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Christie Will Not Run .. The Reason Why is What Makes Him Great

Chris Christie at the Reagan Library, Sept 2011 (AP)

I’m watching Chris Christie’s press conference where he’s announced that he will not seek the Republican nomination for President.  His reason:  he made a commitment to the people of New Jersey.  He wants to stay and finish the job.   Despite the full support of his family and the countless number of people, from ordinary walks of life to the “billionaires”, urging him to run, he felt in his heart that he needed to finish the job he was elected to.  He’s a man of principle.

He believes that his appeal was based upon bold leadership, bringing two opposing sides together to accomplish something.  If it worked in New Jersey, could it work on a national level. 

I, for one, Governor Christie, respect your decision, but am still bummed, not only because of your potential to bring to America what you’re doing in New Jersey, but because of your candor, humor, plain speaking, straight-forwardedness.  

Considering the photo above, finish your work in New Jersey; you may yet be behind that Presidential seal one day.

America’s gotten soft? No, America’s going out of business

Bush.  The Japanese earthquake and tsunami.  Middle East revolutions.  Hurricanes.  Floods.  ATMs.  The Tea Party.  Congressional Republicans.  Now America’s gotten soft. H’mm.  Is there anyone or anything left for the President to blame, besides himself and his own policies.   

Vice President Joe Biden told a South Florida radio station this morning that he and President Obama take responsibility for the state of the U.S. economy, knowing full well that the 2012 election appears to be a referendum on the issue. 

November 2012 can’t come soon enough.

Conservative? Too Conservative? Not Conservative Enough? Give me a break!

The Washington Examiner today has an article, “Some in the GOP See Negatives in Christie’s Record“, which is just making me cringe.  We are just shy of 13 months before the 2012 election, with voters paying more attention to candidates earlier in the electoral season than ever before.  And in some of these editorials and subsequent comments by readers, I’m reading the words of defeat for 2012. 

Chris Christie at the Reagan Library, Sept 2011 (AP)

I’ve been very out front in my desire and hope to see President Obama defeated because I believe his policies, honed through his background and lack of experience in government and/or private sector, are wrong for this country.  In hindsight and opinion, I believe his election was due more to his rhetorical skills and a repudiation of Bush/McCain than his abilities and record.  

So now we have the Republican nominee field, and the constant harping of who’s a real conservative vs. RINO.  Who the Tea Party will support vs. the Republican Establishment.  Give me a break!  Republican strategist, Mike Murphy, said on Meet the Press earlier this year, that if the Republicans aren’t careful, they’ll nominate their version of McGovern.  And the more I read different conservative blogs and reader remarks, I’m beginning to think that reality has some great odds of happening. 

I have my own word to describe all the sanctimonious conservatives out there:  SaintCons.  Those who’ll die on the sword of ideology, rather than find middle ground we can all agree on, and move forward.

No one candidate is perfect and one size fits all.  Each candidate has stands on issues and qualities that appeal to some, like me, middle of the road, and some that don’t. 

In my own, not so humble blog, I’m going to continue to press that sanity prevails in the coming months.  Otherwise, what we fear most will come to pass, the re-election of Barack Obama.

Chris Christie — Is he? Should he?

Over this past weekend, with the Florida straw poll upset victory for Herman Cain, I replayed the June 26, Meet the Press broadcast interview featuring Chris Christie.

Christie is all over the media lately with stories of high-powered donors and other Republican heavy weights calling, pressuring, pleading with him to run.  The word currently out on the street, according to MSNBC, is that the answer is still no, but he’s still accepting phone calls.

The question though, in light of Perry’s plummeting poll numbers after his last abysmal debate,  and Cain’s surprise win in the straw poll (no, I don’t for a minute believe it was a protest vote), is whether Christie would be able to do much better.  According to the buzz, it’s Christie himself, who feels he’s not ready for primetime.  And yet, I’m one voter who thinks he’s selling himself short. 

After watching and listening the MTP interview, Christie may be exactly the candidate the Republicans need to field against Obama.  In my post of September 25, I noted that it’s not only what you say, but how you say it.  Cain’s plain speaking, simple rhetoric about the issues and how he would approach solutions contributed to his success in winning over the audience and voters.  Christie is blunt, straight-forward and doesn’t mince words.

When asked by Gregory if he was too abrasive, too stubborn, too tough, Christie replied,

“you know what people are tired of?  They’re tired of blow-dried, tested answers that are given by political consultants to politicians and everybody sounds the same.  Everybody sounds the same.   I don’t sound the same.  And you know why?  Because I say what I believe from my heart.  And if some people are offended by that, I’m sorry.”

