Justified or Not, Anti-Christie Angst is Real

In the four years that this website has been operational AND covering Chris Christie, Save Jerseyans, I can’t remember seeing more Republicans rake him over the coals.

Anti-Christie angst is moving from the “anecdotal” to the “too many to be anecdotal” realm. I’ve spoken to or interacted through Save Jersey with folks who were confirmed Christiephiles in 2009. Rank-and-file types. Attended phone banks. Patronized events. Begged coworkers to “give him a chance” in this reliably blue state. In a few cases, they worked for GOP affiliated groups that lent him support. And they’re not mad today. They’re positively furious.

They really, truly think Chris Christie played a material role (ranging from “not helpful” to “intentional,” depending upon who you ask) in “sinking” Mitt Romney by hosting President Obama for a Halloween Hurricane Sandy damage inspection tour. That tour is now haunting those who harbored presidential aspirations for New Jersey’s top Republican.

Most of the disillusioned cite this nugget from Tuesday’s exit polling

About four voters in 10 say Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy was important to their vote (42 percent), and they backed the president by a better than two-to-one margin.  Fifteen percent said it was the “most important” factor in their vote.”

Let’s add a little perspective to this discussion.

It’s important to remember that exit pollsters don’t follow people into the actual voting booths. We have no way of knowing, for example, whether those 4 in 10 were already Obama backers before Hurricane Sandy. And while it’s now clear that voters broke Obama’s way post-Sandy in the apparently super-accurate RCP average, it’s also true that Mitt’s own RCP average rating stopped climbing back on October 9th not long after the first debate. He was at 48% then. He finished at 48.1% on Tuesday. The final RCP average? 48.1%. I’ll never doubt them again!

Whether or not you think Christie “gushed” to much, other factors played an objectively larger role in Governor Romney’s defeat. For example: did the GOP go from winning 44% of Hispanic voters in 2004 to 31% in 2008 and just 29% in 2012 because of a Christie-Obama photo op?

I doubt it. 

But key elements of the base and the professional donor class aren’t appeased by exit poll stats, nor are they persuaded to look the other way by Christie’s early Romney endorsement, frequent campaign appearances and unmatched fundraising schedule over the preceding months. Perception is important and perceived disloyalty is punished. The WashPo account of a private Wednesday breakfast hosted by Romney for key supporters drives the point home:

Everybody feels like they were a bunch of well-meaning folks who were, to use a phrase that Governor Romney coined to describe his opponent, way in over their heads,” said one member of the campaign’s national finance committee, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. […]

“A lot of people feel like Christie hurt, that we definitely lost four or five points between the storm and Chris Christie giving Obama a chance to be bigger than life,” said one of Romney’s biggest fundraisers, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

Will it all blow over? Quite possibly. The Governor is a uniquely talented politician. Four years is a long, long time in the political universe, and he went into Hurricane Sandy with a solid approval rating here at home. Don’t assume anything this far out, including a Christie candidacy.

I’m simply acknowledging how he’s got work to do after this week. Justified or not (and I personally think many of the anti-Christie claims are overheated), the Governor now has a legitimate GOP base problem. That may not matter in 2013 if there are enough “Christiecrats” out there in the Garden State next fall, but it will carry consequences if he’s still interested in going national.

 

21 thoughts on “Justified or Not, Anti-Christie Angst is Real

  1. I'm taking it seriously, but it is infuriating me! Republicans are looking for a scapegoat and are using Christie because it is easy. Pathetic.

  2. These folks have to wake up and understand that NJ is a blue state! The R's have done such a mediocre job campaigning – just look at Cumberland County were a candidate that does not even have his business IN the county and who has PAID to bring Atlantic City voter fraud into the county easily slides in and replaces a solid candidate.

    Christie is a fluke for NJ, but his actions during Sandy made me respect him more – putting aside partisan BS for the good of the state.

    However, that said, I am happy to be out of that cesspool – AZ is one of those purple states where we have black republicans, gay republicans – and that is in my county alone!

    And that is what the GOP needs to be concentrating on – it is known as a party of old white men – and the demographics of this country are changing. The GOP lost a good art of their solid Hispanic vote with pandering to extremists in the party.

    It is time to refocus on what matters – national security and fiscal responsibility – otherwise we are seeing a trend that in my opinion will continue.

  3. He couldn't go to a night rally across the bridge from Trenton so there would be visuals of him and Romney together to balance the bear hugs with Obama?

    Give me a break.

  4. Christie is too far left on immigration and the environment to win a national gop primary. Was never going to happen storm controversy or no storm controversy.

  5. Exactly!!!!! Chris Christie DID campaign for him more than anyone, and did the most to HELP his campaign. Mitt Romney would never have done as good AS he did WITHOUT Chris Christie to help him.

    What happened during Hurricane Sandy was NOT ABOUT POLITICS. Some people need to learn to understand that. It was about Americans both Democrats and Republicans coming together to help the American people.

    Christie didn't endorse Obama. He endorsed Romney. He voted for Romney. He supported Romney even before it was cool. If he thought that highly of what President Obama did, but still voted for Romney, an honest man like Chris Christie, it should say something about how highly he thought of Mitt Romney. He gives credit where credit is due and knows when and where to put people ahead of politics. And because of that, his efforts and heroic leadership helped NJ citizens regain power and other federal aid in a time of a huge disaster.

