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Friday, January 17, 2014

Chris Christie In Big Trouble (And Not Because of Scandal)

If you close your eyes and listen real hard you will hear the distant sound of crickets chirping, but what you won't hear is the sound of many Republicans passionately defending New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

If the bridgegate scandal has proven anything, it has proven that Republicans just don't like Chris Christie. And much of that dislike has nothing to do policy, it's personal.

For example Politico is reporting that the former Romney team is taking pleasure in the recent struggles of Chris Christie. They see him as a bull in a china shop-type who has little loyalty to party, only caring about his own political future.
There was the New Jersey governor’s barring Romney from raising money in the Garden State, his unwillingness to answer vice presidential vetting questions and his highly autobiographical convention keynote speech. Most of all, though, Romney allies remain resentful of Christie’s embrace of President Barack Obama as the two worked together on Superstorm Sandy relief in the waning days of the campaign, which Romney backers believe boosted Obama’s bipartisan bona fides and cost Romney valuable swing votes.
It's not just the "moderates" in the GOP who are gleeful about the Christie problems. Right or wrong,  conservative party members see the governor as a fiscal conservative and pro-life, but liberal on many other issues as illegal immigration, global warming, and even Obamacare (Christie accepted the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare).

The Wall Street Journal says Christie is selfish:
Mr. Christie is a great talent, a political figure of real and natural gifts. What has jeopardized his position is not that he's gruff, in-your-face, insistent—a bully. It's that he's been selfish. In 2012 he was given a star role, keynote speaker at the GOP national convention. His speech was strong, funny and ran about 2,340 words. But it took around 2,000 of them before he got to a guy named Romney. Everything else was "The greatest lesson that mom ever taught me . . . When I came into office . . . I have an answer." The GOP nominee needed a boost from blue-state man, but there wasn't much in it for blue-state man. He'd only get Republican cooties on him. So he played it like a vanity production and made a speech about himself.
That wasn't a major sin—it's only politics, not policy. But it fit in with his effusive embrace of Mr. Obama in the days before the 2012 election. Any governor would show strategic warmth for a president in charge of ladling out federal money after disaster. But Jersey was about to re-elect president Obama by nearly 18 points, and Mr. Christie wanted to win over Democrats when he ran the next year.

He was already going to win big. But he had to win bigger, had to have more.

Again, not much of a sin. But when Bridgegate came, it seemed to fit the pattern—he'll ding you when he doesn't have to, even if it makes local citizens cry, to gain an advantage, to get more. Whoever made the call, selfishness is at the heart of the scandal.
This doesn't mean Christie won't be the Republican nominee, or even President but it is an indication that his job will be much harder than he thought it would be.

Even if it is proven that the New Jersey Governor knew nothing about Bridgegate, he is now damaged goods and not because he is tinged by scandal, but because he simply is not well liked.

This weekend Christie will be in Florida to appear at several fundraisers for Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Governor's Association, which will defend 20 GOP incumbents this year.

The most important meeting for Christie is a Sunday gathering at the North Palm Beach home of Ken Langone, the Home Depot founder and major GOP donor who wants Christie to run for president in 2016. Langone says he has invited about 150 potential donors to "meet and greet" Christie in hopes that if he runs they will support him.

Money can change opinions, Christie needs to win support of those donors if he is to be able to "make people like him."

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