Christie reminds me of another blunt speaking candidate from earlier in the 2011 season, Donald Trump.  His potential candidacy, which many dismissed, still attracted close to 1 million hits on his site.  The Donald gave voice to a number of issues simmering underneath the radar and hit a nerve with many Americans.  His aggressiveness and willingness to take the battle to Obama vaulted him into the near lead of the list of potential Republican nominees.

But as Christie is mulling over whether to run or not, I’m also seeing some imminent dangers as the Republicans vet the nominees.  THE primary objective should be the defeat of Barack Obama in 2012, not whether someone is conservative, too conservative or not conservative enough. I’m reminded of a comment back in June made by Republican strategist, Mike Murphy, on the Meet the Press, when he remarked that the Republicans, if they’re not careful could end up nominating their version of McGovern.  Ideologically, he’s perfect, but totally unelectable. 

We don’t want or need another ideologue occupying the White House.  A Chris Christie candidacy could ignite Republicans and independents alike.  If his stance on certain issues is not in accordance with the Tea Party mantra or other conservative factions, then so be it.  No one candidate is perfect. 

There comes a time in everyone’s life when hard, tough, scary decisions have to be made.  We questions ourselves, “can I do this, am I smart enough, what are the odds I’ll succeed?”  Fortunately George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Henry Ford, George Patton, and Thomas Edison seized the moment.  Sometimes fate chooses our moments of greatness rather than us choosing the when.   Win or lose, for Chris Christie that moment is now.

Herman Cain’s Important Win in Florida

Herman Cain speaking before FL straw poll audience (AP Photo)

No, it wasn’t a fluke. Herman Cain won the Florida 5 Straw Poll very decisively with 37% of the votes cast. And for the Republican hierarchy and more importantly, for the candidates, these results should serve as a wake-up call.

The debates and the questions so far have been focused on the “front runners”, with the second tier candidates politely treated as afterthoughts. However, this past weekend, the Florida voters decided to send a message, loud and clear to the media, candidates, and blogosphere who have made the Republican primaries choosing of THE candidate who can go the distance and defeat Obama their sole focus.

The Cain victory in Florida serves as an important reminder that it’s not only what you say, but how you say it.

I’ve watched every debate thus far, and have listened to the questions asked and the responses/non-responses given. We all expect candidates to be prepared by their handlers, and to have certain rehearsed responses. However, this time it’s different. Long-term unemployment, ongoing home foreclosures, stock market volatility, wages that are not keeping up with increasingly higher prices, have taken their toll on the national psyche and rocked the foundations of institutions, values and beliefs we have always trusted.

In the debate Thursday night, Herman Cain spoke about his own bout with cancer and put a human face, his own, on the crisis facing us with Obamacare. The audience could relate. He is a businessman who started on the proverbial low rung of the ladder, and worked his way up to success. The audience could relate. He stood there on the podium and talked to people, defining the problems and his approach to finding the solutions. All this without the canned responses. To use a current buzz word, he was “authentic”, and the audience could relate. The voters in the straw poll could relate. And they rewarded him with a significant victory.

Herman Cain may not win the nomination, and he may still be considered “tier two” by many, but what his win in Florida did was reinforce the important dynamic that the same ‘ol, same ‘ol way of politicking and speech stumping will not be enough to win over voters this time. Voters are looking for that individual who combines competence, confidence, and real world experience with the common touch. They want to know that he understands their worries, fears and uncertainties, and in some cases, their heartbreak. They don’t necessarily want another Ronald Reagan incarnate, but they do want someone who believes in “Morning in America”, and who has the backbone, toughness, and plain ‘ol gumption to get us there.

Which leads me to Chris Christie……

Fox News … yesterday evening was NOT a debate.

I even tried to sit through the replay, but why torture myself?   I wanted to get a further sense of the candidates, with maybe some more in-depth answers to issues.  The stock market tanked yet again, unemployment claims continue to rise, the entire global financial scene is unraveling, and even China is slowing down.  Yet, from last night’s debate, I think everyone was on another planet, not Orlando, FL, USA.  Where were the questions?  There was more attention paid to the wonders of social media and questions from “around the world” then substantive questions and followup.

Memo to:

