If Christie Doesn't Make It to the White House, Don't Blame His Blunt Persona

There are many reasons Christie may never be president, but his manner is not one of them

Forget the acceptance speech. If you want an example of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's imposing political IQ, watch the nine-minute impromptu speech he delivered in Sea Bright a few days before the election. The impeccable populist instincts that make Christie such a formidable politician were all in play—authenticity, empathy, combativeness.

It's the latter that is the most widely discussed aspect of Christie's political persona. It involves the gruff New York-area politico with the disposition of a Teamster. This is a guy who will look you in the eyes when he calls you on your BS. It's the guy who reacts to Warren Buffett's pleas for higher tax rates by saying, "Yeah, well, he should just write a check and shut up." It's the guy who tells a pestering liberal law student that he's an "idiot." ("I mean, damn, man, I'm governor. Could you shut up for a minute?") The guy who calls a former White House doctor, the one who suggested that he lose weight, a "hack" and, yes, tells her to just "shut up."

Christie wants a lot of people to shut up. The right people, usually.

Will the bluntness work on the national stage? That's the question a lot of people are asking. When he runs for president, will the average Minnesotan or Coloradan find this character refreshing? Boorish? Exotic?

Growing up in the NYC area, I am certainly familiar with the Christie type. And those with a similar upbringing will also recognize the cadence, the mannerisms and demeanor. Christie is the counter guy at the local deli who acts as if he's doing you a favor—"Hey, guy, what do you need?" He's busy. He's got important things to do—or at least a lot more important than whatever you're whining about. Attack is his default position when challenged. The flipside is his gregarious nature. And as often as we hear about Christie's yelling at some union mouthpiece, he's less famously engaging voters in an earnest way.

So what happens when Christie starts telling Midwesterners—people who live in states where they smile at you for no particular reason or say hi to you on the street even if they've never met you—to shut their pie holes?

There are many reasons Christie may never be president, but his manner is not one of them. One liberal columnist claimed that Americans will be turned off by Christie's "famous bullying of ordinary citizens." This was exactly what liberals were telling us would happen in New Jersey. It never did. Maybe that's because what he's really famous for is confronting political adversaries as an ordinary citizen would—or wishes he or she could. Certainly, that's part of his appeal. Maybe it's refreshing. It's the frankness that validates the authenticity. Anyway, how likely is it that voters in Arizona or Virginia will be more appalled by Christie's conduct than the voters (more than 55 percent of them women) in Democratic Party-heavy New Jersey, who've seen him up close for years?

There are few things an elected official works harder at than pretending to be a "real" person. Christie is comfortable playing himself. It doesn't feel as if he's reaching for a mental cue card with talking points every time he answers a question. And when he doesn't want to answer a question, Christie tells you, "It's none of your business." Lawyer, lobbyist, governor, perhaps, but the perception is that he is as real as real gets in major league politics. Even when you disagree with him, you rarely dislike him. That kind of public currency goes a long way.

He may not be what conservatives want, but he may be what they need.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • PD Scott||

    Maybe people in NJ just really like angry assholes.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    NJ appears to me to be the place of the blunt forehead. The strange inch-thinkers. Perfect place for squiggly fatties to get elected. They look like boardwalk sausages and NJ shits who think like clams like their sausages to lay there on a hot bun and get bitten into a stomach orgy... kinda like Pennsylvania Dutch fucks and their iron-like starfish cop brigades who ply the citizen brigades into limp mass sandwiches of creepy crowdy sexual weirdness.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Nothing wrong with sex weird. It's just that when bitches get poopholes plied without being happy about it that it generally isn't like the proverbial garage sale. Cool with seller and buyer.

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    ...what the fuck?

  • LynchPin1477||

    Bath salts?

  • Libertarius||

    Worse: postmodernism. Reads like any William S. Burroughs I ever tried to read.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I don't think "angry assholes" is really the right description. I'm generally not a fan. I think he's basically too statist for my tastes. But, I will acknowledge Harsanyi has a point. Many of the times that he calls out opponents specifically (as opposed to general statements), everyone does know they're slinging BS. He's got good instincts. Just lousy politics.

  • PD Quig||

    If Christie doesn't make it to the White House it will most likely be the custard doughnuts, chicken-fried steak, cannolis, and See's candies. His abrupt style is likely to see an abrupt end...without even the entertainment value of being videoed doing meth.

    I used to like the guy until it became clear that it was really nothing more than the usual political play. The guy has no apparent philosophical (or physical) core. Or rather, they are both surrounded by copious lard.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Midwesterners will be happy for Christie to tell people to shut up, as long as it is people they disagree with.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Midwwesterners will like Christie dick shoved deep into their tonsils whether they like it or not, Lynchy pynchy.

  • Square||

    Because Chris Christie personifies the very attitude that people outside of the NY-NJ area despise about people from the NY-NJ area he won't alienate people outside the NY-NJ area?

