Could Chris Christie Become President?

His brash, no-B.S. style has made Americans on both sides of the aisle fall for him. But can the Chris Christie Phenomenon take the Governor Next Door all the way to the White House in 2016?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plans to run for President in 2016.

“It’s just crazy and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”

That was classic Chris Christie, two years ago this month in response to criticism after he appointed a Muslim lawyer named Sohail Mohammed to the New Jersey Superior Court. Christie was fed up with the spread of baseless linkage between his nominee and Sharia law, which is when he channeled Jack Nicholson from As Good as It Gets.

It wasn’t the first—or last—time he’s suggested that crazy be sold someplace else.

In the aftermath of the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary, the NRA aired a commercial that called President Obama “just another elitist hypocrite” for opposing armed guards in American schools while his own daughters get Secret Service protection (overlooking, of course, the unique risks faced by children of a sitting president).

Christie pounced. “Reprehensible” is what he called the NRA ad.

It’s why we like him. Indeed, it’s why he’s become a phenomenon, beloved by regular Joes and celebrities alike. (At the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner, my conversation with Christie was interrupted by a fawning Tracy M­organ.) He’s what we’ve been waiting for: a no-B.S. politician who refuses to empanel a focus group or put his finger to the wind before telling us what he thinks. A New Jersey-style Republican—meaning a c­entrist—who is willing to reach across the aisle, even if it means alienating his party’s normal constituencies, to do the right thing.

In the short term, that authenticity will continue to serve Chris Christie well. A Rutgers-Eagleton poll in June charted his 70 percent approval rate; he held a gargantuan $4 million fund-raising edge over a Democratic opponent you’ve likely never heard of (Barbara Buono).

It’s the next step that’s more complicated. Is he too real to be elected president? Will those same attributes that win him plaudits and essentially guarantee his reelection this November ultimately prove to be his limitation nationwide?

That he wants to run in 2016 seems certain, given the election calendar he contrived after the passing of U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. Instead of scheduling the Senate general election on the same date as his own gubernatorial contest, he set the former for three weeks prior to his own, lest having Cory Booker on the ballot diminish his own margin and lessen his national appeal.

But if you ask me, for the man George W. Bush fondly nicknamed “Big Boy” to become the first New Jersey politician since Woodrow Wilson to be elected president, he’ll need to overcome two major obstacles: his party and his mouth.

Neither will be easy to do.

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  • MN324

    I would vote for Christie in a heartbeat!!

    • pitbullstew

      wow one person in three months would vote for christie here in a heart beat? I guess every one else is stuck in traffic at the George Washington Bridge then huh?

  • pitbullstew

    BTW? The oft repeated mantra is that Chrisite won re election in a landslide. How it could be called a land slide when it turned it was announced as the lowest voter turn out in the history of New Jersey really is hutzpah
    Official numbers show record low voter turnout for Christie ……/official_numbers_show_nov_5_governor_election_had_ lowest_tu…
    Dec 3, 2013 … Not only did the results show Gov. Chris Christie winning, but they confirmed that the election had the lowest voter turnout of any New Jersey …

  • TKroll

    I am sure Mr. Christie is saddened and heartbroken that his minions got caught. But I am also sure that with Christie’s brand of Jersey politics, those who got caught will, in the future be rewarded for falling on their swords and for keeping “radio silence”.
    His LOYAL friends knew him, knew what would place them in his favor, also knew what would anger him…..they had hoped for a pat on the back and a “well done”, instead they got caught and like Mission Impossible, they were on their own and their actions disavowed by the one who put them there.

  • Pete Joachim

    Christie is a narcissist who holds grudges – that’s been his motis operandi his whole political career in NJ. Like he’s got this angry monkey on his shoulder always chirping at him and he can’t get rid of him. His #1 goal is himself. His goal in NJ is/was to get the state’s books in order so he could say – “look at me, I fixed the budget, I made the tough choices” – and that would project very well nationally, especially on the conservative side of both aisles. The problem is – his way is all about the end result, be damned any collateral damage or any long term planning (aka – the Lincoln tunnel project, kill teachers & public schools, infrastructure, no state insurance exchange). Sure he’ll accept $ from the feds (Sandy) (a federal healthcare exchange), cause he knows it’ll only help his state’s bottom line – and that means he looks good nationally. He could probably care less about all the social issues that keeps the GOP a few generations in the past. So he could / could’ve been the “guy”, if only he could get his ego under control. The cards are/have been set for him perfectly, but he is getting in his own way. He didn’t have to be the bully. But his true nature is killing his chances at the WH in 2016.