COMMENTARY | Is it time for Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, to throw his hat into the presidential ring? Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Michael Smerconish thinks the time is right for the portly fiscal conservative and tough talker.
The semi-maverick Smerconish, a nominal conservative who supported President Barack Obama in 2008, states flatly that "Christie's choice in 2012 is as clear as a sunny day on an Ocean City (N.J.) beach." The sense of that declaration is that the choice to run rather than his choice by the general electorate as the presidential winner is clear.
Smerconish's argument is, simply put, that Christie may never be hotter than he is now, and that the governor has worked some genuine fiscal magic in Democratic New Jersey, most recently getting opposition support in the state's legislature for his plan to have state employees contribute more money to their benefit packages.
Now, Christie has been consistently plain that he won't run, apparently believing that two years in office are too few to cut and run for the Washington. (Insert your own unpleasant comparison to Sarah Palin here.) However, arguably, the governor is giving off some mixed signals, among them entertaining two conservative groups from Iowa and South Carolina who recently traveled to the Garden State to talk him into a run.
Well, then, what would candidate Christie's plusses and minuses be as a candidate? On the plus side, he seems to be riding the tide of public disaffection with government spending like an expert surfer. On the minus side is his bull-in-a china-shop approach to some discussions.
In fact, Smerconish points out a recent TV appearance in which the governor fielded a question from a voter about cutting funds for public schools while his own children attend private, Catholic school. The questioner's name was Gail, and Christie responded as follows: "Hey, Gail, you know what? First off, it's none of your business. I don't ask you where you send your kids to school. Don't bother me about where I send mine."
The resulting elitist whiff in the air likely reminded some potential voters that Christie recently had to reverse fields and repay New Jersey for using a state helicopter to go see his son play in schoolboy baseball games. Initially, he had said he wouldn't do that because the chopper use helped him manage his "official" time.Not good, that.
- Chris Christie
- cut and run
- President Barack Obama
- the Republican governor of New Jersey
- Philadelphia Inquirer