  • Jquip||

    Yes and no. He's brusque to be sure. But telling vapid people that they're vapid is a bit of guilty schadenfreude that will play well in every place that isn't the West coast.

    That is, he's saying the un-PC things that people desperately want to, but can't for want of a paycheck.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Christie is un-pc like and vapid as a fucking NJ sausage sandwich. He's a goddamn brain fart that American inch-thinkers love.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    AC, I share your opposition to Christie. Just don't underestimate the guy's appeal. For a while, the guy had conservatives eating out of the palm of his hand. Hell, for a while, he had Gillespie calling him a libertarian.

  • PaulW||

    I understand what he was doing when he was best bros with Obama after Sandy, but I don't know if I can ever forgive him for most likely changing the outcome of that election. Not that Romney was any good.

    However, if it means someone like Rand Paul gets to be President 4 years earlier, I think I will forgive him.

  • RightNut||

    I must admit I admired his bluntness when dealing with the teacher's unions.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    You admired a minuscule aspect of a raging fooltard. What does this constitute about thee?

  • RightNut||

    Someone forget to take their meds today?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That, and also telling the stupid Teabags to STFU about the judge he appointed of Arab descent. The bigots were howling at that.

  • SusanM||

    Having someone who cuts through bullshit (or at least, gives a convincing impression of such) on the national stage would be refreshing, if nothing else. I'd be happy to have Christie to support if he runs.

  • SusanM||

    OT: Would the IT wiz-kids at Reason.com please come to a decision about where the "preview" and "submit" buttons go? - it's getting really annoying.

  • ||

    How do you comment if there is no submit button?

    My preview button is there but it doesn't work.

  • SusanM||

    lol it's actually a rather minor thing. The preview and submit button positions get swapped depending if you're making a new comment or a reply.

    As anyone who's had a grain of sand in an intimate area can attest, small things can be really irritating if they go on for a while.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    He cuts bullshit like a fucking drunken farmer's Ohio plowshare... Christie is an 80's simpleton, bitch.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Christie seems to get a lot of flak around here. I'm not really sure why, exactly. I get the impression he isn't very good on gun rights, but I don't know the details of his stance. He doesn't seem too bad to me, based on what I've heard so far.

  • Drake||

    Christie is by far the best Governor we have had in NJ since I moved here 18 years ago (including Whitman). I like him as Governor because I know we simply can't do better.

    But he certainly isn't a Reagan or Paul small-government conservative - so he's despised at Reason.

    The people he has publicly argued with are the type who need a good NJ confrontation - union free-riders and such.

  • Robert||

    This is true. By the standards of Northeast governors, he's great for liberty. If he were a Democrat, he wouldn't catch suck flak at HyR, he might even be lauded more. If he's the worst who could be considered a serious contender for the Republican nomination for president, then these are wonderful times. Of course I'd like better, but if the poles of the debate are Paul and Christie, then we're in for good no matter what, because there's hardly a spec of traditionalist in him.

  • NYer||

    http://reason.com/blog/2013/07.....ain-of-li:

    "Chris Christie Attacks "This Strain of Libertarianism That's Going Through Both Parties Right Now"

    He's big supporter of the NSA Spying Program. And opposed the Amash-Conyers bill that would've of cut its funding.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Ah right, I remember that now. Yeah, that's a pretty big negative.

  • PaulW||

    If there is a God, Christie will die of a heart attack, collapse onto Hillary Clinton and smother her to death.

  • Mike M.||

    "Gimme, gimme, gimme all my Sandy money right now!"

    Rand Paul's most accurate quote so far in his career.

  • LynchPin1477||

    It's hard for me to get too worked up over this. The disaster money was there and allocated specifically to help with Sandy recovery. A good governor is going to try and go after it to help his state. And on the list of things that sends me in to a libertarian rage, federal disaster relief is pretty low.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Christie cuts through bullshit? He epitomizes a fukin cow patty, dear. He's clearly a verbose, mentally-truncated waste of political air that swarms a pile of steaming Washington turds. The entire system can be just be called Christie and people schmeople like your simple self will vote this long john GOP Kingpin in and in two months be wishing for Bush/Obama.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "One liberal columnist claimed that Americans will be turned off by Christie's "famous bullying of ordinary citizens"

    Bullying of ordinary citizens is liberal's stock in trade.

    In fact that is their entire ideological objective.

  • cw||

    Exactly what I was thinking.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Gilbert,

    Christ(ie) is a goddamn bully. The New Jersey sort of worthless political punk with the clout of a fucking king of pimps. I cannot imagine a more parasitic and vile sort of human being that loves crushing the common skull while said skull actually orgasms with the GOP drillbit in said skull... Christie is the Jeffery Dahmer of Republican politics, brah.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Even if every single word of that were true, that still makes him infinitely superior to every single liberal democrat alive on the planet.

