Purveyor of Truth
Say what you will about New Jersey Governor Christie but he has been steadily impressive in the GOP debates. Not great, but impressive. He is articulate, informed, connects with the viewing audience by speaking directly to therm, and arguably has been an effective republican governor in a state whose legislative branch is controlled by democrats. Christie, just like republican governors of Massachusetts who have had to work with a democratic legislative body, has shown the ability to run a state with divided government and yet get things accomplished.
Whether or not Governor Christie can get the traction necessary to mount an effective campaign overturning Trump, Cruz, or Rubio is a long shot. Some, like Edward Morrissey, believe it in the realm of possibility. In any case, if your preference is for a republican that views pragmatism and the ability to work effectively with the opposition party it might be worth your time to consider him. If nothing else he isn't Trump, or Cruz. Candidates who very likely will be easily beaten by Hillary Clinton.
The Fiscal Times... Staring directly into the camera, the governor from New Jersey said, “If your eyes are glazing over like mine, this is what it’s like to be on the floor of the United States Senate. I mean endless debates about how many angels on the head of a pin, from people who’ve never had to make a consequential decision in an executive position.”
Christie then reminded viewers, not for the first nor for the last time that the legislators on stage did not have to assume personal responsibility for securing the safety of constituents. “They continue to debate about this bill and in the subcommittee,” Christie argued, and “nobody in America cares about that. What they care about is are we going to have a president who actually knows what they're doing to make these decisions?”
This moment captured the essence of the debate perfectly, however. A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows confidence ebbing in the Barack Obama administration to protect the nation from terrorist attack. A majority of 56 percent now says they have less confidence in the government stopping a large-scale terrorist attack – and 77 percent worry more now that the US is not ready to stop “a lone-wolf attack.” This atmosphere of frustration and disillusion prompted the national-security focus of the debate.
Christie leveraged the opportunity into a platform that highlights his executive experience, specifically on terrorism. Christie reminded viewers that his administration “stopped Fort Dix from being attacked by six American radicalized Muslims from a Mosque in New Jersey because we worked with the Muslim American community to get intelligence…. This is the difference between actually been a federal prosecutor, actually doing something, and not just spending your life as one of hundred debating it.”
So Christie seized the moment. Can he run with it? That question becomes complicated by his current lack of traction in national polling, but his single-state strategy may pay off.
At one point, Christie had been a favorite of conservatives for his blunt, no-apologies style and aggressive approach to reform in New Jersey. He lost favor by figuratively embracing a more moderate approach on gun rights, and by literally embracing Barack Obama the week before the 2012 election during Hurricane Sandy. Christie has emphasized a more pragmatic approach to governance – a necessity for a governor whose legislature is controlled by the opposing party – that rankles an anti-establishment electorate already inclined to reject current party leadership.
Yet Christie’s strategy over the past few months has focused on New Hampshire almost exclusively. While he polls within the margins of error nationally, Christie now challenges for second place in the Granite State and their first-in-the-nation primary, thanks to considerable time and organizational effort spent in the state. Even without the raised stakes in national security, Christie’s pragmatic approach to governance will appeal to New Hampshire voters.
Pragmatism was a continuing theme among voters I interviewed for my upcoming book on the 2016 general election...
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