Saturday, November 09, 2013


I don't know if Chris Christie's post-Sandy coziness with President Obama or his occasionally deviations from right-wing orthodoxy (like not thinking all Muslims are subhuman) will be enough to prevent him from winning the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. I think it's quite possible that Republican voters will reject him.

However, I keep reading that Christie might lose the nomination because he's too East Coast, too New Jersey, too abrasive. I keep reading that Christie's Jersey mouthiness plays well in the Northeast, but it's not going to play well in the heartland, or the South, where the Republican base mostly resides.

I would remind you that the Republican base's favorite TV talk show host is this guy, from Long Island:

And that the second-biggest star on Fox over the years has been this guy, also from Long Island:

And that the #4 right-wing radio talker in America, behind Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and Glenn Beck, is this guy, who was born in the Bronx:

And that the #5 right-wing radio talker is this guy, who was born not far from the Jersey border in Philadelphia, and grew up in the Philly suburbs:

You really think the GOP base doesn't respond well to abrasiveness? The GOP base structures its day around abrasiveness. The base spends all its waking hours watching or listening to one abrasive radio or TV host after another, many of them from the Northeast. Chris Christie is just more of the same.


Luigi said...

Part of me really does want to see a WWE Smackdown of Chris "The Mountain" Christie by the Hillster (Clinton). Great Pay Per View! Bring popcorn.

Jon said...

I thnk they're different. Christen is abrasive but not angry, and fury is what their base really feeds on.

Unknown said...

I think the base might warm to him. However, I don't think it plays well in the general. I was born and raised on Long Island. The culture there is similar to Jersey. Trust me; does not play well in the Midwest.

Knight of Nothing said...

I'm from Minnesota. The way I see it, Christie's biggest problem isn't that he's "East Coast." I think his biggest problem is that he is incredibly thin-skinned and petty. He reminds me a lot of Governor Jesse Ventura.

Victor said...

Being an asshole, at some level or other, is a prerequisite for Conservatives.

aimai said...

I would never deny that the conservative base feeds on rage, resentment, and brutality but it must always be directed away from anyone the voter feels some identity with. In addition: a radio personality or a tv personality is slotted into a safe space as both a friend and an entertainer. When such a person steps over the line you can always turn to one identity or the other to excuse it.

I don't think that holds true for political figures at all. Not that the base doesn't like someone who is agressive and "tells it like it is" and "takes no prisoners"--they do. But other considerations come into play. But all political figures have to promise to deliver. Right now Christie is getting by on som elimited entertainer/quip thing. When his record gets examined and when he blows up at home town newspaper people and when he shits all over some sympathetic person (sympathetic to the base) well--its just not going to be ok for the vast majority of voters. The 27 percent will still love him and a huge number of Republicans will still vote for him in the general, but he will have long since lost his crossover appeal. And that is all that distinguishes him from anyone else: the fantasy of cross over appeal.

I'm not saying its not wrong to worry about Chrstie, it is. But ultimately he's going to be yesterday's fish.

Victor said...

BooMan has an interesting take on Christie and his popularity:

Knight of Nothing said...

@aimai - very well put. If I may continue my parallel, before he was governor, Ventura had a radio show, and he was actually pretty entertaining - because that's what he is: an entertainer! And that's a big part of what got him elected. But for my part, I didn't want him anywhere near public office, and his term pretty much bore out my reservations. At least he had the good sense to leave office after one term. (Of course, then we got stuck with Pawlenty.)

Anyway, Christie is quite a bit more polished & savvy than Ventura (!), and as a corporate/Koch shill, not nearly as independent-minded as Jesse "the Governor" Ventura. But he exhibits all of the same bully-boy flaws that just will not be successful in the long run. It would have been better if the democrats had bruised him up in this election cycle. But I think that in a national campaign, he'll step on a rake just as sure as the sun rises.

aimai said...

