Brash and bigmouthed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was once a rising star in the Republican party, but those days are long gone. While aides to the no-nonsense governor of the Garden State insist there is room for an establishment candidate in the crowded field for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Christie should instead pack up the tent and reconsider making the formal announcement that is rumored to come next week.
Christie’s political ambitions are unrealistic, which may be the best reason he should reconsider. He is polling as 52 percent unfavorable in his home state and badly among likely Republican voters as well. Not only is Christie disliked in New Jersey and polling terribly nationally, his appearance just doesn’t make him appear presidential. Not a cheap weight joke here, but let’s be honest, appearances are important to the presidential contest. Christie definitely didn’t do himself any favors when he decided to put on a full baseball uniform for an NYPD celebrity softball game recently. He predictably then became the butt of jokes for his oafish look.
As if this dumbfounded look on his face in the above picture while dressed in an impossibly tight uniform wasn’t enough reason for Christie to reconsider running, following are five more. Consider it free advice, Mr. Governor, and just like your campaign, donations are always welcome.
Back when Christie was a rising star who told it like it is, would anyone have thought that he would have been done in by something having to do with our first president? No, probably not. In 2013, following revelations Christie played petty political games with the mayor of a town who didn’t support his run for the governorship — when he conspired with underlings to block lanes of the George Washington Bridge that connects northern Manhattan with New Jersey — his popularity both nationally and in his home state began to slip considerably.
2. HURRICANE SANDY
New Jersey was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy, which landed on the East Coast in October 2012, and Christie’s administration has badly botched the recovery. If the governor couldn’t deal with a statewide crisis, then what prospects would he have to handle a national or international disaster well?
This country has had plenty of out-of-shape presidents. Even in their best moments, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon pretty much looked like death, and Bill Clinton’s celebrated Big Mac cravings put on the pounds, but these men all had attributes that Christie does not possess, which made up for their other shortcomings. Reagan was a great communicator of big ideas, Nixon an encyclopedia of government and procedure and Clinton a brilliant speaker able to reach political compromises. In contrast, Christie seems to lack poise and a certain indefinable leadership quality.
4. ABRASIVE STYLE
The governor’s truth-telling style may have won Christie the office in a state infamous for men who claim they work in the “waste disposal business” yet spend many of their working hours in social clubs and strip joints, but nationally, being on the attack all the time just wouldn’t work for long. For example, it would be hard to see him trying to intimidate reporters at a White House press briefing. If he did attempt to do so, there are many veteran journalists in the Washington, D.C. press corps who would make it a point to needle Christie-as-president at nearly every turn if he decided to take that route, which could backfire and make for a miserable four years in office.
5. PROBLEMS AT HOME
If selected as the Republican nominee in a general election, it’s quite likely that Christie wouldn’t even win his home state. Recent polls have reported that just 30 percent of state voters approve of the job Christie is doing. Losing the state the candidate is from would be a hugely embarrassing episode for both Christie and the Republican party. It might just be better if Christie retires the notion that he can be president, and while he’s at it, it might be about the time to tuck away those softball pants for good, too.
Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.