Is Christie Vulnerable?

Charles Pierce is sputtering over the 31 percent of self-described liberals who voted for Chris Christie on Tuesday.

There is no reason on god’s earth why a self-identified liberal would vote for Chris Christie. He’s a tool of the ascendant oligarchy, awful on women’s rights, terrible on infrastructure, very high on union-busting, and a short-tempered, thin-skinned bully into the bargain. If you’re a New Jersey Democratic legislator who needs a little somethin’-somethin’, I can see why you would support him. But 31 percent of liberals? Please. Because of that number, and because he also got 32 percent of the overall Democratic vote, the Christie ’16 narrative is now set in stone. He’s the Obamist candidate who can bring folks together. He can end the “divisiveness” in our politics, which will be a way for us to anesthetize ourselves to the reality that one of our two major political parties determined that the nation would not be governed by a black man. We will all move on to glory together because of Chris Christie’s healing hand.

I can’t spy I’m terribly surprised, because Christie somehow has done a bang-up job keeping his social wingnuttiness under the radar. I’ve met people I know to be liberals, living here in the Greater New York City area, who have decided Christie is an OK guy. They genuinely have no idea how right-wing he really is. They often assume he is an Obama supporter.

Had the New Jersey Democratic Party establishment actually run against Christie rather than throw their candidate under the bus, there is no doubt in my mind that election would have been a lot tighter. Christie would still have been the likely winner, but not 60 to 38 percent, or whatever it was. And were it not for Hurricane Sandy, it would have been a real race.

Here’s the point: I think Christie would find a national campaign a lot less forgiving, especially since the national Dem party is not going to be so accommodating. He’ll still be given a lot of passes by news media, but one hopes there would be some opportunities to force him to take public stands on abortion and marriage rights and other social issues.

Christie’s other vulnerabilities are that a big chunk of the GOP base hates him as a RINO. And I’m also not sure how well his New Jersey tough boy shtick will wear West of Pennsylvania.

So, while Chris Christie certainly looks like the most viable candidate the Republicans might rally behind in 2016, he’s not invulnerable. And he’s going to have a fight on his hands for the nomination.

Update: See also Chris Christie: All Coat, No Tail by Dave Weigel. The results of the NJ governor’s race do not tell the whole story.

16 thoughts on “Is Christie Vulnerable?

  1. Christie right now is where Romney was in 2009/2010—the presumed “adult in the race” for the GOP establishment to rally around. He might be able to parlay that into the nomination, but he’ll have the same problem Romney had w/ the base: minimal enthusiasm.

  2. maha,
    BooMan has a pretty good explanation for Christie’s popularity with Democrats and Liberals – it’s the hurricane:

    And – OY!!! – I’m betting that the Sunday “Yakkity-yak, I’ve got your’s, if you’ve got my back” “news” gab-fests, will be all Christie, all of the time!
    In all of the MSM’s new, “Even a Republican in a Blue state can… blah-blah-blah-dee-blah-blah!”

    And no one will mention how badly he’s treated union people who came to talk with him, ‘kicking-down’ on them from this lofty position and mansion.

    Or how obstructionist he, himself, was, when it came to the federal government paying for desperately needed commuter and freight train tunnels between NY and NJ.

    Or, what a willing Koch-brothers ‘kiss-up’ ball-fluffer he is.

    Or, how corrupt he and his brother were/are.


    He’s the MSM’s new beloved boy-toy.

    David Broder would be so proud!

    A Republican tough-guy, who gets Democrats to concede!

    His grave must be glowing.

  3. So looking forward to Christie tearing the GOP apart come 2016. Agree with you that his carefully cultivated “reaonsable” image is going to melt quite a bit under the hot sun of the 2016 campaign run.

  4. Meh. If the FDA bans trans fats as is the big rumor this morning, Christie will starve to death long before 2016.

    (So will I, probably. Beginning to think that would be a mercy.)

  5. I don’t see Christe as rabid as many of his possible GOP contenders if 2016 proves to be his ambition.. But once he gets into the GOP snake pit he’s going to have to make some tough choices about who he really is. How do you tactfully— on the national stage— blow-off people like Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz without blowing off the following that they attract? It could be that they have nowhere else to go, but basically he’s going to be required to overcome the GOP’s current dilemma of in house division.

