Opinion: Hope and Optimism Killed Christie’s Chances

By Art Gallagher

christie1Governor Chris Christie has been called, by friend and foes alike, the best political communicator since Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton. Yet, after abandoning his post in New Jersey for the better part of two years in his quest for the presidency, the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire were unmoved by his talent.

As pundits and strategists dissect Christie’s failure, so far none have pointed to the obvious: Christie’s entitlement reform plan. Christie promised a harder future.

Donald Trump’s campaign in a variation of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.  “Yes we can” has been replaced by “Make America Great Again.”

We still can. Trump’s the man to make it happen and it will be easy.  He’ll make great deals. Mexico will pay to build a wall to keep their rapist and drug dealers out of our country. China will send our jobs back and forgive our debt, because we have all the leverage and Carl Ichan will help him. Trump promises to succeed, easily, where others have failed because he is a smart businessman and the political class is greedy and inept.

Trump didn’t take the tough guy position away from Christie.  He took the Merlin the Wizard (of Arthur and Monmouth legend) mantle that Obama used to put the country under his spell in 2008.

Bernie Sanders’ message is a variation on Trump’s. Instead of taking from Mexico and China, Bernie will take from the American elite.

Christie promised that we would have to retire later with less.  Many Americans are faced with that reality today, as they lost their fortunes over the the last eight years. Christie didn’t offer any hope in his presidential campaign. He said life would get really bad if we don’t intentionally sacrifice and impose discipline upon ourselves now. Christie’s message was a realistic one that he couldn’t sell while Trump, and all of the other candidates on both sides of the aisle are selling hope and change without pain.

This morning Christie is confronted with the choice of whether to suspend his presidential campaign today or at the end of the month after losing in South Carolina.  He is confronted with reestablishing himself as the leader of a state government that he hasn’t led since he was reelected in 2013.  He says he’s led New Jersey, walking and chewing gum at the same time via cell phone, while he traveled the country chasing his own ambitions, but he hasn’t been a leader, he’s been at best a controlling administrator who wouldn’t let others lead or flourish in his absence.

Can Christie regain the trust of New Jersey’s citizens who resent his broken promises to turn Trenton upside down and rebuild from Sandy? Will he further damage a New Jersey Republican Party that he has squeezed all the juice out of for his own ambition? Will be come home looking to settle scores? Or will he be the leader we hoped his was in 2009 when we elected him.

When running for the GOP nomination for governor in 2009, Christie promised he would govern as a Republican and as if he only had one term and without regard for politics.  He acknowledged that he would not have a cooperative legislature and he said he would use the bully pulpit of the Governor’s Office to get the public to pressure the legislature to pass his conservative agenda.

The likelihood that a lame duck Christie who has been a part time governor for over two years can now come back to New Jersey and win back the support of the people who now resent him in order to finish “turning Trenton upside down” is remote.   If anyone can do it, he can.  I hope he tries.



Posted: February 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, New Jersey, Opinion | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on “Opinion: Hope and Optimism Killed Christie’s Chances”

  1. He will come back a vindicative lame duck said at 10:46 am on February 10th, 2016:

    Art, you hit the nail on the head with this one.

    This petty, vindictive lame duck, knows nothing but revenge and retaliation. This time around, people will no longer fear him, but mock him. He will be the butt of jokes. He has lost too much credibility over his second term to re-establish support of the vast majority of New Jerseyan’s that supported him. In essence, he betrayed them–betrayed them all.

    He used us! Yes, he used us. He used our support, and our hard earned tax dollars to support and pursue his personal ambitions to be president. He knows there is nothing left for him in terms of higher office in NJ. He can only hope to get a cabinet position under future president Donald Trump. But that is remote, since CC has badmouthed the Donald, again, in his personal pursuit of the White House.

    Word of Caution: For all you sheep—yes, Republican lawmakers that appear on the below list of Christie supporters—your re-election is in big jeopardy! (Thanks John Curley for not being on it). Two members of LD-11 already lost their job for failing to call out the unethical Christie. Who will be next?


  2. Handlin and Kyrillos not on list!!! said at 10:54 am on February 10th, 2016:

    I am happy to report Senator Joe Kyrillos is not on the list and Assemblywoman Amy Handlin is also not on the list.

    Kudos to both of you

  3. Well, said at 11:30 am on February 10th, 2016:

    one could interpret that to Kyrillos thinking he’d get more from Bush, who is still sinking-he was never able to move up here, congress, senate, party chair, basically he is “stuck”..and, Amy was always about Amy, she has two good gigs,with having done little to get them- never raised much money, doesn’t enjoy the “germs”of hand- shaking, and basically is a well- educated political anomaly, in a safe district: read, nobody really cares whom she would support.. Sorry, it’s just the truth..

  4. Horace Greeley said at 10:36 pm on February 11th, 2016:

    Christie has set the Republican Party of NJ back at least 35 years. Not all his fault — it has been in retreat since the second term of another Christie (Whitman) who also tired of governing. No party building in this state whatsoever. None!
    The Governor could have come into office as an Elliot Ness type figure who locked up the political bad guys. Instead he embarked on a Quixotic mission against public employee unions which only served to energize those very unions like they’ve never been energized — just what we need, right? We now have a stronger Democrat party than we’ve seen in a generation, and the only major corruption investigation would seem to be the democrat-led and potentially bogus Bridgegate.
    (As to the LD 11 debacle: A result of wheeled money from all over the state, as well as union activity. But some shore area Republicans are known to have collaborated with Democrats in that one. And Randy Bishop gets a high-paying county job.
    Go figure.)

  5. Well put, said at 10:01 am on February 12th, 2016:

    “Horace”..we are on the path to become Massachusetts, with like 2 Republicans left in their legislature, or, California, which just started giving tax-funded smart iPhones out to FELONS to maybe call in to their probation officers to check in, if they feel like it..the Bramnick bus was a sad and pathetic ego trick that bombed big- time,last year..the lack of GOP leadership is both stunning and scary, here. And, not likely to get any better..