I agree with you K of N (of course!) and I'd like to add that in a sense all politicians are entertainers or appreciated for their entertainment value for some portion of the electorate for some portion of the election space--the question is does their persona continue to appeal as the voter gets down to finding out more about them, to comparing them to other candidates, or having to actually pull th elever in the general. I get the sense that a lot of people watch this stage and right up through their own primaries more or less as free-fun: who is the most outrageous, who gets the most coverage. But they only really start paying attention and putting their "choosing" mind to it much later in the process. And when they do suddenly all the appreciation for a spoiler, or an asshole, or at any rate some guy from outside of your particular regional comfort zone, evaporates. A lot of people "liked" Newt as theater who never considered voting for him. A lot of people might "like" what they heard about Santorum or Cucchinelli who, when presented with him, will reject him. Its a long process. Right now Christie and everyone else is just jockeying for name recognition and hoping that whatever errorst they make will be forgotten when it comes to the primaries.

Examinator said...

In the final wash up I'm not that convinced that the rusted on voter (read the rump of party members and followers) thinks of the polies as entertainers per se., more like infotainment.
I'm not convinced that the bulk of voters actually think (least of all of the reality/ probable consequences of actions …. they emote.)
By and large the bases are prejudiced and substantially ignorant. For example I often hear the comment that the US government is broke i.e. it spends more that it's worth! Not true. The public debt (government) is 3% of GDP.
Most households are FAR more leveraged than that. The killer is is the cumulated PRIVATE debt... everyone's mortgages, credit cards and hire purchase (never never debts). But that is unsaleable politically and it implies cutting back on consumer spending...not good for the powers that are. Hence the verbal slight of hand/ manufactured crisis... for which there needs to be a “general?”, “saviour?”.... somebody else to blame and somebody Else's problem to fix it, anything but me actually curbing MY excesses.

The media talking heads shock jocks etc are more a combination of cathartic therapy “you tell em...” and confirmation/justification of their own assorted prejudices etc.
It seems to me that it's to this background they (we) choose our politicians. And as I've said before Being a politician is the only profession in which the most qualified candidate is simultaneously the least appropriate to hold the position. (there are qualified exceptions). Ms warren perhaps and Obama.

He came in with high hopes and ambitions but once he was elected the system read him the reality Act.... told him what he could achieve and what he couldn't. And he gets the blame. Take for example Gitmo (politics stopped him) etc etc etc both from within his side? And without.
No meaning to upset NYC any more but let's be real we all know where the intransigence in the Israel/ Palestinian (read middle east conflict) is.
In reality POTUS is a bit like a LSD trip...whoa man that's exciting far out ….but the crash is 4 years long and many, very detrimental.
Christie will be no exception he will have to dance to the “powers' tune”.
Notwithstanding that the public want confirmation of their views prejudices and someone they BELIEVE will magically fix the mess(?). Christie's challenge will be to convince the 'persuadable' voters that he is the person to do that. He has to thread the needle and keep the Ultra conservatives engaged.

Romney kept the base (rump) engaged even though their preferred candidates were eliminated. He failed because he didn't convince enough of the “persuadables”.
The old apolitical adage says "challengers (Oppositions) never win elections the incumbents (governments) lose them" this is called the incumbency factor.

Patient X said...

My guess is that enough of the base will overlook his lack of insane views to permit the Rove/Wall Street owners of the Republican Party to put him over. And then Hillary will win anyway.

Russell Laverty said...

Why do people say that Christie's abrasive style plays well in the "Northeast"? Some places maybe but here in Boston that style reminds us of everything we dislike about New York. That won't play anywhere in New England. He'd be lucky to win New Hampshire.

Knight of Nothing said...

@aimai - agreed. It's actually pretty absurd to be talking about 2016 right now. How many people guessed that Obama would be the nominee in 2005? Or Bush in 1997?

Steve M. said...

On the other had, you really might have picked Romney as the next GOP nominee in 2009, or Gore as the next Democratic nominee in 1997.

Knight of Nothing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Knight of Nothing said...

Good point. I don't have the stats in front of me, but I read somewhere that Republicans tend toward turn-taking, in which the runner-up of the previous primary gets the nod in the following election. I believe Romney, McCain, Dole, and Reagan are all cited in this calculus. Perhaps another factor is that the party in power perhaps has a clearer successor?

Examinator said...

poo! I really should have reread the above post
It should have read the Deficit is about 63% of the GDP
However 47% of that is actually Private debt [Depending who you read and how they calculate it]
The treasury figures are in that range.
The over all point still stands.
Um sorry very red face :-(