Is Chris Christie “dead” as a candidate for 2016, as many pundits and political analysts have concluded? Not by a long shot. He’s down in many polls, but there’s a path to the White House for Christie, provided he survives the current scandals that surround him relatively intact, and that path—as you will see below—would be paved with vast sums of cash from ultraconservative billionaires, hedge fund moguls and corporate donors of all sorts.
Meanwhile, the fact that the national Democrats, including the Democratic National Committee, who’ve ginned up a major campaign effort to delegitimize Christie, including nonstop web ads, press releases and an effort to shadow Christie’s appearances as he travels around the country, provides the clearest possible evidence that the Dems know who the biggest threat to the Hillary Clinton juggernaut in 2016 is: Chris Christie. Perhaps, paraphrasing Will Shakespeare, the Democrats doth protest too much?
Yesterday, in Chicago, the beleaguered New Jersey governor unveiled what amounted to the first campaign appearance for his yet-to-be-announced (and, of course, perhaps never-to-happen) presidential bid. But if Christie intends to get to the White House, he’ll have to navigate a central paradox, namely: he presents himself as a pragmatic, center-right, “moderate” Republican who says that he’ll be able to work with Democrats in Washington—yet in order to win the votes of the increasingly far-right GOP primary voters, he’ll have to run as an orthodox conservative. In a Q&A at the Economic Club of Chicago, Christie tried to square this circle by saying that what the GOP needs most is “an authentic, believable spokesman for a new era in America.” And he stressed that it’s time for the Republican party to soften its ideological edge for Christie-style pragmatism:
I think as you look forward to 2016, our party’s priority should be on winning. Not winning the argument. Winning the election.… Parties tend to become pragmatic when they’re powerless. It’s time for us to get pragmatic.
For Christie, of course, one of his oft-cited accomplishments in New Jersey has been his ability to get Democrats to support his conservative agenda. But in New Jersey Christie has done that by wheeling and dealing with local Democratic party bosses in cities like Newark, Camden and Jersey City, often using close-to-blackmail pressures and financial blandishments, to get Democrats to support anti-union, small-government policies. Meanwhile, Christie blamed President Obama for failing to build “relationships” with Republicans in Washington—a strange charge indeed, since Obama spent nearly his entire first term begging the GOP to cooperate—and he added: