Chris Christie

It's a Jersey Thing: Why Chris Christie—or Any Pol From the Garden State—Can't Go National


I've got a new column up at which discusses what being from New Jersey means for Chris Christie, the embattled governor of the greatest state in the country. Snippets:

Shows such as The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire only make sense in a place like New Jersey, where everyone has a chip on their shoulder, is hustling to make a buck, and is desperate for prestige (as South Park memorably summarized it in 2010, "It's a Jersey thing"). That's the reason, too, that Abscam, the FBI sting operation that informs the plot of the acclaimed new movie American Hustle, was centered around Atlantic City and took down mostly New Jersey politicians, too. Even more than the typical elected official, Garden State pols want money, power, and respect.

But as Tony Soprano (played so memorably by the late Jersey native James Gandolfini), could tell you, the same forces that spur ambition and success also carry within them their own demise. It quickly becomes difficult to know when serious lines are being crossed or the wrong messages are being sent to the people around you….

It's telling that in his rise to national prominence, Gov. Christie captured headlines less for what he did than how he did it. Where other Republican governors have implemented major structural changes to collective bargaining (Wisconsin's Scott Walker) or educational policy (Louisiana's Bobby Jindal), Christie has essentially governed as a big-government conservative, spending more money each year he's been in office and doling out conventional corporate welfare to favored constituents. The State of the State address he delivered yesterday didn't change any of that.

What's made him famous — or infamous, depending on your politics — was his willingness to shout down teachers, reporters, and even voters that he deemed idiots or worse. In short, it's his Jersey attitude, not his policies, that have put him on top of potential Republican presidential candidates….

Even if he's ultimately fully exonerated in these and any other scandals, a question about his temperament will remain. Ironically, the same 100 percent Jersey temperament that got him noticed may disqualify him for life outside of Trenton. New Jersey exports tons of fruits, vegetables, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, and above all, smart people. What it hasn't done in a very long time — and probably for very good reason — is export a president.

Full col here.

NEXT: Texas Gubernatorial Candidates Raise Big Bucks

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 or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. He’s cabbage.

  2. Milton Friedman was from Jersey. Yeah, bitches.

    1. NJ Presidents are the worst. Take your Woodrow Wilson and shove him.

      1. No. I don’t think I will.

      2. Yeah, but Wilson was born in Virginia and grew up in Georgia. He didn’t get to Jersey until college.

        The only president born in Jersey is the greatly underappreciated Grover Cleveland, the president with the most vetoes per year in office in history.

        1. He was also a bane of the corrupt. He ran a clean government.

      3. “Hey, Senator Lodge, up yours!”

        “Yo, I’m making peace here!”

        “Free speech, yeah, whatever, enjoy your twenty-year prison sentence!”

        “Hey, buddy, pipe down about our new Federal Reserve, it’s going to help the economy!”

      4. Grover Cleveland was born in New Jersey.

        So you shut your whore mouth.

  3. What fucking chip on my shoulder?

    1. +1 chip

    2. Fuck you, ya mook!

  4. Well, the GOP ran Obama Lite last election, why not Lite Obama Lite this one? They’ve made it clear that they never want to win another major election again, forever and ever, amen.

  5. “New Jersey exports tons of fruits, vegetables, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, and above all, …


    1. For the record, I consider Staten Island a tumor growing on New Jersey, so don’t start with that.

      1. I lived in SI for a couple of my high school years in the 80’s. The only good thing I have to say about it is that the girls were looser than in Brooklyn.

        1. I’ve read that they can get that tightened up, but it’s supposed to be very painful.

  6. Where the Fuck is my alt-text?

  7. I grew up in NJ. Some of what he says is true. But I don’t think people in NJ as a whole are much different than the rest of the North East.

    1. Which is to say, it’s his Jersey their attitude?

    2. Especially Bahston.

    3. for my fellow former NJers, John Gorka did a great song on being from there.

    4. But I don’t think people in NJ as a whole are much different than the rest of the North East.

      And since the Northeast is mostly a bunch of self-righteous puritan statists…

  8. Aren’t polls nationwide? So if Christie is leading in the GOP polls, then a ton of non-New Jerseyans must be digging his style. Somewhere down deep we’ve all had a desire to eviscerate some teacher union twit, obsequious leftie, vegan loud-mouth, or dim reporter.

    1. Yeah, Nick is pretty much 180 degrees off target here. Christie’s biggest hurdle is his RINO-ness, not his Jersey-ness. I thought that was clear to everybody.

      1. Well, the fact that he’s a RINO stems from the fact he’s from New Jersey (he couldn’t have gotten elected as a real conservative), so…

      2. To be fair – like Romney, Christie has to try to govern effectively despite big Democrat majorities in the state legislature. He has to shout a lot just to hold back the tide of spending and bad legislation.

        I don’t like him as a national candidate, but we won’t do better in this state.

    2. At this point in the presidential race all polling really reflects is name recognition. As a New York-area politician, Christie gets way more media attention than virtually all the other likely candidates whose names turn up in polls. The test will be what polling looks like when Christie actually starts trying to do “retail level” politics in Iowa and New Hampshire. That’s where his personality is likely to hurt him.

  9. the greatest state in the country.

    Said noone not from new jersey…evah

  10. Nick Gillespie is yet another disaffected NJ expat who disses on the state because he doesn’t have what it takes to make it here. Nobody is asking what should be the obvious question: why would Christie, or anyone that matter, want to be the chief executive of the entirely Federal government – a job which sucks badly, and is generally reserved for political milquetoasts and has-beens – after having held what is arguably the most powerful governorship in the country?

    1. You only stay in New Jersey because there are no gas pump-jockey jobs outside the state

      1. Without having to move all the way across the country to Oregon, anyway. And who’s going to be able to pull that off on pump-jockey wages?

  11. lol, the oNLY thing Christie cares about is when the next platter of cheeseburgers will arrive.

  12. lol, the oNLY thing Christie cares about is when the next platter of cheeseburgers will arrive.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.