I have almost sworn off of watching political news television. It’s too depressing. Every time I watch an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie I see the future. I know now how Reaganites must’ve felt in 1976 when they realized he wouldn’t be our president for at least four more years. I realize that Reagan was defeated in the primary in ’76, and Christie has decided not to run for the primary now, but I can’t help but think he’s the right man in the right time for this country, and I can’t help but think he’s a little selfish for not throwing his hat in the ring. I get this feeling every time I watch the man, so for right now I will avoid watching any interviews with him until my heart can heal.
Before anyone accuses me of fawning over Christie in the sycophantic manner of a Barack Obama supporter, let me say that I have weighed Christie’s negatives. The first, and most prominent negative, currently being tossed around in the media is that Christie took a government helicopter out for private use to fly to his son’s baseball game. When called on the incident, Christie initially refused to pay for the helicopter ride. He then backtracked and gave the state a check for $2,100.00. He paid the money long after the incident proved to be an albatross on his governorship. Such an action is noteworthy, no doubt, but there is no current evidence of a habitual practice of this nature. It has also come out that Christie has “abused” the privilege of the helicopter services far less than any the last three New Jersey Governors, but he still abused that privilege once and once is enough to put it in the negative column.
The only reason I bring up faults, other than to express the fact that I’m not a Obama like fawning devotee, is to state that I am not one who rejects a candidate outright based upon a few faults. He’s made some other bureaucratic mistakes, but what governor, what leader of people hasn’t made a few. We all need to look at our candidates, and I’m not talking about their physical appearance, to see if their positives outweigh their negatives.
Let’s deal with that negative first though. Christie is a large man. There are some videos and pictures of him that make him look obese. We all hate to admit it, but physical appearance has a great deal of weight (no pun intended) in our decision making process. We usually vote for the taller guy, the guy who “appears” more genuine, more honest, and more in control of his facilities. In the past five elections, we have voted for the guy we “would most like to have a beer with”. Christie will probably never win the taller guy contest, and he won’t win the contest of the guy who appears to be in better control of his facilities. Obesity suggests weakness and lack of discipline. Anyone who has seen Chris Christie speak will walk away from that opportunity with the impression that he doesn’t have a problem with either of these characteristics, but his physical appearance suggests otherwise. We haven’t elected an obese president since William Howard Taft, and that was 17 presidents ago and nearly 100 years ago. That having been said, I believe most people would vote for the obese Chris Christie over the more fit looking, taller occupant of the White House.
Ngeative number two: The Pepsi problem. Ezra Klein has said that Christie also suffers from what Klein calls a “Pepsi problem” in that in small doses, people love him, but when they see the breadth of his agenda they like him less. Case in point, Christie doesn’t poll well with women right now.
Women, on the whole, vote with emotion, and there is nothing they are more emotional about than their children. Christie plans an upheaval of New Jersey’s education system. He’s even talked about privatizing portions of the public school system. This upheaval is a shakeup of how things are presently done. Women would prefer that a politician simply throw money at the problem, regardless of whether this money will resolve the problem or not. Women prefer both long term and short term security, and they believe that funding a problem shows that a politician is willing to provide them that security, even if that eventually shows to be ineffective in the long term. “You don’t gamble with our kid’s future,” they say. Privatizing is seen as gambling. Privatizing would be a complete restructuring of the way things are done in New Jersey. Women do not like restructuring, for restructuring speaks of temporary upheaval, and until that upheaval shows results the politician who invokes such change will face the wrath of negative numbers among the contingent affected.
The “Pepsi problem”, as I see it, is a Democrat problem. Democrats apply short term fix after short term fix (money) to appeal to the emotional satisfaction of their voters, until addiction to these short term fixes is accomplished without resolving the problem to everyone’s satisfaction. In this scenario, a scenario fixated on emotion, the theoretical fixes are far more important than the results.
Negatve number three: inexperience. Chris Christie hasn’t even served a full term of an executive office at this point, and we’ve all seen what happens when a man who hasn’t built up enough executive experience tries to run a country. Christie could use some time to see his agendas reach fruition. At this point in history, Christie doesn’t have anything more than rhetoric to run on. As far as I’m concerned it’s excellent, theoretical rhetoric, it’s forceful, and unequivocal, but in the end it is just rhetoric. We’ve had someone win the office of president based on rhetoric, and that didn’t serve us well. Perhaps this is what the Christie camp is taking into account.
Perhaps Christie’s handlers are cautioning him that once all the hype dies down, people will begin focusing on his agenda, and when they look at his agenda they will not see substantial results. At that point, he will only have hope and rhetoric and change to run on.
