Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Will Christie be Republicans' pudgy presidential Valentine? | Noemie Emery | Columnists | Washington Examiner

From: Washington Examiner

Different men are made for different moments in life, and Chris Christie's moment is here. Or, rather, it will be here a year from now, when he gives in to public demand and to destiny and decides to, yes, run for president.

He wants to run in 2016, when he will be seasoned, but if he is born to run (like somebody else from New Jersey), there are four reasons his moment is now: The nominee must be a new face, formed and shaped by the post-Lehman era; he must be someone who can unite the Tea Party and the GOP establishment; someone who can defuse the race bomb as much as is possible; and someone who can also emerge as the anti-Obama; a creature of deeds, not of appearance; somebody less talk than act.

People love who Obama is, what he looks and sounds like, but what he does -- tripling the debt, and giving us Obamacare -- leaves them unsettled. On the other hand, few want to look like Christie, but what he has done -- cutting spending, and dissing the unions -- looks to be irresistible.

As such, his theme song is already written: "My pudgy Valentine/ Sweet pudgy Valentine/ You make me smile with my heart. ..."

Is his figure less than Greek? More like three Greeks put together, but this isn't the point: Christie belongs to the age of Obama, and, with Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., is part of the first wave of resistance; the second wave being Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., and the class that came in with 2010 midterms. Both waves are supplanting the 2008 retreads as the party's advance guard, and soul.

Second, he is part of the group with ties to the Tea Party and the Republican Party's governing structure, and can unite them, and hold them together. (He can also unite them to a number of Democrats. No ordinary conservative wins in his state.)

Third, he takes the edge off the race issue, as Christie looks "ethnic" (if nonspecific in nature) and even blue collar, while Obama exudes an aura of privilege.

A WASP from the South would mean trouble for the Republicans, and a WASP from the North might also have problems, but a non-WASP from the North is a whole other story. Christie looks, acts and sounds like every Reagan Democrat who ever drew breath or voted, and could pull them en masse into his party.
Especially if the job market stays weak.

Fourth, and perhaps best of the lot, is the long list of the things that will surely not happen if our supersized savoir takes off: the Washington Post will not swoon over his pectoral muscles (if it can find them). His wife will not go sleeveless.

Donatella Versace will not design a collection around him. Vogue editress Anna Wintour will not hold a fundraiser for him at her house in Manhattan, to which she will not invite Calvin Klein.

Nonetheless, Christie says he needs more experience, and so he will get it -- a whole year and more until spring 2012, when at the last possible moment he accepts the inevitable and decides to give in to the draft. And after that comes the happy night in November 2012, when he passes 270, and voters from coast to coast break out in chorus:

"Don't change your hair for me/ Not if you care for me/ Stay pudgy, Valentine! Stay!"

Examiner columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."

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