As TheDC’s Amanda Carey recently reported, a group of Iowa donors are about to embark on “a mission to convince [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie to run for president in 2012.” Count me among those who believe Christie is probably the best positioned Republican to oust Obama in 2012.
This is true because Christie is perhaps the only possible challenger who can a). match Obama in terms of charisma and gravitas, but b). do so in a completely different manner.
Both these elements are important. The sooner Republicans realize this, the better. Unfortunately, several plausible, but misleading arguments have sprung up to muddy the waters.
For example, some have posited the theory that after Obama’s charismatic but superficial “Yes We Can!” campaign of 2008, the public is yearning to embrace a more steady (read boring) candidate in 2012. Yeah, right.
This, of course, is as absurd as saying, “After that quarterback breaks her heart, she’ll want a nerd like me.” When was the last time the American public rejected a charismatic politician in favor of a less charismatic one? This is the kind of delusional theory advanced by the truly desperate among us — and it is ironic that the scions of Burke would advance such an abstract theoretical argument in the face of several millenia of observable human tradition wherein the most charismatic guy wins.
Unlike many in the GOP field today, Christie has the gravitas, charisma, and intellect to stand on the same stage with the President of the United States — and not look small (pun intended). This is no small thing (pun intended).
An equally flawed theory is the notion that the best way to beat Obama is to find our own Obama (the people advancing this notion mean that Republicans should run someone who is philosophically conservative, but stylistically similar to Obama).
This, too, is a flawed theory; campaigns are about contrast not similarity. If you like thin, professorial types — you’re probably voting for Obama in 2012. You’re not going to out-Obama, Obama. (Note: In 2016, a conservative Obama might work — but not in 2012). In this regard, how could you find someone more stylistically different from Obama than Chris Christie?
In short, Chris Christie is exactly the same, yet completely different, than Barack Obama. And that is why he might actually beat him.