Chris Christie Is a Big Political Flirt

His long presidential candidate-tease isn't fair to those who are really running

There is a lot to like about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He is the right man at the right time for a tough job in New Jersey. His 54 percent approval shows that most in New Jersey agree with me. The Republican Governor was able to work with Democrats in the New Jersey legislature to do, as Christie like to say, “big things.” The Governor’s ability to lead and compromise in New Jersey is a sharp contrast to the obstinate, politically driven gridlock in Washington.

And although most people like that he walks the walk, it is the talk they really like. Christie’s plainspoken tough talk has resonated well past New Jersey’s borders to the point that millions want him to run for president.

Christie has said many, many times in many, many ways that he is not running under any circumstances.

But if he is not running “under any circumstances,” why does he keep acting like he is running? Why are there constant leaks to the press that he is considering it? He certainly knew that his speech at the Reagan Library last night would get national attention and fuel speculation that he IS running.

The speech, by the way, was brilliant. But it sounded a lot like a campaign speech, like a guy ready to jump into the race. Is he? Or is this the continuation of the biggest political tease in modern history?

After his speech, a woman in the audience begged him to run for president for her children, her grandchildren and the country. Christie continued the long national flirt by saying he was “touched” by the woman’s passion, but the desire to run has to be “inside” Christie.

This is the Governor Christie I don’t like so much. The ant-politician is acting very much like a politician. If he is not running, he has to stop acting like he might be. His words say absolutely “no,” but his actions say “maybe.”

It is disrespectful to the current candidates, the ones who have thrown their names into the race, for Christie to keep stealing the attention. He needs to stop waving the crowd off with one hand while begging for more with the other. As my mother used to say, “Get in or stay out.”

In his speech at the Reagan Library, Christie attacked President Obama for not having the courage to lead. How much courage does it take to heckle from the sidelines?

Or as President Theodore Roosevelt, a man who many compare Chris Christie to, once famously said:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

Larry Mendte writes for The Philly Post every Thursday. See his previous columns here. To watch his video commentaries, go to Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @LarryMendte.