Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christie Out of Favor with Right of Center Political Junkies

Political journalists, consultants, officeholders, and candidates are, let's be honest, junkies. They're addicted. They can never get enough of politics, political speculation, or campaigning. The object of life for many of them isn't to govern, but to win. For them, the four years between presidential elections isn't when government policies are debated and enacted, it's just part of the election cycle, akin to a major league baseball or NFL football season.

So, it was no surprise on election night to see the pundits speculating on who the Democratic and Republican Party candidates in 2016 would be. (That's when I turned off the TV and pulled out a book.)

Nor was it surprising to learn that within days of the election, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) was off to Iowa to lend his help to the state GOP with a fundraiser.

Yesterday, Ann Althouse reported on an informal poll conducted among "right of center bloggers" as to their preferred GOP presidential candidates for 2016. 

The bad news is that 74 responded.

The good news is that 240 were asked.

Might it be too much to hope that the majority of this sampling of politically-engaged folks would rather be focused on the governance part of government for awhile, you know, sort of let the Electoral College actually cast their votes in December before beginning the presidential campaign full force?

A person can hope, can't he?

So, what did the bloggers say? You can read a full report here

What stands out is how far New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has fallen in the eyes of this sampling of conservative bloggers. Based on what I see on Twitter posted by conservative folks, it would seem the right of center bloggers' disdain of Christie is fairly widespread among some Republicans. Christie is no longer the their darling.

They appear to believe that by expressing appreciation for the help that President Obama and his appointees with FEMA gave to New Jersey in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Christie effectively handed the election to the President. This is viewed as a betrayal by some folks, as though Christie's highest call of duty is to the electoral chances of his party and not to the state or the nation.

Whether Chris Christie is qualified to be president or if his overall record is sufficient to pass muster with Republican Party conservatism are the sorts of questions I don't deal with. I've come to believe that pastors shouldn't do politics.

But Christie's apparent fall from grace among some Republicans is stunning: At the beginning of this presidential cycle, conservatives were urging him to run for president despite his short time as governor. And these same folks lapped up his forceful keynote address at the Republican National Convention this year.

Note: It wasn't a scandal that did Christie in. He hasn't defiled the flag or enagaged in espionage. He hasn't even been done in by a flip-flop.

What has done Christie in among some of his fellow Republicans, at least for the moment, is an expression of appreciation to the President of the United States for helping his state.

Of course, there are folks in every ideological camp who prefer ideological purity (according to the definition du jour of their ideology, of course) to getting things done.

But voters like pragmatism and magnanimity, which is why my guess is that when the voters of New Jersey go to the polls this coming November, even some of those who are very blue Democrats with misgivings about some of the cuts the governor has effected in their state, many will mark their ballots for Chris Christie.

By the way, how predictive is this poll of "right of center bloggers," who have been polled at similar times four years before the next presidential elections regarding their choices for president?

Negatively predictive. In other words, the folks they least preferred have ended up becoming their party's nominee...then losing the elections. John Hawkins explains:
In 2008, the least wanted candidates for bloggers were...John McCain and Ron Paul.

In 2012, the least wanted candidates for bloggers were...Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

So, going by those results, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush would have to be considered the early favorites for 2016 based on the fact that conservative bloggers don’t want either of them as a nominee.
Personally, I'd prefer the candidate, from whatever party, who had to be persuaded at the last minute to run for president. I know, it's not gonna happen. Marco Rubio will soon be joined by an army of Red and Blue would-be presidents tromping around Iowa and New Hampshire. After all, the addicts must get their fixes.

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