Thursday, August 08, 2013


Gail Collins thinks Chris Christie is going to have trouble in a presidential run because he yells too much:
Let's talk about Gov. Chris Christie. Everybody is; he's the politician of the hour. At the top of the latest poll of likely Republican presidential primary voters in New Hampshire. (Just two-and-a-half years to go until the Iowa caucuses!)

If he winds up running, it could be a fantastic test of my theory that women won't vote for men who yell....

There's a side to Christie that reminds women of their worst boyfriends. In his race for governor in 2009, he won male voters by a wide margin. But women went for his opponent, Gov. Jon Corzine, 50 percent to 45 percent. This is a particularly startling figure when you add in the fact that Corzine had the personal warmth and communication skills of an unconscious flounder....

In that New Hampshire poll, Christie got 27 percent of the male vote and 14 percent of the women. All the other candidates mentioned were pretty much gender gapless. It's just one little poll, but maybe we're onto something....
I think too much is being made of that WMUR Granite State poll -- not just because it's so early, but because it's New Hampshire. Sure, New Hampshire will have a huge impact on the GOP primary race. But it'll be wedged in between Iowa (where the evangelical vote is decisive) and South Carolina (which is, well, South Carolina). Unless Christie has credibly transformed himself into a full-bore Obama-bashing, shut-down-the-government wingnut by then, New Hampshire could be the only state of the three in which Christie finishes better than fourth.

But I bring up the Collins column because I'm not sure voters see Christie exclusively as a yeller (which is why I think he'd be a formidable candidate in a general election, if possibly not in the GOP primaries). Obviously, Christie does yell a lot. But he has another side to his personality that I fear is disarming. It's this one (if you loathe Christie, try to establish control over your gag reflex before watching):

The thing is, he looks as if he sincerely wants to be regarded as huggable and lovable. He looks as if he wants the hug. To me, that says he wants it both ways: he wants to bash people, but not get called on it because at times he's not nasty. But if you're the type of person who's not inclined to be cynical about ambitious politicians, he reads as a flesh-and-blood guy who enjoys some normal things. He likes connecting with people. He loves Bruce. He loves his wife.

That's appealing to voters, I'm afraid.


Now, can you imagine Ted Cruz doing that hug thing on Morning Joe? Can you imagine him hugging anybody? Do you know of anything he likes, besides bashing his enemies?

This is one reason I'm rooting for Ted Cruz to win the Republican presidential nomination. Always being in a state of self-righteous rage, expressing no feelings other than contempt for enemies -- that seems to play well on the right. Unless Christie tacks right convincingly, I think Cruz has a much better short at the nomination.

But Christie Cruz seems incapable of expressing human feelings. A Time interviewer gives him a shot at persuading us he's not just a guy who loathes his enemies -- the same opportunity Christie got in the clip above -- and Cruz responds by ... showing us how much he loathes his enemies, even as he (very unconvincingly) denies he's a hater:

What do people misinterpret about you?

I don't know what others misinterpret. I think most Americans don't really care about politicians bickering in Washington. There have been some political actors and some elite [media] that have tried to paint a caricature and thrown some rather heated insults. I have not reciprocated, and I don't intend to reciprocate. Indeed, in my time in office, I have endeavored not to speak an ill word about any colleague.

There's an old joke that politics is Hollywood for ugly people. An awful lot of the press coverage about Washington reads like coverage of Hollywood. Madonna is having some spat with Sean Penn. Who cares? And who cares which politician is mad at that politician? My single greatest frustration in Washington is in the seven months, the U.S. Senate has spent virtually zero time even talking about jobs and the economy. We spent a month battling about taking away people’s Second Amendment gun rights.