  • Future debate sponsors – Wait until the candidate field thins out.  There are too many people on stage with 8 candidates, but adding Gary Johnson to the equation, who has as much chance of winning the nomination as I have, made the entire scene laughable.
  • President Obama and his supporters – Carville doesn’t have it quite right.  Don’t “panic” yet.  After this last debate, you might still pull it out.
  • “Second tier” viable candidates – From my perspective, you are:  Gingrich, Cain, Bachman; one of you could replace Perry.  Stranger things have happened.
  • Governor Perry – Obviously winning the gubernatorial races in Texas did not involve any debates.  You’re going nowhere my friend, unless you develop some chutzpah on stage.  This nomination is not your’s to lose, but to win.  And you’re fading fast in my book.
  • Governor Romney – I have my doubts about you, but you’re slowly winning me over.  Don’t talk so fast, and spend more time getting to know the American people, so they can relate to you and feel comfortable with you as a potential President.  You’re looking good on the debate stage, because Perry looks so bad.  Even some of my Democrat friends say they could vote for you, so you’ve got a shot.
  • Newt Gingrich – Is there any way that we can get you past your personal foibles and make you more palatable to the voters?  You get it, and your answers prove it.  But is it too late?  Stay in there. The Law of Karma may yet work in your favor.
  • Herman Cain – I don’t know how long you’ll remain in the race, but last night was your best effort.  The debate was so bad, your answers actually got people to notice you.  You could be one of the last standing.
  • Michele Bachmann – Not impressed last night.   Red as the power color for women is so 80’s.  With the stage lighting,  you looked like a glowing fire hydrant.  Who are your handlers?  Answers were unmemorable, not that you had many questions in the first place.  Iowa was your first win.  Continue down the path you’re on, and it could be your only.
  • Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson – For your country.  For your party.  Drop out. NOW.  Only your egos are keeping you in the race.
  • Ron Paul – With the onset of Obamacare, looks like we’re going to need more doctors.  You don’t look ready for retirement, so maybe you could return to your roots.

And finally,

  • Bloomberg TV – You’re hosting the next debate, October 11th.  The bar was set by CNN.  Come October time, who knows where this country will be financially, economically.  Hopefully, you’ll omit the gimmicks, and have the moderators who will ask the questions that need to be asked.

The Republican Debate: Take-aways

First comment goes to Nancy Reagan.  She was and always will be, in my opinion, the First Lady.

Debate overall:

  • Too many people on stage.  Will the purported candidates, who have zero chance of winning the nomination, do a Pawlenty and bow out graciously from the campaign?
  • Brian Willians made the best dressed list, but he has a ways to go in debate moderation.  Was that the best that Politico could come up with?
  • How liberal to bring an Hispanic newsman to ask immigration questions.
  • Did Rachel Maddow add anything to the commentary other than to totally twist 180 degrees Perry’s comment on social security.  He did not say anything about ending Social Security.
  • Debate was too long; should be 90 minutes, tops, with more opportunity for longer answers, more give and take, which may be the case when there are fewer candidates.

Candidate Takeaways:

  1. Let’s start with Santorum.  Will someone sit him down and have a ‘come to Jesus meeting with him.’  He’s not even Vice-Presidential material.  Pawlenty time, Rick.  Go Now!
  2. Romney looks better debating than he does on the campaign trail.  I’ve watched him on the nightly news, and when he does his meet and greet with people, he should slow down and talk to them, rather than this crazed, robotic handshaking with the pasted-on smile.  Will people warm up to him?  In these economic times, is “warm” really that important?  Private sector experience may make the difference this election time vs. career politician.
  3. Rick Perry was okay, room for improvement.  First debate, Texas wildfires, I’ll cut him some slack.  Held his own, but I’d watch my language.  “Ponzi scheme” became equated with Madoff, and as much as Social Security may act like a Ponzi scheme, its intent when enacted in the 30’s and subsequent bastardization through the years, was not to defraud.  Politicians made it what it is, and now it needs reforming.  Perry needs to be very clear and specific when talking about this issue so people understand exactly what he means.  He can’t afford to let other people define his position. Overall, he’s got a shot, if he can continue to nail Karl Rove.
  4. Ron Paul was not as wacky, except for the last comment on the border fence.  He must have had a valium, because he came across as more thoughtful and verbally less circuitous.  First time that I listened to him, and didn’t have to say, huh?
  5. Newt.  Wish you could get past your personal foibles, because you had some of the best lines of the evening.  You get it, and the audience relates.
  6. Michele Bachmann did better than the last debate, but clearly IMHO, is not going to be the nominee, nor VP.  I’m one of those people who take the VP slot seriously.  Something happens to the Prez, and the VP better be ready to take over.  She’s not.  That $2/gal gas comment contributes to her undoing.
  7. Huntsman, much better, more airtime, VP material or Cabinet, not President.  Has experience and the personal finances to stay in as long as he wants, or until he becomes a pest.
  8. Cain is nice, sound principles, experienced business man, going nowhere in this campaign.  Another bow out, please.

Finally, the elephant in the room, Sarah Palin.  I’ve warmed up to her lately, but she comes across better in her writing than she does live, at least for me she does.   I don’t think she’ll run, because too many people are not taking her seriously, which is too bad, because she’s not dumb by any means.  She’s had some flubs, but visions and memories of the “Katie Couric” interview are still conjured up by many of the voters out there.  She’ll play a roll in the elections, just not as the nominee.  Besides, she’s making too much money for familial security.