The Herd: A Look at The Republican Veepstakes. Today’s Potential Nominee — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at House majority leader, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Born: September 6, 1962 (age 47), Newark, New Jersey

Spouse(s): Mary Pat Christie

Children : Andrew, Sarah, Patrick, and Bridget.

Residence : Mendham Township, New Jersey

Alma mater: University of Delaware, Seton Hall Law School

Religion: Roman Catholic

Profession: Attorney

(Click here for Christie’s White House 2012 page)

Governor Christie decided not to run for President in part because he felt that this was not his time and also because he wants to see through with his committment to the people of New Jersey who elected him three years ago. Logic would dictate that those same reasons would apply to accepting a spot on the presidential ticket as Vice President. But stranger things have happened and if Christie seems to be the magic elixir for an apprehensive electorate that wants a strong fiscal conservative who seemingly stands up to the establishment, then the pressure to run will be put on Christie. In the end I still don’t see him being nominated for Vice President by Romney nor do I see Christie accepting the nomination if Romney did pick him. Besides, it should also be noted that even if he were on the ticket, Christie is unlikely to have the ability to deliver New Jersey’s electoral votes to Romney.

But for reasons that are obvious, he will be at least said to be on the short list.

Christie’s popularity among conservatives nationally is high.  His say it like it is, shoot from the hit approach to the tough issues is something that many people find refreshing in politics and those who see it that way like Chris Christie a lot.  But those who do not see it that way find Christie to be a blowhard and a bully.  Those on the right think the New Jersey Governor is a no-nonsense leader who is more concerned with getting government spending under control, lowering taxes, and as someone who would rather say “no” because because it’s proper public policy than say “yes” because its politically expedient.

On the other hand, those on the left see Christie as an insensitive, and abrasive thug who likes to call people names and is unconcerned with with the needs of working class Americans.

I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusion because if you’re on the left you will believe the latter and if you’re on the right you will believe the former and nothing I say will change your opinion.  But that might be just one of the reasons why Christie will not be on the presidential ticket.  He is a polarizing figure who you either love or hate and as such, it is hard to say which way independent voters will fall on Christie as a voting bloc, and that independent voting bloc is critical to winning the election in November.  If Christie proves to poll well with independent voters, and that somehow his number two spot on the ticket has the ability to win enough of them over to influence their voting Republican in key battleground states like Ohio and Florida, then Christie could be  a must for Romney.  But that is not very likely in 2012.

Pros:

  • His hard hitting, say it like it is, approach is viewed as politically courageous and refreshing.
  • He is far from what anyone can call a career politician
  • He has positive national name ID
  • Christie might be able to appeal to independent voters who like his blunt style
  • He would energize much of the conservative base and even some of the T.E.A. activists
  • He could make Joe Biden look like a comedic sidekick
  • Christie’s presence on the ticket could force the Obama-Biden campaign to invest more time and money in New Jersey, a state they anticipate winning easily

Cons:

  • He has only been in office for almost three years
  • Even if he is on the ticket, Christie may not even be able to carry New Jersey for Romney
  • Christie has not been fully vetted yet and under intense scrutiny his clean record may be tarnished by some minor political indiscretions
  • Conservatives leery of Romney will not appreciate what some may consider to be two Northeast Moderates on the ticket
  • Independents might tend to see Christie as too abrasive

My Assessment:

Christie is certainly a viable option. However his two most appealing qualities, his bluntness and his newness on the political stage, may just be the very same things that cause Mitt Romney to look elsewhere. That in addition to both men being known as Governors from the liberal Northeast, could make several other candidates from outside of the Northeast much more attractive to the Romney campaign. But Christie’s ability to inspire and energize the base might just be what Mitt Romney needs to help avoid any McCain-like voter apathy. In the end, I think Romney will pass on Christie and go for a running mate who is safer, lacks Christie’s confrontational political personality and who has a much stronger and more proven ability to win over independent voters.

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Recent Key Votes

S 1 – Authorizes Same-Sex Marriage

Legislation (Conditional Veto)

Feb. 21, 2012

S 317 – Relating to Contractors

Legislation (Pocket Veto)

Jan. 17, 2012

More Key Votes

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Chris Christie On The Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social Issues
Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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Perry – Martinez 2012. That’s the Ticket!

Bookmark and Share    The general lack of enthusiasm that Republicans have regarding the current crop of presidential candidates, inspires one to hypothesize about who would be the best candidate for the G.O.P. to run. We are forced to ponder who the strongest candidate could be,  who has the ability to really inspire the G.O.P., and we are even compelled to think about what a strong ticket in 2012 would look like. For me a strong candidate would consist of any combination of names like Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Paul Ryan, Congressman Allen West, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, and from Ohio, Governor John Kasich and Senator Rob Portman. This is not to suggest that I do not believe that the G.O.P. is unable to hammer together a strong ticket in 2012 from among any of those who are currently running. We will. Come November of 2012, we will have gone through a campaign that gives us many reasons to feel good about those on the ticket and to want to vote for them. This will especially be the case when the choice its understood that the choice comes to them or the Obama-Biden ticket. As for my list of preferred choices, that is now mere fantasy.  It has become an unrealistic list of options. The people I listed are definitely not running, so in 2012, a ticket comprised of any two of those names on it is just no going to happen.

