Commentary | Chris Christie, Republican rock star and governor of New Jersey, has emerged as a punching bag for frustrated conservatives as the results of the election wash over the party and a convenient target of blame is sought.
Chris Christie, in case you missed it, is being held up by many as a factor in Mitt Romney’s defeat at the hands of Barack Obama, but the trend is one likely to deprive the Republican party of its only hope to grab marketshare back from the Democrats and pull this thing out in four years.
Chris Christie is everything the Republican Party needs to be if it wants to still be the Republican Party and survive. For a conservative, Christie is pragmatic and progressive in thought. He espouses the party’s basic ideals and makes an intellectual case for them, but the plain-spoken Jersey governor doesn’t waste time rejecting the truth or ignoring factual things — and as we learned last week, when push comes to shove Christie, unlike his compatriots, puts people over party and for this, his fellow conservatives have lashed out.
For his part, Christie isn’t accepting the blame, as he shouldn’t. That the man did not allow Jersey to suffer more and instead worked with the President is not a smear but a credit, and anyone who suggests otherwise is harming the party more than Christie could have even had he endorsed Obama, which he did not.
Christie commented on the election’s outcome yesterday, first noting he was “extraordinarily disappointed” at Romney’s loss during a news conference in Harvey Cedars. The governor said that he didn’t expect it to end so soon, and explained:
“I was surprised that it ended as quickly as it did … People decide elections and so my job as an elected official is to move forward after that. I’m not going to spend a lot of time looking into my rear-view mirror.”
Christie was asked why Romney lost, to which he joked the candidate “didn’t get enough votes,” and said:
“I don’t go into that kind of analysis. I’m not a pundit. I’m an office holder.”
Again, to his credit, Chris Christie didn’t back off from working with the President to move recovery forward in Jersey, which is the job of an elected official. He said:
“I’m a guy who tells the truth all the time. If the president of the United States did something good, I was going to say he did something good and give him credit for it. It doesn’t take away for a minute the fact that I was the first governor in America to endorse Mitt Romney, that I traveled literally tens of thousands of miles for him, raised tens of millions of dollars for him, and worked harder than any other surrogate in America other than Paul Ryan.”
And, he says, he is still more concerned with the welfare of his constituents than political bickering — a stance the GOP would be wise to notice, acknowledge and most importantly, embrace:
“I’m going to do the job I have now as best I can — do first things first — and my future, whatever it is, will take of itself. I’m honored to be the governor of New Jersey. That’s all I’m worried about right now. With the stuff that I’ve been dealing with for the past eight or nine days … politics becomes much smaller when you’re dealing with life or death issues.”
Do you blame Chris Christie for Romney’s defeat?