But Christie’s remarks were based less on truth and more on an immediate need for Chris Christie to do his job as a surrogate for Romney and out of need for self-preservation.
Following Romney’s devastating loss to Gingrich in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Christie is apparently grabbing for straws as he searches for anything that he can throw at Newt and make stick. But why? What is the real reason behind Christie’s vitriol?
It is a simple fact that the establishment, or status quo, of any institution naturally tries to preserve itself. So it is only logical that in politics, the establishment of any Party will try to do the same. It is the main reason why change, true change, is hard to come by in politics. In the case of establishment Republicans, Newt Gingrich is the one realistic candidate remaining in the Republican nomination contest, who represents real change and as such, the establishment wing of the Party is not compelled to enthusiastically embrace his candidacy. Going with Gingrich would cause them to risk losing the traditional perks that the system grants to the political powerbrokers and as an idea based reformer, Newt is a threat to the process, a process which is stacked against change.
But another political reality that the establishment is facing is the bigger electoral picture in 2012.
Establishment Republicans want not only to maintain the status quo of the political process, they want to increase their sphere of influence of that process. That control comes about by increasing the number of Republicans who are elected to office……all elected offices.
When it comes to Chris Christie, that electoral concern is largely the main reason he came out and endorsed Mitt Romney for President.
While the focus right now is on the presidential race, in the next few months, elections for other offices will quickly consume some of that focus. In 2012, control of the United States Senate is already beginning shape the presidential race and that is already playing out in New Jersey more than anywhere else in the nation.
Although there is little public interest in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race, the top of the ticket will make all the difference between winning and losing for Republicans.
Incumbent liberal Senator Bob Menendez is up for reelection to his second full term in the Senate. He was first appointed to fill the vacancy that was created by then Senator Jon Corzine, who in 2005, became Governor. In 2006, Menendez was subsequently elected to his first full term in the Senate.
Currently, Menendez is in decent political standing among New Jersey voters. According to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, 45% of state voters believe to be re-elected while 38% believe otherwise. And he beats a generic, unnamed Republican candidate by as much as 11%.
Typically, incumbents are in trouble if their reelect number are under 50%, but this is New Jersey, a state that brought Frank Lautenberg back to life, out of retirement and back in to the Senate where he does little more than keep his senate seast warm while he nods off in it. However, while the opportunity to pick Menendez off will be an uphill battle, the possibility does exist. And therein lies Chris Christie’s endorsement of Mitt Romney for President.
In a state as blue as New Jersey, Mitt Romney can do relatively well. While Newt Gingrich’s description of Romney as a Massachusetts moderate may work against Mitt in Peioria where conservatives can’t find anything too favorable about either Massachusetts or moderates, in Trenton, both are positive things which can only help Mitt among a Republican electorate which is generally slightly to the left of the national Party. This becomes an even more important factor in New Jersey when it comes to defeating Bob Menendez.
Given Mitt’s perceived moderate image, he is expected to have much longer coattails than the more conservative, abrasive, hard-hitting, Southern Republican that is Newt Gingrich. That conventional thinking is playing a critical role in New Jersey.
Although it is not official, Republicans are expected to nominate a longtime Republican State Senator by the name of Joe Kyrillos, for Bob Menendez’s Senate seat. By New Jersey standards, Joe Kyrillos is considered a right of center Republican, but he is also the ultimate political insider. In 1988 he became one of the state’s youngest members of the Assembly, where he served two consecutive terms and then promptly went to the State Senate where he remained since 1993. Along the way, Kyrillos also spent some time as the state Party Chairman.
In addition to that, Joe Kyrillos happens to be a good friend of Chris Christie and served as Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial state campaign chairman. Joe Kyrillos also coincidentally served as Mitt Romney’s presidential state campaign chairman in 2008.
This web of connections is all the evidence one needs to understand why Christie endorsed Romney and why he is now aggressively attacking Newt Gingrich.