  • DenverJay||

    Wrong, because then all the big state shit that he will continue has the imprimatur of both parties, and it will last forever. Right now, Obama owns NSA, etc. more than Boosh, and many Republicans oppose it just because it is Barry doing it. When a Republican keeps doing it, then the issue dies and the abuses become normalized.

  • optimusratiostultum||

    exactly

  • pangloss90@gmail.com||

    If there's one kind of person more loathsome than a self-righteous politician, it's the self-righteous asshole who shouts some loaded question at a politician and thinks they're speaking truth to power.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Uh... waaaaah? And... uh.... waaaah? Hell some strange truths that may make few cents should shake the fatty powers you fucking sheeposaurus.

  • DWC||

    Okay, why the fuck do we care about Chris Christie?

  • Faceless Commenter||

    Because Chris Christie cares about us.

  • XM||

    Problem is, he never yelled out Obama. Not once. And he'll never raise his voice in front of Clinton.

    He's gonna yell a lot to the libertarians though, because they're taking over the party.

    "Let's see how tough they are when I tear apart their green jackets and orange hats, and break their flutes!"

    "Yes! Yes!" GOP

  • JidaKida||

    lol, the only thing Christie cares about is where the next cheeseburger is coming from!

    www.Privacy-Road.tk

  • prolefeed||

    "He may not be what conservatives want, but he may be what they need deserve, good and hard."

    FTFY.

  • ||

    my co-worker's sister-in-law makes hourly on the laptop. She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her payment was just working on the laptop for a few hours. pop over to this web-site........ http://www.works23.com

  • ||

    my co-worker's sister-in-law makes hourly on the laptop. She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her payment was just working on the laptop for a few hours. pop over to this web-site........ http://www.works23.com

  • Faceless Commenter||

    I've overlooked some of Christie's dumb policies because I like his style. Eight years of that could do this country some massive good.

  • bimbim0302@gmail.com||

    Actually, I saw he was very poor and there is little respected. I do not think he deserves to be president, but he's really talented and has a little something
    http://jugarjugar.net

  • LynchPin1477||

    At 5:39 AM EST on November 9, 2013, Skynet became self aware!

  • ax123man||

    "Growing up in the NYC area..."

    Well, there's your problem. Having grown up in the midwest and spent more than two decades in the east, I know the NJ and NYC type. You apparently have little knowledge of the reverse. But I know a Republican who does:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/201.....-come-out/

    I also know another Republican who actually would do well in the midwest. It's interesting that Reason, a purported libertarian magazine, handled the plagairsm story as if writing for huffpo, while subtly supporting a candidate who has an issue with libertarianism, and has no chance - zero - of becoming President.

    What is going on here? Does this not raise questions that Reason should answer to?

    You can find the answer in the history of Reason and clearly things have not changed.

  • guy in the back row||

    There were many stories 6 months ago about how the Republican party was being hijacked by the Rand Paul wing. It's obvious to anyone under 75 that the McCain/Romney style of candidate will not be winning elections in the next decade. The establishment can't go with the Paul wing, because it would be self defeating to their employment prospects. Therefore Christie, who is a very different type of statist, is now being hailed as the savior of the party.

    We'll see how it sells during the 2015 primaries.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    The fat ass elephant in the room?

  • PD Quig||

    Well, he didn't have a trunk, so maybe he's just the elephant turd in the room?

  • Jayburd||

    Rhino in the room. Only a lawyer would hug another lying sack-o' lawyer for federal moolah. I guess rino is an obsolete term.

  • setTHEline||

    "He may not be what conservatives want, but he may be what they need."

    So.... is Reason really saying that Chris Christie might be the answer for conservatives? I don't care how tough, brutish, or charismatic he his. He's not conservative. Or maybe you're saying Chris Christie is what the Republican establishment needs? I could agree with that. He fits the bill for an establishment Repub, and can probably get to the left of the Democrat's candidate on some issues. Sounds like a winner! Or loser, depending on your perspective.

  • Richard McCargar||

    A loud and crude fat man isn't going to beat a harsh woman in 2016, because....it's time for a woman..

    What a drag that those two are likely to be our candidates; a shrill-shill and a fat-demagogue.

  • josh||

    christie has some bright spots, but the thing about combativness mixed with righteousness is you usually get a bad result, and he goes there sometimes.

    plus, as i'm finishing reading about how he was vetted in 2012, i get the feeling that he's a little bit of a paper tiger, among other things. he's not the gop savior some want him to be in any universe.

  • heddadjn||

    Im making over $30h a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,.... WWW.Max57.COM

  • sindeebir||

    My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do......
    www.Rush64.com

  • ||

    ▲▬▆ ▆▬▆■▉▬▉▉▉ I just got paid $858o working off my computer this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,

    ►●►●►●►▶ http://www.jobs53.com

  • Galane||

    Unfortunately for the country, he didn't tell himself to keep his mouth shut when it came to praising Obama for the response to Sandy.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement