Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Ross Douthat assesses the 2016 Republican presidential race here, and I have to admit that he has a point about why Chris Christie can win, even in ever-crazier GOP:
Now of course as the Rubios and Jindals have stumbled, Paul and Cruz have emerged as conservative stars -- and if either of them clears the rightward side of the field early, and Christie remains the moderate favorite, we'll be in for an interesting, entertaining race. But would it be a race that either of the populists can actually win? ... Think about the map: To beat a candidate with Christie's profile one on one, either Paul or Cruz would need to win Florida and then at least part of the industrial Midwest -- the places where first McCain in 2008 and then Romney in 2012 successfully fended off the challenges from the right. Does Ted Cruz, whose resume is part Ivy League elite and part Texan evangelical, and whose father probably sets off every non-evangelical alarm bell there is, somehow win enough middle class Catholic Republicans to beat an Irish-Italian former prosecutor in Ohio and Michigan? Does Rand Paul, who veers between showing remarkable political savvy and indulging in not-ready-for-prime-time fumbling, really have what it takes to fundraise, organize, and win in big, not-deep-red states?
Douthat is absolutely right about the beer-and-a-shot appeal of Christie to people who were Republicans (and possibly, prior to that, Reagan Democrats) long before there was a Fox News or 24/7 right-wing talk radio. In Macomb County, Michigan, Chris Christie's going to seem like a hometown boy to a lot of voters. He's going to seem like a familiar archetype to a lot of Florida's Frost Belt expats, too.

In theory, it ought to be possible to have tea party cred and old-fashioned Rust Belt appeal, but no wingnut favorite ever seems to. Rick Santorum could have if he'd talked more about his love of beer than about his hatred of sex. (And even on the subject of beer, Santorum is more a connoisseur than a Joe Sixpack.)

The favorites of the crazies never have a plan to win the big states. They never have a plan for amassing enough cash and they never have the retail political skill. It's as if they don't seem to care, or think there's something noble about being done in by a hated RINO with a fat bankroll. (We know from the shutdown that teabaggers see failure as proof of nobility and virtue.)

In this way, the wingnut candidates almost seem like the most earnest of indie rockers -- they'd rather be pure than sell out, maaaan. And that does give Christie (or whoever fills the McCain/Romney slot in 2016) a serious advantage.


Luigi said...

I know you are panicked about the shot & a beer appeal of Christie to the national electorate, but you continually forget one thing: the east coast, in particular New Jersey, is not the rest of the country. He may be the Republicans best hope for 2016. But Mittens was their best hope last year. And Christie has more downside than Walter Mitty's stand-up double.

He won't pass the smell test in the rest of the country and I would bet that he will actually perform more poorly than Mittens did in the South.

Assuming Hillary is our nominee, I actually expect there to be a large (I don't like to say landslide) percentage in her favor. And you can shoot as much video that you want of Christie cuddling up to Latinos. A decently run Democratic national campaign will win.

Steve, it is now time for you to start telling "progressives" to get off Hillary's back simply because her last name is Clinton. Shame on them.

Victor said...

Cruz and Paul have identified themselves.
Rubio's trying.

Christie's trying to position himself.
And I agree with Mr. Pierce in your update yesterday, Democrats need to start defining Christie to the mass of voters - NOW!!! - because by winning a solidly Blue state, the MSM is already defining him.
And THAT'S NOT the definition the Democrats want out there.

Show the angry, out-of-control side of Christie - FSM knows there are enough video's of him acting like a major league assholes!
And position those in ads comparing the calm and reasoned Barack Hussein Obama, and ask, "Is THIS the man you want to follow our current President?"

Never Ben Better said...

Are you guys reading what BooMan has to say about Christie? He's done a series of articles over the last few days about how Jersey won't sell well to the rest of the country.

Me? I'm not going to start panicking yet. Too much time between now and when the rubber hits the road.

Steve M. said...

I know BooMan thinks heartland Republicans won't like an abrasive guy from Jersey -- but isn't abrasiveness what Fox News is all about? How different is Christie from their favorite Long Islanders on Fox, O'Reilly and Hannity?

Never Ben Better said...

Yes, the right-wingers like a guy who bullies their favorite punching bags, but will the mushy middle in the general be equally charmed, or will they be repulsed by a thin-skinned screamer who punches down?

We shall see, or not, depending on how the nominating process goes.