In the coming months, Mitt Romney will commit gaffes, lose the message in multiple news cycles, and offer up frustrating policy proposals. He will also inspire the Tea Party faithful with moments like his victory speech on April 25th, where he outlined a clear vision of a great and competitive America that is free of class warfare and unnecessary dependence on government. How should a frustrated conservative electorate filter this coming whirlwind and set expectations for their latest presidential candidate? The answer to figuring out this former blue-state governor may lie in a current one.
Former District Attorney, current NJ governor, and potential vice-presidential nominee Chris Christie has become a national conservative icon. His acid tongue has lashed out at unions, the Jersey Shore cast, Warren Buffett, US Senators, and even the President of the United States. He has also reformed the public employee entitlement system that was bankrupting the state. Depending on whose side you’re on, Christie is either a fearless warrior or an intimidating bully. Conservatives believe he is on their side, and the prospect of unleashing him on a national stage to take on President Obama electrifies the base.
However, Christie didn’t become a fire-breathing conservative warrior until after he got elected. In his primary campaign, Christie ran as the ‘establishment candidate,’ positioning himself to the left of conservative Steve Lonegan. Once he was free of his GOP primary shackles, Christie marched even further left. Seeking to placate NJ liberals, his campaign avoided the issue of property tax relief, even though it was just behind jobs and the economy as the top issue of the 2009 campaign. To cover for his perceived incompetence on the issue, Christie awkwardly broached the subject of his strategic insouciance, “[T]he strategy decision is not something I’m generally engaged in.” This interesting take on the candidate’s role in managing his campaign prompted one conservative insider to comment, “Christie is running the worst campaign I’ve ever seen. Everyone knows that there’s a tax revolt going on except the Christie campaign.” In addition, Christie has also voiced support for the concept of manmade global warming and commented that “being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime.”
Christie halted a precipitous drop in the polls when he responded to a veiled jab at his weight by the Jon Corzine campaign. “Man up and say I’m fat.” The future governor flashed the fiery grit that may have won him the election, helped him launch a fiscal revolution in the Garden State, and would eventually elevate him as a national Republican icon. The rest is YouTube. Continue reading