I do think in the media there is a tendency to describe conservatives as one of two things: stupid or evil. And those are the two categories that every conservative gets put in by Democrats and the media. A conservative is either stupid -- too dumb to know the right answer -- and even worse, if they actually know the right answer, then they're evil. They want people to suffer. I suppose I feel mildly complimented in that they have recently invented a third category, which is crazy. It's the alternative to stupid or evil. And now crazy is the third one, because it seems inconceivable that there could be Americans who believe in free-market principles and believe in the Constitution and are working to defend them.

So, to sum up: He hates the media, and wallows in the perception that the media hates him. He hates people who fight for gun control. He hates people who say he hates people.

Does this guy ever relax?

You know Obama relaxes. You can see that Christie can relax. We've seen Hillary drink shots in a bar, and we know she likes to watch Love It or List It on HGTV. By comparison, Cruz seems, well, monomaniacal. He talks about nothing but contempt for his enemies.

Republicans, please, please nominate Cruz.


Anonymous said...

Don't know if I've mentioned this here before, but one of my better friends from high school went to Princeton and ended up as Ted Cruz's freshman roommate. I heard stories about this weird, tightly wound guy with a knack for making everyone uncomfortable _in 1988_. I guess we're not all the same people we were when we were 18, but he doesn't seem to have gotten any better since then to me.

(As it happens, I know another person who was on the debate team with Cruz at Princeton, and remembers him as a high-scoring, impressive performer. I find that hard to believe, because he seems so dogmatic and programmed, but FWIW, that's what she tells me.)

Philo Vaihinger said...

Such a girl show. Heck, it's a girl network.

We're a long way from the old home improvement shows that were basically a kind of post-high school shop class.

Those shows were about telling guys how to tie a new rope onto the sash window or plane the edge of a sticky door.

HGTV is about selling stuff to girls for Home Depot, Lowe's, and Walmart.

J Neo Marvin said...

But Christie seems incapable of expressing human feelings.

Did you mean Cruz there?

Chris Andersen said...

"Madonna is having a spat with Sean Penn?"

Way to date yourself dude.

Victor said...

I think Cruz and an android Joe McCarthy in Hispanic form - but the negative side is that the android can't drink himself to death, like "Tailgunner Joe."

BooMan said...

Even hitler knew how to [smile].

Steve M. said...

Did you mean Cruz there?

Thanks -- fixed now.

Unknown said...

The Tea Party (unlike this blog) is alive and KICKING ASS !

Steve M. said...

Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

Steve M. said...

By the way, what's the vote count on impeachment and conviction of Obama? You need supermajorities in both houses. How close are you, sport?

Unknown said...

If you guys on the left think the Tea Party is dead, better look again, we've only begun to fight. We're going to educate, and demonstrate, meditate and concentrate on changing your hearts and minds and we're going to do it in such a way that is non violent, and who knows, may be you'll learn something about being a real American in the process, something of what truly did make America great in the past. Not simply throwing platitudes and worn out slogans at serious issues that face our Nation right now. God bless all of you, but beware, we're coming for your mind and your heart and soul. We are the Tea Party!!!

Steve M. said...

I think you're looking for this thread, where you and your fellow tea-bots are reciting Fox talking points to one another in an vain attempt to persuade us that you have something worthwhile to offer America. We're just sitting back and laughing at you.

Glennis said...

Not simply throwing platitudes and worn out slogans at serious issues that face our Nation right now.

Aww, lookee. That's so cute. Bless his heart.

Anonymous said...

The Cruz/Obama comparison scares me a bit in the sense that his own pre-famous legislative record is thin enough that he exists as a blank slate for idealistic wingnuts across the spectrum to assign their own beliefs onto him. Then, like Obama in 2007, they are all to ready to forgive him when his obvious flaws (like the lack of humanity) come forth.

Steve M. said...

I'm not too worried about that because I think Ted Cruz constructs his worldview exclusively from Fox and talk radio talking points. In that way, I don't think he's like Obama, who mixes left, center and right ideas. I don't think Cruz will be someone you can project a belief system on -- just turn on AM radio and there's Cruz's belief system.