However, with a few names still considering entry into the 2012 Republican presidential contest, at this point in the process, the Republican field of presidential contenders that we will ultimately have to choose from is still evolving. As such, there is still room to discuss the merits of a truly strong hypothetical presidential ticket that could actually come to fruition and is worth trying to put together. It is a ticket that would be topped by a name that could excite the Republican base enough to make that person an immediate frontrunner and would even have a good chance to wrap up the nomination relatively early in the season. It is also a name that would probably provide TEA Party movement activists with plenty of reason to enthusiastically choose over President Obama in the general election.

Texas Governor Rick Perry

That person is Texas Governor Rick Perry.

I know, I know……….. The initial reaction to that consideration is a slew of superficial remarks and glib jokes referencing G.W. Bush and another Republican from Texas in the White House. But exaggerated references of that comparison would be just that………..exaggerated, superficial jokes. The reality is that unlike Mitt Romney, the man who currently has a very tenuous hold on frontrunner status, Rick Perry does not bring any of the doubts about his conviction to limited government that Romney brings to the table with RomneyCare. More so than other top-tier candidates like former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry brings with him an unapologetic record of conservatism. A record that has none of what Pawlenty described as faux pas and lapses in judgment on such things as a push for Cap-and-Trade measures.

In an assessment of a potential Perry presidential campaign that I prepared for Rick Perry’s WH12 page many months I ago, I wrote the following:

If Rick Perry were to run, he would become an automatic top-tier candidate. Along with a solid record of positive achievements, he has the All-American looks of the Marlboro Man and his personality is one that emanates confidence and optimism with charm and a down to earth, can-do, American spirit. This makes for a candidate who can maximize the impact of a well run campaign, and Perry has the ability to assemble a team that can run a top-notch campaign. He also has the fundraising mechanism and ability to finance a top-notch, well run campaign.

In my opinion, that assessment is as true today as it was last year when I originally wrote it. But it is the economy which makes that opinion even more relevant today than it was back then. That issue provides good reason for voters to focus on Perry.

The economy continues to be President Obama’s Achilles heal. As it keeps proving to move in the wrong direction, the Obama reelection effort is looking like a house of cards as the economy undermines everything from his approval ratings to his ideology. But for Rick Perry, a comparison between the way he runs the economy in Texas, to the way President Obama runs the nation’s economy, provides a strong contrast between the two men on many different levels. Not only do their different approaches show contrast between success and failure, they magnify the impact of many themes which will be essential to making the Republican case against President Obama. The most critical themes being the ability to bring our economy back, and the way the two men think. One thinks like an American while the other thinks like a European Socialist.  Guess which one thinks like an American and which one thinks like a European Socialist?

While Barack Obama believes in government control and largess, his approach to the economy is producing stagnation, inflation, extremely high unemployment, little consumer confidence, and an anti-business, no growth environment. On the other hand, Governor Perry’s approach to the economy has produced a state that leads the nation in exports, business growth, and job creation. And under Rick Perry’s stewardship, Texas has cut taxes and spending and balanced its budget with a surplus left over.

This difference between the two records is as sharp as night and day. It also belies the differences between the two men in a way that clearly demonstrates two different views of America, and two diverging directions for America. And when you consider the fact that most Americans believe the nation is currently headed in the wrong direction, it becomes undeniably obvious that Governor Perry holds the compass that we need to trust.

More than any of the other likely choices for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Perry’s record shows the sharpest contrast between a leader who believes in the American people and their free will, and a leader who believes in having the government control the people and their lot in life. It shows a clear difference between a leader who wants to unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit and a leader who wants the entrepreneurial spirit replaced by government subsidies. A great example of this can be seen in the video below. Imagine an ad similiar to this touting Perry’s record, compared to an ad trying to tout President Obama’s record on the same points.

Perry has just about everything Republicans want and need in a candidate, including a friendly personality that exudes strength, confidence, decisiveness and the ability to easily relate to and connect with voters.   In the end, when you factor in all of the above, any negative references to former President George W. Bush and Governor Rick Perry having both governed Texas, becomes an  insignificant sidebar to the real issues in a head to head match up against President Obama

If he decides to run, I do believe Governor Perry will win the nomination. And if he does win the nomination, as we look towards the general election, the question becomes who would be a wise choice to complete the Republican presidential ticket?

There is an extraordinarily long list of exceptionally good people who could balance a Perry ticket. There’s Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and any one of the names that I previously listed as candidates whom I wish were running for President. Then there are other interesting possibilities like Tim Pawlenty , Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal or maybe even Herman Cain. One very daring, outside-of-the-box, but still very real choice, could be the extremely fiscal conservative governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno. All of these candidates bring certain unique strengths to the ticket. But one possibility shines brighter on my radar screen than others.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez

It’s New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.