One never knows what can happen in four years though. A political tragedy could strike, as the media sifts through his background for dirt. Or, God forbid, a personal tragedy could strike. A national tragedy of unimaginable proportions could strike this country in 2012, such as the reelection of Barack Obama. If that happens, it may not matter who runs in 2016. It may be too late. Our economy could drop down to a level where it’s nearly impossible to recover. Christie’s 2016 presidency may be ruined by the attempts to recover from the the malaise caused by Obama’s second term. Anyone who has followed history can surely understand such fears, for they know that such fears were contemplated when James Earl Carter ran for reelection in 1980. Many students of history have suggested that Obama may be worse than Carter. They have also stated the fact—a fact that I consider unimaginable—that Carter led Reagan in the polls as late as the October before the election. How different would this country be with a second four years of Carter? Look at the chaos and devastation he wreaked upon this nation in one four year term. That’s what we’re facing here. If Carter led in the polls as late as October one is left to imagine that the true devastation of his policies weren’t felt on the American public to that point. Could the same be true here? Are we yet to feel even greater devastation from Obama’s policies without the assistance of a Reagan or Christie type to point it out to the American public?
Having said all that, Obama has taught us anything it’s that you strike while the iron is hot, and you make it up as you go along after that. Christie may be relatively inexperienced, but as Tom Daschle said of Obama, that only means he doesn’t have the negatives that the other side can exploit. Is that a cynical approach to the process, maybe, but those of us who saw Obama rise to power can’t avoid pointing it out. Christie has hype, he has charisma, he speaks well, he’s a former lawyer that can discuss minutiae on many levels, and he can sell it to the American people in a no nonsense approach. He would have all the ingredients Obama had in ’08 without the assistance of the media of course.
We could use a Christie-like speaker to announce to the American people that there will be no compromise on spending. He may say that he’s an advocate of compromise, but the current straits of our economy dictate that the compromise Democrats are asking for would be damaging. The left says that we can’t take a “cut spending only” approach, but that’s exactly what we need right now. We’re in our current dilemma due to the outrageous spending of the last five years. The current dilemma has little to nothing to do with the amount of taxes that corporations and individuals are paying right now. We have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world right now. Raising those taxes will do little to nothing to solve our debt. It will merely give cover to those politicians that are responsible for our current straits.
Most real world economists—those that haven’t won a Nobel Prize—agree that increasing taxes on individual Americans or corporations will damage the economy. Most real world economists state that there is no such thing as a true corporate tax that only taxes corporations. Corporations merely pass taxes onto Americans that buy their products. Raising taxes on corporations is a sleazy, and politically popular, way of taxing Middle America without Middle America’s knowledge. Raising any taxes will slow growth in the private sector and give the government more to spend. No offense to any other candidate currently running for the office of the president, but I can’t see anyone selling a message of this complexity to the American people as well as Chris Christie.
Positive number one: Intelligence and quick wit. Media elites, like Katie Couric and Charles Gibson, won’t be able to trip Chris Christie up with silly, inane questions that don’t matter to the American public. He’ll be able to swat them away like the partisan town hall citizens asking partisan questions to try and expose him. Chris Christie would be able to school Obama in a debate. A Christie candidacy would mean that we won’t have to listen to the typical milquetoast, poll driven answers in the debates…from the Republican Party anyway. A Christie candidacy would mean that a real person, with real answers for the problems that plague our nation, would be running for office.
Positive number two: Charisma. At this point in history, Chris Christie appears to be the Republican’s ‘A’ game. He went around the state of New Jersey and explained to the citizens of the state why they needed to get behind state legislation to decrease unionized public union benefits. He did this, it should be noted, in one of the top five most unionized states. He is in the process of selling his agenda with facts and figures in a manner the most radical liberal has to admit is charismatic. He went to the people and explained the legislation in numerous town hall meetings. He shot down naysayers in his audience in a manner some have considered unprecedented. While it may not be totally unprecedented, it sure seems that way. He took his agenda to the blue people of his blue state, to the unionized people of his union state, and he won them over through sheer charisma. His approach is a ‘just the fact’s ma’am’ style of approach many find reminiscent of the fictional character Tony Soprano.
He’s not running for president though. He says this at the end of every interview. He says that after holding the fig leaf out in every interview. I can’t take it anymore. I want to call him selfish and unmindful of what America needs right here and now in history. I want to call him stubborn in the face of the pleas Americans are making in the face of his refusal to run. ‘It doesn’t feel right’ doesn’t cut it anymore. Quit making these appearances and teasing us with the prospect of your candidacy. I don’t mean to insult any of the current crop of candidates, but I can’t get excited about any of them. I only get excited watching one candidate, and he’s not running. I can’t watch it anymore.