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September 30, 2011 / sadhbhanu

The Right Word: Praying for Chris Christie to run


Conservatives are ecstatic at the prospect that Governor Chris Christie might enter the presidential race, despite the New Jersey politician’s repeated assertions that he has no intention of doing so. While he is not everyone’s candidate of choice – Bill O’Reilly thinks he shouldn’t run because he hasn’t been in his current job for long enough – Rush Limbaugh is quick to explain that the enthusiasm for Christie’s phantom candidacy has nothing to do with unhappiness with the Republican field but just that they need to find someone, anyone, who can defeat President Obama (listen to clip).

This whole notion that the field is weak, in other words, is not something that the voting public thinks. The reaction that some people are having to Christie is, “Oh, God, please get in,” and then that does indicate an unhappiness with everybody else that’s in the field. It boils down, I think, to people wanting somebody they think can win, and it boils down to people wanting somebody that talks tough, and talks straight, from the gut.

Up until the last two primary debates, many conservatives thought they had their straight-talking, straight-shooting candidate: Rick Perry. But since Perry’s disappointing debate performance, where he failed to capitalise on his positives (the record number of executions and the record number of low-wage jobs without benefits he gave Texas), and instead, allowed his negatives (a willingness to afford the children of undocumented immigrants an education and to vaccinate girls against cervical cancer) to get the better of him, it is understandable that manyRepublicans would be literally begging Christie to step in and fill the void. It remains to be seen if Christie can pass the conservative litmus test, however – already, Limbaugh fears there might be too much of the John McCain in him. On the other hand, if he does, it may well work against him with the Republican establishment.

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