But what Americans must begin to accept is that the circumstances which are forcing the establishment to rally around Mitt Romney in New Jersey are the same forces which will be forcing the establishment to rally around Romney and attack Newt Gingrich in many other states. It is all being driven by self-preservation. None of it is based on the issues, or reforms, or even beating Barack Obama. It is based upon the establishment’s hope to maintain the status quo, something which can best be achieved by insuring that Mitt Romney defeats Newt Gingrich.
The good thing is that the establishment is not in good graces with a vast majority of the electorate that has taken on very anti-establishment attitudes. This is one reason why despite the endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Romney lost to the anti-establishment candidate, Newt Gingrich. In fact, to a large degree, the more incumbents that endorse Mitt Romney, the more the anti-establishment opposes Mitt Romney and supports Newt Gingrich.
While those circumstances won’t help Newt Gingrich very much in a state like New Jersey, it will help him and the Republican tickets in a many other critical states.
Unlike Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich has the ability to tap into the anti-esatblishment sentiments that swept Republicans in to power in the House by historic proportions during the 2010 midterm elections. That anti-establisment energy is minimal in New Jersey, where in 2011, state legislative elections did not produce any gains for New Jersey Republicans.
In 2012, to take control of the U.S. Senate, Republicans need to hold on to the 10 Republican Senate seats that are up for reelection and pick of 4 of the 23 Democrat seats that up for election. At the moment Republican’s chances for success at taking the majority of senate seats are quite good. So much so that it is even realistic to consider the chance that Republicans can actually pick up the 13 senate seats that would be required to meet the magic number of a filibuster proof 60 seat majority.
But in order for the G.O.P. to do either, a strong Republican ticket will be required. The question is who will account for the strongest ticket?
The establishment assumes that a moderate candidate like Romney will do just that. However; I am of the belief that a more radical, anti-establishment candidate will provide the strongest ticket and in states like Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin, tapping in to the same TEA Party-like energy that accounted for dozens of new Republicans getting elected to the House, will find that the chance to pick up each of the Democrat Senate seats up for grabs in those states will be enhanced by the “say no to the status quo” style of Newt Gingrich, far more than the “go along to get along style” of the “Massachusetts moderate”, Mitt Romney.
Furthermore, in a state like New Jersey, where Chris Christie is hoping that his friend Joe Kyrillos can unseat Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, I am afraid that such a goal will be impossible regardless of who is at the top of the ticket, at least not with Joe Kyrillos as the standard bearer.
So what it comes down to is this. Will Republicans be better off defending the status quo, or will they be better off staying the course that increased their numbers in 2010, when opposing the status quo proved to be the key to victory?
I believe I know the answer. That is why I endorsed Newt Gingrich for President long ago. Unfortunately Governor Christie does not agree. Quite disappointingly, he is playing the role of political insider and pursing political self-preservation over proper public policy concerns. And it is why he has chosen to go after Newt with guns blazing.
In his attempts to disqualify Newt Gingrich, he told NBC’s David Gregory that he thinks;
“Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time“, and explains “whether he’ll do it again in the future, I don’t know. But Gov. Romney never has.”
“We all know the record. He was run out of the speakership by his own party. He was fined $300,000 for ethic violations. This is a guy who’s had a very difficult political career at times and has been an embarrassment to the Party.”
The saddest thing about those comments is Christie’s blatant attempt to support his political opinion with lies.
While it is true that Newt has never really taken the easy way out by simply playing the political game in order to hold on to power, Christie is actually lying when he continues to promote the myth that Newt was fined $300, ooo. The truth is that Newt paid for the investigation into one of 84 false accusation that his political opponents tried to burden Newt with. In the end, all of the accusations were dismissed, but Newt was still stuck with a bill for the investigation of one charge which found that his lawyers had filed papers erroneously.
But Christie’s attempt to play the role of political hitman causes him to ignore these facts and that is quite disappointing.
Up to now, Chris Christie has been an impressive, hold no punches, play no games leader. But apparently even he is not immune from the game of politics when it concerns his the interests of the status quo and his insider buddies.
Meanwhile, even though Newt may not be “safe” choice for the republican presidential nomination, he is the bold choice and I am willing to take bold new leadership over insider politics and tired old political games. I want republicans to win and achieve real change, not to win and simply maintain the system that needs to be reformed.
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