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Posted at 3:05 PM ET, 12/20/2010

Republicans adore Chris Christie -- on YouTube and off

By Jennifer Rubin

Ezra Klein writes that -- oh my! -- Gov. Chris Christie has aides who film and circulate his lively interactions with the media and town hall audiences. Ezra contends that this somehow diminishes his chances in 2012.

I don't know any Republicans (and Ezra doesn't cite or quote any) who are naïve enough to be aghast or even surprised by the revelation, which is now a month old, that Christie's staff is eager to make these vignettes available. Frankly, conservative activists and pundits already know that Christie has a very good staff that actively promotes its boss. And there's reason to believe that these videos contribute to Christie's popularity.

Christie's appearance on 60 Minutes last night got quite a lot of attention in conservative circles, all of it positive from what I have seen. Peter Wehner wrote about Christie's discussion of states' fiscal problems and followed up with an e-mail to me: "Christie is once again very strong."

Christie is one of the select group of politicians who impresses activists -- he won a Tea Party straw poll in October -- and wonks. Yuval Levin, editor of the high-brow National Affairs magazine and a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center gave me his take:

I think Christie has done a better job than any state politician in our time of translating the fiscal crisis of the states -- the crisis of unfunded public employee benefit liabilities combined with reckless discretionary spending -- into the language of moral responsibility, and therefore of making the nature of that crisis accessible to voters. He is also one of the very few governors in our time who has proposed going after those problems directly -- by taking on the unions and addressing long-term liabilities, as well as cutting spending -- despite the political cost. That combination makes him simply the most important governor in the nation today. If he can succeed, the other 49 states (and especially the other 5 or 6 states that together with NJ are in the worst trouble) have a model to learn from and a chance to avert disaster.

This is probably why Christie and other governors were invited to the Hill by soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner. Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel talked to me why Christie has become something of a rock star: "Governor Christie is making the kind of effective, conservative reforms the American people want - he's taking on special interests and cutting wasteful government spending."

It is far from clear that Christie is going to run for president. But the best way to gauge whose fortunes are rising and falling in the 2012 Republican primary race is to talk to those who will be voting in it and trying to influence its outcome. And so far, I've yet to find any anti-Christie sentiments. Whether you talk to Tea Partyers, lawmakers, policy wonks or political consultants, it is hard to find anyone who enjoys as much respect and affection as Christie. In part, that is because he combines showmanship with policy chops.

That may change if and when he gets into the race, but, for now, Christie's YouTube appearances are arguably the single most effective effort put forth by any potential 2012 contender in establishing a public persona and raising name identification.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 20, 2010; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Comments

Even though you are in favor of childhood obesity (ok, that was tongue in cheek!), don't you think that his appearance is going to hurt him on a national level, not with Tea Party people perhaps, but mainstream voters?

Posted by: 54465446 | December 20, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

54465446, are you kidding? The US has the highest obesity rate in the world at over 30%. That is a huge, so to speak, bloc of voters that has been severely under-represented politically. Identity politics could really help Christie if the Dems make fun of his weight. Corzine, BTW, tried that tactic in New Jersey and lost badly.

Posted by: eoniii | December 20, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

!
But we already have THE sign, indisputable, that America is in great trouble:

Scharzman of Blackstone is 'moving' to Europe. And we hear of the Kravitz more to the Netherlands, etc and etc. THe "international bankers" (jews) are pulling out. America must be all used up.

Aas for the New Jersey Governor, praised so by some 'highbrow named Yuval' (note how pointedly specific Rubins reading is)

did he mention how much we could save not forking over bucks and armaments to Israel?
Just asking.

Posted by: whistling | December 20, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

54465446, if Christie's staff are as good as Ms. Rubin claims they are, they will likely keep tabs on that and not 'jump the shark' with his image.

Ms. Rubin, I feel like I'm reading a conservative gossip column. Is that your intent?

Posted by: MsJS | December 20, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Does Steve Kroft know how to smile? Christie came off great, 60 minutes not so much

Posted by: aardunza | December 20, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually not familiar with his positions, never havnig seen him speak. I was being mostly unserious, but he should keep his coat on!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 20, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Rubin has been shilling for Christie for a while. Don't be surprised to see her on his payroll someday.