Governor Martinez, is the first woman Governor of New Mexico and the first Latina Governor in the United States. These qualities bring a very real degree of both ethnic and gender balance to the ticket. Not only can Martinez appeal to women, she has the ability to make significant inroads into the already large and fastest growing ethnic minority in the nation, Hispanics.

The Hispanic population is growing much faster than any other demographic. There are currently 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States, or around 16 percent of our nation’s 308.7 million population. Between 2000 and 2010 that was an increase of 35.3 million more Hispanics. This figure accounts for more than half of U.S. population growth during that same time period. Moreover, while overall population growth in the South, the region where Republicans run strongest, increased by 14 percent, the Hispanic population in the South increased by a whopping 57 percent.

These numbers mean that if Republicans want to remain competitive, they must appeal to the Hispanic community far better than they have up to now. And while it is important to understand that the Hispanic community is not nearly as monolithic in their politics as the African-American community proved to be in the 2008, it is still clear that the G.O.P. must insure that they work hard at trying to win over a significant numbers of Hispanic voters if they intend tocontinue being viable in many states. Martinez can help expedite that process.

But in addition to the superficial characteristics which play an inordinate, but very real role in politics, Martinez is a tough lady who is right on the issues has a clear vision  for her state and our nation,  is committed to traditional vaues, and as seen in the video below, has the ability to articulate her vision with clarity and confidence. More so than even Sarah Palin, Martinez has a Thatcher-like persona which so far lacks any of the negative impressions that the lamestream media and liberal intelligentsia has been able to wrongly burden Palin with. 

Once a Democrat, Martinez has been a Republican since 1995.   In addition to a law and order background as a Republican elected District Attorney, Martinez is a fiscal conservative and although she has only been in office since 2010, she has made significant changes in the way that her state governs. Since coming in to office, Martinez has established such things as a moratorium on all state vehicle purchases, prohibited all state agencies from hiring lobbyists, limited the claim of executive privilege to help promote a more transparent government, and has created a small business friendly task force. On the legislative end she has reinstated the death penalty and signed an executive order rescinding sanctuary status for illegal immigrants who commit crimes in New Mexico while protecting victims and witnesses of criminal acts.

It is on that issue, illegal immigration, which Martinez could prove to be the G.O.P.’s most powerful asset. While the economy is sure to dominate the 2012 election, illegal immigration will not be far from the top. On that issue a Perry-Martinez ticket would have more credibility on that issue than any other previous presidential Administration. And with Martinez articulating the Party’s position on illegal immigration, the left will have a hard time trying to paint the ticket as being anti-Hispanic. The fact that Perry and Martinez are both border state governors who have directly dealt  with the border security problem, will give themn an upper hand in convincing people that they truly understand the problem and how best to solve it. Together, a Perry-Martinez ticket would have a real opportunity to lead on the issue of illegal immigration and border security.

That will more than compensates for the argument that some may have against a Perry-Martinez ticket because they are both from neighboring Southern states. The fact that they are both border state governors and therefore have firsthand knowledge of, and experience with the issues surrounding illegal immigration, will appeal as much to a voter concerned about the isuue in New Hampshire or Illinois as it does to a voter in Arizona or Oregon. And besides, in this day and age, the regional balance strategy is greatly diluted by a society that is brought closer together by the internet. Furthermore; as we saw in 1992, the selection of a ticket made up of individuals from neighboring Southern states is not necessarily a bad thing. It worked for Clinton-Gore, twice. And in the case of New Mexico, it has become a Democrat leaning swing-state which  in a close election,  its 5 electoral votes could mean the difference between the 270 electoral votes it takes to win  the White House, and losing losing the White House.

Initially some may be prone to compare the selection of Susana Martinez by Perry, to the selection of Sarah Palin by McCain. They may try to do to Martinez, what they did to Palin. But those who do will be surprised to find people will see through such an attempt and it will backfire on them. If the left tries to depict another strong conservative woman as an ignoramus that does not belong in politics, they will prove themselves to be partisan and sexist hypcrites with biases as bad as those which claim to oppose. Such treatment of Martinez will go a long way in demonstrating that the left and their mainstream media only believe in strong women who are liberals, while at the same time suggesting that strong conservative women should be in the kitchen, not the Oval Office. The media already confirmed this liberal thinking when they covered the liberal wife of a President who was running for her Parties nomination and showered her with complimentary descriptions such as strong willed, determined, brilliant and experienced, but did their best to depict a conservative female Governor as some sort of caricature.

While there are many very promising options for someone like Rick Perry to pick from, I believe that few would be as potent as Susana Martinez. But first things first. Will Rick Perry run for President? I have given up on predicting who will or will not run. But the way I see it, there is no announced candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, whose record and personality should prevent Rick Perry from running. If the decisive factor for Perry is whether or not the current Republican field has a void that he can fill, than Perry’s decision should be a positive one. If that’s the decision he makes, it is only a short amount of time before we need to convince him that Susana Martinez is the right person for the job of Vice President. And that’s a decision that shouldn’t require a great deal of convincing.

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