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 a recent post, 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 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 them. Win or lose, for Chris Christie that moment is now.