The only people drooling over Christie are people who don't live in New Jersey, unless he is paying them. This guy has been a disaster for taxpayers. The only reason the unions are fighting his tepid "reforms" is because they fight EVERYTHING. They never give ground, unlike Republicans who only feel good when they compromise.

Posted by: BobbyRomano | December 20, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Christie is a superhero. He squashes moonbats like the vermin they are. He may be a handful, but we need 1,000 more leaders just like him to rid our fair land of moonbat filth once and for all.

Posted by: thebump | December 20, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

People in Jersey do like him, which is why he was elected. He has been too much of a realist for most people to handle. Point blank he has said "I came here to do a job if you don't like it in four years you can vote me out." Considering both houses in Jersey are in Democrat hands he is making them squirm by offering up solutions that they have to act on.

Posted by: charladan1 | December 20, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Be afraid Dems. Be very afraid. This man is good. He is what this country needs. A real leader not afraid to make hard decisions.

Posted by: bandsposs | December 20, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Not that 60 minutes has had that much credibility with US critical thinkers to begin with. But running a story on The Garden State Hermann Goering- a radical reactionary, a union buster, a wage gouger, a job killer who just shutdown the Hudson River tunnel project, and a thug who gets his rocks off bullying school teachers-hasn't done much to help their cause... Christie is too much of thug and goon to run on his own ticket. He might be looking to buddy up with Petraeus- the thinking man's war-monger.

Posted by: The_New_Deal | December 20, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

"...because he combines showmanship with policy chops".

Maybe. Is it 'showmanship' when he comes to a question period with his homework fully done, and in the clearest and most direct language - WITHOUT Teleprompter - refutes his challengers with the facts and reasoning behind the decisions they question? I think not.

The showmanship is the piteous mendacity built into the questions, designed to demonize the Governor. His powerfully reasoned responses, which generally receive public approval, are better called 'leadership'. May this country find itself blessed with more of such leadership.

Posted by: InsufficientlySensitive | December 20, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

FUNNY

"Even though you are in favor of childhood obesity (ok, that was tongue in cheek!), don't you think that his appearance is going to hurt him on a national level .."

You never been to a mob-trial. "Fat Tony" is putting it mildly. Nothin' wrong with C.C.

C.C., keep it up. School unions hate you -- TAXPAYERS, parents and kids love you.

Posted by: russpoter | December 20, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

While Christie has a lot going for him, his politics reared their ugly head when he refused to speak up on behalf of legislation that would get "first-responders" of 9-11 healthcare. A troubling sign that he may not be much more than another party hack that people just don't know yet.

See: http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page/2010/12/abandoned_in_their_time_of_nee.html

Posted by: bradladd | December 21, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

I hope they at least used a wide-angled lens.

The real question, as far as any 2012 talk, is "but does he believe that an anonymouslyw-written religious artificat from the Bronze Age should be the basis for our modern Constitution?". You don't get past the Republican base without a severe case of Taliban-worthy superstition.

More specifically: Can he fume and rail against gay people convincingly enough? Does he believe women should know their place? Are other countries and cultures our playthings, to massacre by the hundreds of thousands as needed each time we need an ego boost? Republicans want to hear these things.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 21, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Most of Christie's rhetoric does not translate into actual money saved to the taxpayer. Ask anyone in NJ if they have saved any money yet. The answer is no. Christie has gone after programs that he cannot legally dissolve, or conracts that are binding, or he has reversed his possition, so his boasted savings are not real.
Don't be fooled.

Posted by: dc1955 | December 21, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

>People in Jersey do like him, which is why he was elected

Not really, it was a vote against Jon Corzine. During the campaign, CC made vague observations, not concrete plans.

He picked fights with teachers, police, and firefighters. He cut aid to the local school districts, and eliminated the STARS program for college-bound high school students. Our property taxes are even higher.