    Chris Christie is America's Governor, and the Greatest Governor in U.S. History.

  6. Christie mistakes support for the cause as a blind allegiance to him. Have no doubt, his fund-raising success relies on people like me. Christie's behavior during the Obama visit was way over the top and his dismissive comments about the presidential campaign in the waning days before the election hurt Romney and hint at an alterior motive. Sure NJ was wrecked, but so is the country. And a huge election was pending. It was all hands on deck. You took a walk on us. We will return the favor.

  7. Romney missed a clear opportunity to show true leadership. He should have spoken out early with praise, and applauded Christie for his bipartisan leadership at a time when the state desperately needed it. He should have also condemned those in his party who criticized Christies actions. I think the public would have respected him fort it. Unfortunately, he did not have the courage or conviction to do so. It also undermined Romney's assertion that it would be he, not Obama who would practice bipartisanship as President.

    Christie did everything right. While I'm not a supporter of his (yet)….I have gained a new found respect for the man.

    For those in the GOP who want to blame Christie for helping Obama win really have only themselves to blame.

  8. America's Governor Chris Christie said he has a job to do. Mitt Romney said he fully understood, that Christie had a job to do and had to focus primarily on that with no distractions, and didn't ask him to do anything more.

    Chris Christie the Greatest Governor in U.S. History did more for Mitt Romney's campaign than any other Governor, Senator, or Congressman did for him throughout the entire campaign. So don't try to tell me that he had to use his Governor job to play politics with a disaster. He put his people first, and that's what matters more than anything.

    Now, not that I agree with you – understand that logic doesn't play a huge part in politics a lot – remember that people don't always vote based on who the better candidate is – they vote based on merit and the only merit they see is what is shown in the media. Regardless of how much people want to attack Chris Christie, the truth is that his record and reputation speaks for itself. He has done a lot, and he is honest, you know who he is and what he believes, he doesn't change his views just because it's not popular that week. He gives credit where credit is due, and puts people ahead of politics. And that's above and beyond the call of duty compared to what other politicians have done.

    America's Governor Chris Christie is the Greatest Governor in U.S. History!

  9. Now, not that I agree with you – understand that logic doesn’t play a huge part in politics a lot – remember that people don’t always vote based on who the better candidate is – they vote based on merit and the only merit they see is what is shown in the media. Regardless of how much people want to attack Chris Christie, the truth is that his record and reputation speaks for itself. He has done a lot, and he is honest, you know who he is and what he believes, he doesn’t change his views just because it’s not popular that week. He gives credit where credit is due, and puts people ahead of politics. And that’s above and beyond the call of duty compared to what other politicians have done.

    America's Governor Chris Christie is the Greatest Governor in U.S. History!

  10. Chris Christie has done a great job as Governor, and has been the Romney/Ryan campaign's #1 Most Loyal Supporter. He supported Romney even before it was cool. And he did more for their campaign than any other politician or celebrity out there.

    If he'd have played politics with this disaster, it would've been used against him and the entire Republican Party. All he did was do his job as Governor to help NJ the best he could, as quick as he could.

    He didn't endorse Obama, he didn't vote for him. He still made it clear he was endorsing and voting for Mitt Romney. Give him credit for what it's clear he did do for NJ, not on what some think he did for or against which candidate – because that doesn't matter at this point. What happened happened, America made their choice and I'm pretty sure they already had it in their minds beforehand who they were voting for. As unfortunate as the results were.

    Again, Chris Christie isn't to blame. If what he said held as much weight as you all say it does, then obviously his 13 month endless efforts to campaign for Mitt Romney should've spoken louder in the minds of voters than simply meeting with and thanking the President for helping during a disaster.

    Seriously, people. Quit whining about an unproven & false theory. The media tends to twist things around a LOT – don't get sucked in to all that hype.

    America's Governor Chris Christie is the Greatest Governor in U.S. History.

  11. Christie's alliance in the wake of hurricane Sandy was with his residents – not fund raisers like you!

    How arrogant!

    Like I said in an earlier post – Romney missed an opportunity to show real leadership.

  12. Thank you for helping me make that point.

    As for Mitt Romney, there was not much he could really do here as a candidate. It would all mostly just be campaigning, but there wasn't really much time for that considering all of the residents were without power, and by the time Mitt Romney would've taken office, most of the residents would've already been helped anyway.

    Cost/Benefit Analysis.

  13. You guys are either being told to post these comments by your higher-ups or you have your head in the sand. There is very clearly bad blood that arose between Christie and Romney following our Governor's debacle in Charlotte. For evidence look at both his behavior..and his words: "I haven't spoken to Romney since the election but I plan to email him." (!!!) or this classic, "I plan to vote for Mitt Romney!"

    My point, which you missed, about funding is that Christie can claim no credit for the money I gave to Romney, even though he acts as if he dictates every political move in the state.

  14. I think our governor's future is more along the lines of John Sununnu than national candidate. He has some issues where is is glaringly out of line with the base. 2 that are the most striking to me are 2A and environmental. I don't know if he would make it through a primary process.

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