Too Close For Comfort?

If you watch Fox News, or indeed, almost any media, suddenly, all the buzz is about New Jersey Governor Christie and his possible entry into the GOP nomination fight.  I think this is a lot of smoke and mirrors.  Christie currently has national name recognition on par with so-called second-tier candidates, and with the primary season moving up, it’s hard to imagine him building sufficient name recognition outside the Northeast corridor.  Of course, Ailes over at Fox News has been doing his best to give him more media coverage and drive up the number of people who recognize him, but this is just another example of the manufactured hype being created around Christie.  The GOP establishment is either looking for somebody new to play javelin-catcher now that Romney is back in front,  or they hope to supplant Romney with somebody they think can cause more excitement.   Either way, Chris Christie may well be just the man for the job.  As part of their bid to make Christie more palatable to the base, they placed him in the presence of Nancy Reagan last week, but this an awkward attempt at disguising Christie as a Reaganite that gains little from any but the most superficially-inclined voters.

This isn’t to say there aren’t any people genuinely interested in a Christie candidacy.  Ann Coulter has become positively unhinged over the prospect, but the truth is that there’s no real ground-swell of support for the New Jersey governor.  He simply isn’t all that well-known or liked outside the Northeast corridor.  An overbearing, loud-mouthed bullying attitude may play well in New York City, but it simply doesn’t play in Peoria.  If Christie runs, he will not capture the Tea Party segment, and he will not cut into Romney’s core of support.  This leaves one to wonder what Christie’s purpose in running might be.  The answer is simple: He’s there to try to suck up the oxygen in a bid by the establishment of the GOP to stop or at least mute a Palin entry into the field.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

The simple fact of the matter is that apart from some high-dollar contributors of the crony-capitalist variety, Christie really doesn’t offer much to the Republican party at large.  The Northeast, liberal Republicans already have a candidate, and while they wish he would get more support, they’re satisfied enough that Ann Coulter has now come out to support Romney.  Christie’s only chance to win will depend  upon co-opting the Tea Party segment, and given his record on a number of issues, it is likely that he won’t get their support.  He’s simply too liberal, and too uninterested in issues important to the Tea Party.  He may pay lip service to some of those issues, but as Stephen Bannon pointed out in his interview of Todd Palin Sunday evening, it’s really not much of an accomplishment to cut state budgets when you have no choice, but it is a big deal to cut budgets in time of surplus.  Tea Party folk are discerning enough to recognize this vital distinction.

Chris Christie could best be understood as an exemplar of the problem with the Republican establishment: He doesn’t really believe in the things important to the conservative base of the party, never mind the Tea Party. It’s another sorry charade offered to us in the form of yet one more “savior” for the GOP, just as the line of them we’ve been presented over the last nine months.  What I found particularly telling was the Karl Rove interview by Hannity as they waited for Christie to speak at the Reagan Library last week, and Rove said:

“Well, and look, it’s not just wealthy donors. There have been fellow Republican governors, party activists, grassroots Republican movers and shakers. I mean, this has been a pretty interesting thing to watch. In a very short period of time, since his swearing-in in January of 2010, he’s become quite a figure on the national stage, because of what he’s done as governor. He took on the teachers unions. He’s blunt, he’s straightforward. He’s the every man of American politics. And he’s got a — he’s got quite a following.”

As usual, Karl Rove is trying to paint a picture that bears little resemblance to reality.  To call Christie the “every man of American politics” is a laughable attempt at positioning.  More, when he  says “…it’s not just wealthy donors,” he’s essentially lying.  That’s the vast bulk of Christie’s support, and Rove knows it.  Christie has little in common with the base of the GOP, or the Tea Party, and that’s the point insofar as the establishment is concerned.

I think you can see as well as I what is really going on here.  This is another put-up job by the establishment, and whether they expect Christie to win the primaries, stealing Romney’s base of support, or if he’s being put up as a body-block for Romney, it essentially doesn’t matter.  It’s a hoax  to call this a “ground-swell” or the result of “grassroots Republicans.”  What this really means is Rove and the rest of the GOP establishment are trying to maintain their power.  By now, nobody should be surprised about that.

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