Thus, the GOP’s version of Clark Kent incarnate, Mitt Romney, enthusiastically welcomed a huge, much-needed boost on Tuesday afternoon from the Republican Party’s own Dark Knight: Chris Christie. The residual power of Governor Christie’s endorsement should provide Mitt with a significant boost heading into the primary voting stage. Only time will tell.
Those of us who devote substantial time and energy to “Christie Watching” weren’t surprised at all by the endorsement; only that it came so early.
That said, I’ve noticed that some of our adopted Save Jerseyans from other states were taken a little off-guard by the announcement. In many cases, they’re innocently laboring under the popular misconception that this was some kind of pre-orchestrated “establishment coronation;” when high-profile media moguls like Rush Limbaugh keep repeating it over and over again, an anti-establishment conspiracy theory can begin to trump logic.
The truth? Anyone who knows Chris Christie quickly learns that the man does whatever he wants in the realm of political decision making and, even more importantly, isn’t overly concerned with his own popularity on anyone’s cocktail circuit. Period, end of sentence.
In the interest of keeping you in the loop and defeating misinformation, here are FIVE real reasons why America’s Favorite Governor endorsed one of the Republican Party’s most controversial candidates. Hint: none of them involve an “establishment” coup to defeat the will of the Tea Party!
(1) Christie Values Experience Over Ideology.
Our Governor is a very conservative guy. He’s also a results-oriented federal prosecutor at heart, as well as an ardent pragmatist – a pairing which I’ve never found to be the least bit oxymoronic. After all, conservatism is at its a core the sober recognition of base human nature, natural economic forces, and the appropriate role of government in our lives. We’re conservatives because conservatism works! Not because we’re hopeless idealists, academics tinkerers, or control-freaks like our friends on the Left. To this end, Governor Christie values leadership ability and practical business experience far greater than the purity of a given candidate’s ideological pedigree. He’s interested in the best route to pro-taxpayer reform; nothing more, nothing less.
(2) Christie is Serious About Regime Change.
Taking the “pragmatism” point one step further, the Governor loves his country and shares the Republican base’s extreme sense of urgency in replacing Barack Obama. I saw that on the trail in 2009 and his internal fire hasn’t dimmed one bit. He simply thinks Mitt Romney stands the best chance of getting it done in 2012, and he believes that for all of the reasons which Save Jersey bloggers and other commentators have discussed ad nauseam over the past several months. You may disagree with his logic, folks, but his reasoning isn’t complicated! Moreover, he knows what needs to be done to run a successful race; he’s looked into it! Getting Romney in position to run and win ASAP probably affected the Governor’s decision to endorse sooner rather than later.
(3) It’s a Cultural Thing, Too.
Chris Christie is pro-life, anti-gay marriage and unambiguously tough on crime; ask any of the 130 corrupted souls taken down during his tenure as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. No social liberal! At the same time, he is primarily a scrappy fiscal conservative from NYC suburbia who looks, talks, and walks like a product of his environment: the mighty Mid-Atlantic. I doubt the Governor has ever ridden a horse or roped a steer. Not that he looks down on country folk; he’s one of the most down-to-earth politicians of all time. Yet for someone who is a believer in the Ronald Reagan “mano a mano” style of governance, the ability to relate is worth a lot in earning his endorsement. You can’t discount such intangible factors in politics, business or any other arena of life.
(4) Romney is a Loyal Friend of the NJGOP.
Loyalty is a good, manly quality. I’ve frequently reported on Governor Romney’s generosity to the NJGOP and down-ballot campaigns during and before the Christie Era. Was it self-interested giving? I’m sure, at least in part. It was also much needed financial and moral support, particularly in ’08 and ’09 when the state party seemed as if it needed divine intervention to win statewide. New Jerseyans may be a little gruff but we always remember our friends!
(5) Romney Can Help Turn Jersey Red in 2012 and Beyond.
This fifth and final point encompasses 1 through 4 and then some, Save Jerseyans. Governor Chris Christie wants to turn New Jersey bright red. Unlike Christie Whitman, he is 100% devoted to leaving a stronger NJ GOP than the one he inherited in 2009. This drive originates from both his belief system and his natural competitiveness. In pursuit of this goal, Chris Christie can expect President Mitt Romney to go out of his way to help the state party much as Governor Mitt Romney did prior to the current cycle.
I’m sure President Perry or President Cain would stump here, too, but there’s anecdotal and data-related reasons to believe a Northeastern President who can talk New Jersey’s language would be the most effective surrogate now, in 2013 and beyond. George W. Bush only lost NJ by 5.8% in 2004; I bet Romney can do better if President Obama’s polling continues to trend south!
Cross posted from Save Jersey with permission from author Matt Rooney
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