  6. Christie will have an extremely difficult time on the national campaign trail. I do think the Tea Party candidates will do him significant damage during the primaries for obvious reasons, and from what little I’ve read about the man, he appears to have an an extremely thin skin. Push him hard enough and there’s little doubt he’ll treat the viewing public to one of his famous tantrums.

  7. I keep hoping Christie is smart enough to stay out of 2016, instead of seeing himself as the answer to the disintegration of the GOP ahead. I think his national credibility is that he didn’t cut off his nose to spite his face after Sandy, and very practically worked to rebuild his state, even if it meant being nice to Obama. That level of ‘common sense’ is refreshing in the new GOP.

    But even some of us far away remember him cancelling the tunnel to NYC, so we know he can be stupid. And while he isn’t as smarmy or southern as a Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, his ‘tough guy’ New Jersey schtick is just a fraction of an inch away from angry bully, and he could get provoked pretty easily.

    None of which will prevent the punditry from making him their dream date, until they get tired of him and find another. It’s what they do.

  8. OT…But somebody has to make mention of Rand Paul’s signing on with Breitbart News. That’s kinda like falling off a cliff and hitting a ledge on the way down. It’s bizarre!
    Once one of my psychologists gave me one of those word association tests where you speak the first thought that comes into your mind upon hearing certain words. When I hear the name Breitbart two images come to my mind.. One is James O’Keefe doing his pimpdaddy routine as Rooster trying to stereotype “them”. And the other is a picture of Anthony Wiener’s scrotum.. It might be the conservative in me, but I don’t think I’d want to make an association with the name Breitbart News.

  9. “Or how obstructionist he, himself, was, when it came to the federal government paying for desperately needed commuter and freight train tunnels between NY and NJ.
    ” I thought the Feds should have overruled him and built it anyway. States rights are hardly as expansive as the GOP seems to want to believe, and, besides, it’s an interstate commerce issue.

  10. Let’s not forget that CC has held on to, or given to cronies, a big chunk of the federal relief funds that were supposed to go toward rebuilding.

    Also, a lot is being/can be made of the insurance companies’ reluctance to part with needed/earned funds for “insured” victims…

  11. Between his weight and temperament, he’s a heart attack waiting to happen.that’s all I’ve got.

  12. Say what you will about his policies, which are fiscal conservative through and through, he’s a slick politician. He saw the schism between TP obstructionism and voter expectations a year ago when he dissed the TP by thanking Obama in the last gasp of the election. Had Romney won, which the GOP was predicting, that might have backfired. The man bet he would never need the support from that quarter so he blew them off with style.

    Don’t get me wrong. I disapprove of nearly all that he stands for. But if you try to put him in the same class of stupid as Rick Perry, you underestimate the man, which he would probably prefer because you give him the advantage.

    Can he be beaten? Hell, yes. You have to get the truth out. The man thinks lower taxes (for the rich) will cure all ills. That’s the snake oil that Bush sold and delivered. There was no prosperity, except for the rich. He can be beaten on the issue of fair taxes IF voters are conditioned to expect that a balance of tax reform must be balanced with surgical spending cuts. When pushed to it, CC must admit (not in these words) he wants to take a chain saw to spending, combined with MORE tax cuts.

    I predict that in the primaries, that’s going to be his promise (economic growth via tax cuts for all). After sequestration, we are to bare bone. WHERE can the cuts happen? Or are you going to drive up the national debt? Romneycare made opposition to Obamacare irrational. Sequestration will trip up CC – he thinks he can channel Reagan and sell lower taxes… But there is no way the numbers can work.

  13. We are actually seeing the “vetting” process by the GOP…they really didn’t want to go through that fiasco from 2012…The “clown car” process…we are seeing the Clown Parade…the GOP “dark money” folks want to know where to waste LESS money, and get better results…the Koch boys are not stupid, nor are they concerned for our country…CC is the current “golden boy” for now…this is almost like watching a meteor shower…first a bright light, followed by a trail of glowing gasses, ending in a final explosion or impact with the earth…

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