Gov. Chris Christie's "right stuff"
I dislike Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. I think he's a blowhard and a bully and a self-righteous jackass and a disingenuous little creep. Is that clear? But I give him full marks for having crafted a very attractive public image. And, when he runs for the presidency in 2016, he will be a very compelling figure.
So far, Christie is positioning himself as the anti-Tea Party candidate, in particular as evidenced by his well-planned pissing match with Rand Paul. I think, cleverly, Christie took note of Mitt Romney's inability to either sufficiently appeal to the radical right or distance himself from them in a way that would give swing voters a degree of comfort. The New Jersey governor is not going to make that mistake. He's going to pick a side, the relatively moderate side, and stick with it.
The problem, we know, is whether he can win the GOP nomination with that approach, given that nominations are heavily influenced by the passion of the most blindly committed. And the blindly committed on the radical right dislike Christie. On top of that, he will fashion himself as the guy who can pull all the warring factions together, Democrats and Republicans, and that's a hard sell, particularly given where the GOP is right now, i.e., compromise equals failure.
As I watch Christie walking around the site of the latest tragedy to befall the Garden State, the Boardwalk fire, giving interviews and sounding every bit like the compassionate, concerned, solid political leader to which Americans seem to be drawn, I think this guy could be a concern for Hillary Clinton, or whomever the Democrats put up.
If he can find a way to steal the nomination, he'll be trouble.