, real estate tax, and local taxes. The legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic. Chris Christie was a relatively unknown quantity when he came onto the scene in 2009, despite being a U.S. attorney for New Jersey (rank and file voters are generally not aware of who their U.S. attorneys are). He was not supposed to beat John Corzine.

Corzine who was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was a reliable liberal and the sitting governor of New Jersey. Christie beat him by 4 points. His re-election bid was nothing short of a thumping. He trounced Democratic challenger Barbara Buono by 22 points in 2013, winning over 60 percent of the vote.

Great retail politics are a very under-rated commodity in the political world, and Christie has the best retail capabilities of the entire field. People really appreciate blunt honesty from politicians because it is tangible to them. They can relate to someone speaking honestly because it is something they understand.

Most people have individuals close to them in their lives who speak very openly and honestly to them, be it a spouse, family member, friend or business associate. You may not even like the honesty these people show, but you respect them for it. Chris Christie does this well, and it has translated in a political strength in a deep blue state.

People on both sides of the aisle can agree that a teacher, who works 20-25 years, can no longer receive a pension for 40 plus years with substantial medical benefits in retirement as well. It’s not sustainable.

No one in the private sector receives benefits like that, and it is those same private sector workers who have to fund these albatross pension plans for the unions through their tax dollars.

Speaking openly and honestly about these issues led Christie to win such great favor amongst all voters during his campaigns for governor, and it will serve him well on a national scale.

The 2016 Republican field is getting crowded. Christie is not without headwinds. His approval rating in New Jersey has dropped, but he has not been directly tied to the scandal. Many believe it to be just media bluster.

Either way, it looks bad for his office that some of his top lietenants would do something so petty to punish a mayor by causing traffic jams. It’s childish.

But Christie has a lot of time, and as we all know, time heals wounds. He can make up with the base of the party for the 2012 RNC dud, and he can clear himself from the Bridgegate smoke to put that in the rear mirror of voters. He is a second term Governor which is a plus since he is the chief executive of the 11th most populous state.

If speaking honestly is something that resonates well, then being able to articulate a hopeful conservative message without a teleprompter at town halls and debates is a smash hit. His retail politics are second to none. Retail politics is something that can get lost in our PR-spun, focus-grouped world. You can’t teach it; you have to be born with it.

He could barnstorm this race with town halls in Iowa and New Hampshire and turn back the clock to the same passion and momentum he had in 2009. The ability to connect with a joke or a jab is immeasurably important. He is funny; he is passionate; he is real. There is no expensive political air time that can give you that.

Kevin Broderick serves as a consultant for a fortune 500 Insurer in the Employee Benefits marketplace for large employers. He received a finance degree from Providence College. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.


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He could barnstorm this race with town halls in Iowa and New Hampshire and turn back the clock to the same passion and momentum he had in 2009. The ability to connect with a joke or a jab is immeasurably important. He is funny; he is passionate; he is real.
2016 Elections, Chris Christie
Friday, 08 May 2015 09:19 AM
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