New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly said he is not running for president. But one of his predecessors who has known Christie for decades says he is now at least thinking about it.Kean Confirms Christie Boomlet: ‘It’s Real’
Former governor Tom Kean told the National Review Online that the chatter around Christie's change of heart in recent days is "real."
Republicans are clamoring for a candidate who will be able to energize the base and beat President Obama in a general election. Erstwhile front-runner Mitt Romney is widely seen as one of the strongest Republican candidates in a general election, but the most conservative parts of the party are less than thrilled with a candidate who was once governor of left-leaning Massachusetts.
Christie, as governor of Democratic New Jersey, may run into the same problem with Republican primary voters, who tend to be have the most conservative views of the party.
In New Jersey, however, Christie's approval rating has risen sharply since he signed into a law a dramatic revamp of pension and health benefits for state workers in June.
About 54 percent of voters in his state now approve of his performance as governor, while 36 percent disapprove, according to a poll released Tuesday by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind. That's a 10 point increase from the 44 percent approval in May, when about 44 percent also disapproved, and the highest approval rating for Christie since taking office after ousting former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009.
The National Review Online reports Kean Confirms Christie Boomlet: ‘It’s Real’
Former New Jersey governor Tom Kean, who has known Chris Christie since he was a teenager and remains an informal adviser, tells National Review Online that the governor is “very seriously” considering a presidential bid.Unsatisfactory Field
“It’s real,” Kean says. “He’s giving it a lot of thought. I think the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple weeks ago.”
Christie remains undecided, Kean says, but is listening closely to pleas from party leaders. The chance for a “Jersey guy” to rise, Kean says, is not something Christie has sought. But now, with the field up for grabs, he is actively mulling a late entry.
“More and more people are talking to him,” Kean says. “He’s getting appeals from major figures around the country.” Kean, for his part, is also encouraging the first-term Republican to jump in. “He is the best speaker I may have ever heard in politics,” he tells me.
“In an era when most people suspect that politicians read polls and then tell you what they think, people don’t believe he’s that kind of a fellow,” Kean says. “He tells you what he thinks, period. We like that around here.”
“A lot of people are not satisfied with the field,” Kean says. “I know he’s getting advice from all sides.” In coming days, “he’s not going to tease anybody.” If circumstances do change — and Kean makes no predictions — “he’s not going to hide it.”
I'm not satisfied with the field. I think it's safe to say independents in general are not satisfied with the field.
I back Ron Paul but do not think Paul can win. Furthermore, I may write in Ron Paul even if he does not win the nomination. That is how much I dislike the rest of the Republican field.
My position was the same in 2008. I could not stomach a McCain/Palin ticket. I wrote in Ron Paul.
However, if Christie is the nominee, I will do whatever I can to help the Governor.
In spite of long-odds Christie has helped turn the state of New Jersey around. Moreover, he has above a 50% rating in spite of the fact that he has stepped on many unions toes. I see no indication that Christie is beholden to banks, and he certainly is not beholden to unions.
Independents Need Someone to Rally Around
It is highly likely independents will swing the next election. They voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 and abandoned Democrats in the mid-term elections.
Can independents rally around Mitt Romney? I can only speak for myself, not independents in general. I can't support Romney. Nor can I support Perry who has made an enormous number of gaffes recently, anyone of which can sink him in the general election were he to win the nomination.
On the other hand, Chris Christie is honest, does not mince words, is not beholden to anyone and has a tremendous fiscal track record in New Jersey. If he can stay away from the political hotbed issues of abortion by taking a modest, middle-of-the-road stance, that too would help him with independents.
Light My Fire
The Republican nominee will capture the far-Right vote. They are not going to vote for Obama, nor will they stay away from the election. Thus, it would be a serious mistake for Republicans to rally around a far-Right platform when it may cost them dearly with independents.
A fiscal conservative like Christie can light a fire with independents in a way the other Republicans can't.
Battle for the Middle
Not much is known about Christie on other than Fiscal issues. He can easily put together a platform that would appeal to everyone but unions, the far-Left, and the far-Right.
The far-Right will vote for Christie 8-days a week. The far-Left and unions will vote for Obama 8-days a week. The middle, not the Left or Right is where the battle will be won or lost.
All we need now is a decision from Christie to throw his hat in the ring with a strong, fiscally conservative message, and middle-of-the-road ideas elsewhere.
If Christie does that, he will not only ignite enthusiasm, he will win the nomination and the general election as well.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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