New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has the characteristics of a distant planet with a mass so dense as to draw all light back unto itself. The brusque New Jersey governor’s latest feat of celestial magic was to pick October for a special election to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died and left the vacant seat to be filled.
This choice of October has garnered a great deal of attention for Gov. Christie. It provides the distinct impression that Gov. Chris Christie is about winning, more than he is about conservative politics, and will try to walk a fine line supporting both blue state issues like gun control and conservative fiscal policies.
Kind political analysts used the word “pragmatism” to describe Christie’s governing style. Conservatives often prefer to describe him as a northeast liberal Republican— in name only, as the saying goes.
The New York Times points to contradictions in Gov. Christie’s opposition to early voting in New Jersey. The governor complained early voting would cost the state additional millions, but doesn’t seem to mind that the special election he set for October would do the same thing.
The October election scenario has a distinctly self-serving characteristic as Christie faces reelection in November. The New Jersey senate race already has signs of sucking all the air out of the crowded room of New Jersey politic. Christie’s pick of the October special senate election date wouldn’t run the risk of eclipsing Christie 2014, and muddying the waters for Christie 2016.
A lukewarm reelection win for Christie this year wouldn’t be the catapult launch he wants to convince America he’s a viable candidate for president in 2016.
Overall, Christie’s talent for drawing attention to himself has paid off handsomely in terms of popularity.
Cavorting on the devastated New Jersey beaches with President Obama made Christie the brunt of biting criticism among conservative Republicans, but it also worked to his political advantage.
If yesterday’s Wall Street Journal/NBC poll has it right, Christie is more popular with Democrats than with Republicans, something that could be both a blessing and a curse in a national election. On the plus side, the poll shows an even level of support among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, with an approval rating hovering around the 40 percent mark.
To put things in perspective, the poll shows widely disparate figures for Hillary Clinton, sublimely popular with Democrats at an 83 percent approval rating, and as popular as smallpox with only a 15 percent approval rating among Republicans.
In other words, Mrs. Clinton is volatile, either loved and hated, while Mr. Christie holds steady, though more tepid, approval ratings. Gov. Christie seems to have shrugged off the Obama-Christie kumbaya criticism, and seemed not to mind the attention.
Christie’s tried to turn disclosure of his weight problems and subsequent lap-band surgery to advantage by appearing on MSNBC with Mika Brezinski who commiserated while discussing her own book on eating struggles. Star-Ledger reporter Jenna Portnoy described how the New Jersey governor previously tried to keep the surgery secret, even going so far as to undergo the procedure under an assumed name.
The national elections in 2016 may prove to be as sharply contested and bitter as the 2008 and 2012 elections. We are not in Kansas any more. But Christie enthusiasts will at last have a chance to find out whether their man has national chops or whether he merely wants to take his previously scorned keynote spot on the dais of the Republican National Convention.