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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The Herd: A Look at the Possible Republican Vice Presidential Nominnees: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

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 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, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor.

Born: June 6, 1963 (age 47), Richmond, Virginia

Spouse(s): Diane Fine Cantor

Children : Evan, Jenna, Michael

Residence : Richmond, Virginia

Alma mater: George Washington University, William and Mary’s, Marshall Wythe School of Law, Columbia University

Profession: Lawyer

Religion: Jewish

(Click here for Cantor’s White House 2012 Page)

Eric Cantor is a lifelong resident of the Richmond, Virginia  area, where he got his start in politics as a driver for Congressman Tom Bliley’s re-election campaign.  But in time, he went from driving the Congressman Biley, to becoming Biley successor and being in the driver seat of Congress.

After getting elected to succeed the retiring Biley, Cantor gained a reputation as an innovator in health care who fought  for greater choice for families. He eventually went on to author the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, which made it easier for families to save for their health care needs through Health Savings Accounts. The legislation became law in late 2006.

Cantor is also known for his focus on promoting a strong national defense and for providing more resources for our nation’s military and intelligence communities and as a former Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, few have done more in this area than him.

In general, Cantor has most famously become a strong voice for fiscal conservatism in Congress and is seen as a rare leading congressional figure who understands how to compromise but also understands that certain principles are more important to fight for than to cave in on.

Eric Cantor could be a perfect running mate, but not for Mittr Romney. In addition to coming from a state the G.O.P. can not afford to lose in 2012, he is also Jewish and in 2012, President Obama is going to need to keep the traditional Jewish base of the Democrat Party together and behind him if he wants to be sure to win several states that he needs to reach the 270 electoral votes required for reelection. Having Cantor appeal to Jewish voters for Republicans, could make  it all the harder for President Obama to maintain a percentage of the Jewish vote that is large enough to swing states liker FLorida his way.

Another important factor is the state that Cantor represents.

The race between Obama and Romney is said¬†to very close in Virginia and Republicans can hardly afford to lose it.¬† If it is determined¬†that Virginia is even more important to reaching the 270 electoral votes needed to win and the hope is that by having a favorite son¬† from the state on the ticket to achieve that goal, Cantor could become a consideration.;¬† That is especially the case if Virginia’s popular incumbent governor, Bob McDonnell refuses any vice presidential nomination.¬† But it is doubtful that Cantor’s presence on the ticket¬†could generate half as much enthusiasm for¬†the Romney ticket as McDonnell’s presence on the ticket would.

At the same time, with Mitt Romney as the nominee, as a Mormon, Romney may be forced to balance his ticket with a running mate that represents the evangelical Christians whom he is having trouble with. Sadly, religious bigotry is a factor and unfortunately, for many, a ticket with a Mormon and a Jew on it may not be very popular. In 2008 we proved that we have been able to break the color barrier, but we have yet to prove that we can break some of the religious barriers that exist in America. So while Cantor may have been a good choice for someone like Santorum or Gingrich, for Mitt Romney, as unfair and distasteful as it may be, selecting Cantor might make it harder for some voters to embrace a ticket which is led by both a Mormon and a Jew.

Would Cantor be a good choice? He would make an excellent President, but not the most likely running mate to help get a President elected. Cantor has little appeal to Independents on a national level and his leadership role in the House Republican caucus will be ripe for criticism and distortions. Based upon the ugly realities of electoral politics, with Romney as the nominee the presidential nominee, Cantor is not likely to be the person who gets the nod.

Pros:

  • Cantor’s presence on the ticket could play an important role in helping to attract the traditionally Democratic Jewish vote away from the Obama -Biden ticket, which is something that President Obama can hardly afford
  • Cantor’s overall record on matters concerning¬†the budget would help bolster Romney’s image as a fiscal conservative.
  • If Virginia is in play for Democrats, Cantor’s representation of the state could help win the state back for Republicans

Cons:

  • Having a Mormon put a Jew on the same presidential ticket could alienate evangelical Christians who hold extreme religious biases and already view Romney with great skepticism.
  • Cantor’s leadership role in Congress could be used to paint him as part of the problem as the majority leader of a branch of government that has a lower approval rating than lawyers and used car salesmen…..excuse me, I mean “pre-owned” car salesmen.
  • Cantor lacks executive political leadership
  • Cantor is involved in an internecine Republican Party battle that pits good government PAC’s against the Party establishment and he is even involved in a few incumbent versus incumbent battles. These political battles may make Cantor persona non grata by Romney. On the other hand, getting Cantor nominated Vice President it may be a convenient way for establishment Republicans to remove Cantor from the House.

Overall Assessment:

While capable and competent, Eric Cantor does not bring to the ticket the type of gravitas or enthusiasm that many others can. And as a leader of one of the most hated institutions in the nation, the rhetoric and imagery that can be used by the opposing campaign could take the Republican ticket off message with far too many distractions.

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