Posted by: chemguy1157 | December 21, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

i am wondering why there is always someone
who wants to blame the "jews"...the poster
sayd that the international bankers (jews)
are pulling out...most international bankers are not jews...the russians aren't
the chinese arent the indians arent..
so stop attempting to get people to buy your premise..your premise is dead wrong
as for israel..you are right we should stop
funding the only democracy in the mideast
so that iran can create a nuclear bomb and
level the country..NOT..even the saudi's
think that idea is a bad one...

Posted by: MROBERT42 | December 21, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Being from NJ, a state where a mayor of a small town or a school superintendent could retire with over 120k annually, we need Chris Christie to say that's enough. The facts are out in the open, we are all going bankrupt. Public employee union greed must be curtailed. Sadly, government programs have eroded the will of our population to be resourcefull and and self sufficient.

Posted by: pepperman33 | December 21, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I like Christie very much.

I think he's pushing the efficient frontier, however, of exposure, and risks overexposing himself in all the new media.

I also urge caution in jumping on a first-term governor's bandwagon. (I think we may have some informative experience recently with another first term governor parachuting into the national scene.) He needs to govern successfully and rack up some objective results, beyond those we see now, before I believe that he has the substance to warrant presidential consideration.

I'd be thrilled if he were a #2 to Mitch Daniels, though. As Christie states, he's not often confused, though, with a retiring, deferential subordiate.

Posted by: IowaHawkeye | December 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

People who write that people in NJ haven't saved any money yet do not understand accounting or finance. Had Christie not cut spending and reduced future liabilities, 100% of the unfunded spending and future liabilities would be added to each NJ citizen's tab. What the posters are doing is saying that they're monthly cash bills for NJ's public sector haven't gone down yet. Frankly, that's as smart as saying your house only cost $24,000 because that's the sum of your 2010 mortgage payments. Wow.

Saying that that is not real money is just astounding, but I guess that that is why governments are broke: people still say hey, if we just spend money we don't have, our "costs" don't go up. Or maybe they're just saying, "Spend money on me now and let other people pay my fair share later, who knows if I'll even be around."

It's the present value of total government cost that determines fiscal solvency. Christie has drastically reduced the present value of each NJ citizen's total obligation. It appears that a slight majority of NJ appreciates that, and a significant minority feel entitled to spend other people's money until the bubble bursts, at which point ... well, I don't know what their plan is, when the bubble bursts.

Posted by: IowaHawkeye | December 21, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Christie`s XXL shadow looms large over tittering Democrats. Beware the fat man, tax-trough denizens. Big Daddy is in the house seeking fiscal restraint. He has a whipping belt with "common sense" emblazoned across its length. (In a metaphorical way...he`s probably not threatening to physically spank anyone.)Okay, lets all do a little call and response thing together to bolster our spirits! Then we can get back to work so the gov`t can take 40%.

Everybody say OOOH ooh

*OOOH ooh

Christie!

*Christie

Corpulent

*Corpulent

But thrifty!

*but thrifty


Posted by: bender1 | December 21, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone speaking on his weight? The man is big but he is also very cleaver. The last time I looked Mr. Chrisie was not applying to be a fitness trainer. He may be the person best suited to lead this country out of the Obama induced disaster that was intentionally created by Obama.

Posted by: sarah39 | December 21, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

i trust Chris Christie compare to overhype Obama

Posted by: johnrick | December 21, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Can you imagine a politician who actually thinks the money working people earn belongs to them and that Government has a tremendous responsiblity to use any money the people give it in taxes wisely, and not to buy votes from public employee unions? Can you imagine a politician who is open and honest when he speaks in town halls and then actually honestly works to implement his promises and will take on the special interests openly, and won't just make secret deals and buy them off when he's off camera? Can you imagine a politician that is less like Obama? If we ever want real hope and change we should look at a politician really willing to do the hard work rather than a Teleprompter candidate like Obama!

Posted by: valwayne | December 21, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Not only Republicans and tea party conservatives adore Gov Christie, so will the American people if he runs for president. We can be confident that he will repeal Obamacare. We can be confident of that because this man does not mince words or intentions. Christie will reduce federal spending and work toward a balanced budget. He will defund or abolish the FCC and its directors who just seized the Internet. He will defend the Constitution. His foreign policy will reflect respect for America and will become a strong force for world peace.

Posted by: gliderpilot | December 22, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

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