Can Chris Christie win the GOP nomination?

Chris Christie poking fun at himself on David Letterman

Chris Christie poking fun at himself on David Letterman


There’s a new “Happy Warrior” on the political scene — and an unlikely one, since critics have long called him a bully with anger-control issues.

But consider Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.): He has repeatedly clashed with conservatives in his party over his more moderate positions and unapologetic willingness to reach across the aisle. His national media appearances poking fun at himself have bolstered his national image, and a recent poll declared him the only potential 2016 candidate with presidential election crossover appeal. But can he seriously hope to get his litmus-test-fixated party’s nomination?

You can make the case either way. But one thing is for sure: Christie’s national profile is growing faster than his impacted-by-weight-loss-surgery waistline is shrinking.

“Happy Warrior” — a phrase first used in a poem by William Woodsworth — has been applied to politicians who ooze the love and joy of politicking, like Democrats Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt and Republicans Ronald Reagan and John McCain. That’s a major turnaround for Christie, who has a full page of YouTube videos featuring him cutting short or raging at critical constituents or the press. How did he change? An event beyond his control softened his image.

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22 Comments

  1. Unless the GOP undergoes a radical transformation between now and 2016, not a chance in hell. We’ll have to see how the midterms go. If the GOP runs Tea Party types and gets absolutely creamed, maybe someone like Christie will have a shot in ’16 if they come to their senses. But if the voters don’t give the GOP a clear message in ’14 about running far right conservative ideologues, we’ll see someone much more like Michelle Bachmann get the nod than someone like Christie.

  2. Christie is popular, with the people anyway if not with his own party. Although his latest move to use govt funding to promote himself and state is not a popular move with the more conservative Reps, it hasn’t seemed to damage his overall appeal for an outspoken, tell-it-like-it-is, “regular” guy kind of politician.
    This could be a really great image for the Republican party or it’s final swan dive.

  3. Completely agree with Mr slamfu

  4. I am willing to give the guy a chance. But, any candidate that is a left-leaning Democrat or a right-leaning Republican is not going to get my vote. It is way past time for some moderation in our politics.

  5. sheknows, Christie is not popular with the base of the GOP. I agree with slamfu that a major shift would have to occur in the Republican Party between now and 2016 for him to get the nomination.

  6. Perhaps you are right Jim and Slam. It sure looks like New Jerseyites absolutely love him though….and even a few Dems can actually give him a chance. But as you say…the whole mentality of the red party would have to change after a huge TP defeat for them to seriously consider him.

  7. “Christie is not popular with the base of the GOP.”

    Jim, not a rhetorical question; what do you mean by ‘not popular with the GOP base’? Do you mean elected office holders or potential voters?

    I ask because I have been referred to as a leftwing nutter on right leaning blogs and a rightwing nutter on left leaning blogs — for saying the same thing.

    So the term “base” is confusing to me. I get the feeling ‘the base’ is like trying to define progressives as Dems // or conservatives and Repubs. They don’t seem to be congruent, let alone represent most moderates (left and right).

    More and more the term “the base” seems to represent something on both sides that I want nothing to do with.

    Thanks in advance for your valued input.

  8. I’d like to think there’s a “major turnaround,” but I’m waiting. I want a lot of time to pass before the final verdict is in on any changes.

  9. Well this base of the GOP thinks he is arrogant, crude and egotistical with a short fuse and I didn’t like him before Sandy either.

  10. Does anyone have an opinion as to how he doing Governing?

    For all his faults, I typically like people that you don’t have to guess what they are thinking.

  11. dduck, like I said to Jim, help me understand what ‘the base’ on the left and right are. I am trying to get a consensus about terminology so that I comment accurately.

  12. Being myself a couple decades removed from my affiliation with the GOP, I can only comment on their “base” as an outsider. Yet it seems to me that this:

    He has repeatedly clashed with conservatives in his party over his more moderate positions and unapologetic willingness to reach across the aisle.

    Is the biggest stumbling block for Christie. If his performance in the aftermath of Sandy is any indication, he seems willing to drop partisanship when serious work needs to be done.

    From my perception of the “base” of the right wing, this is a liability.

    I consider the “base” to be the activists within the party. The people who show up to vote in primaries. The folks who volunteer for campaigns and act as delegates and run precinct committees. The people who shout down “RINOs” at town hall meetings. The people who donate money…from small individual donors to folks who fork out the monthly salary of small individual donors in order to sit at a fundraising dinner. People who are movers and shakers or fancy themselves as such.

    These people are not interested in a candidate who bear-hugs the hated Muslim Kenyan Socialist Obama the day that the wind blows a little too hard.

  13. Thanks for sharing that, cjjack.

    Who are the base of the left?

  14. Who are the base of the left?

    I don’t know. If you were looking to get a similar perspective as mine, you’d have to ask that of a former Democrat who’d abandoned the party.

    But here’s the thing…I left the Republican party because they tilted too far to the right. The Democratic party hasn’t tilted too far to the left at all. In fact they’ve tilted to the center.

    If you took what compromises “the left” in America and plopped it down on just about any other continent, it would be considered center-right.

  15. “I don’t know.”

    “These people are not interested in a candidate who bear-hugs the hated Muslim Kenyan Socialist Obama the day that the wind blows a little too hard.”

    I also left the Republican party.

  16. I’d still like to know who the left and right base are.

  17. I can define the base of the right for you. Its registered GOP voters who vote in primaries that were stupid enough to think even for a second that Bachmann, Perry, Cain(for the love of God), and Santorum were capable of being a president. The people that gave Newt Gingrich not one, not two, but THREE comebacks in the same primary cycle as they just couldn’t bear to vote for Romney, the only guy in the clown car with a shot in the general election. When we speak of the GOP “base”, those are the people we are talking about.

  18. Take that, KP.

  19. slamfu, I appreciate your honesty. I don’t know what is meant when bloggers describe the “base”. Half way there now. Hopefully you can be as insightful when it comes to the describing the base of the left?

  20. Can’t wait for that one.

  21. KP..I would define the left base as registered D voters, who watch to MSNBC in the am to find out what to be outraged about,and watch the Daily Show at night for the unbiased news. :)

  22. sheknows, I knew I could count on you for a Saturday smile :)

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