By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
I’m devoid of special knowledge but I’ve also been stewing on this for a little while now, Save Jerseyans, as Governor Chris Christie spends more and more time post-reelect with South Jersey machine Democrats and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones than courting Republican primary voters:
Maybe he’s already leaning against a presidential bid in 2016?
Again, let me be clear: I don’t know what he’s thinking. There’s plenty of countervailing evidence. He’s certainly spent plenty of time laying the groundwork for a national bid and injecting himself into the major national debates with increasing regularity. But that’s what ambitious people do; they keep their options open and, ideally, expanding.
The Chris Christie who we’ve come to know is as meticulous as he is ambitious.
We saw it in his prosecutions as U.S. Attorney. We saw it in his ’09 campaign and then the careful work executed through the government affairs apparatus of his administration throughout term #1. Okay, he occasionally makes mistakes like any son of Adam (e.g. gratuitously embracing President Obama and his ultimately-flawed federal response in the immediate wake of Hurricane Sandy) but those outbursts are the exception to the rule and, in most cases, proved part of a carefully-crafted persona of authenticity (not as oxymoronic as it sounds, btw, yet not the subject of this instant post).
His multiple appearances at Dallas Cowboys games this season?
They feel different. Very different.
Two theories stated in the broadest possible terms for the sake of brevity:
(1) He’s running, actively courting Texas delegates while keeping himself in the public eye; or
(2) He’s just having fun and doesn’t care.
Theory #1 would make a lot more sense if Jerry Jones was a big political donor (which he isn’t) or the Governor needed more media exposure (which he definitely doesn’t – if anything, over-exposure should be a real concern for his inner circle). Theory #2 is the only other likely option but, if accurate, fails to jive with what we know about this man. He’s extremely conscious of his public image. He reads blogs (including this one, we’re honored to say) and he instinctively knows, for instance, when he takes a photo with Jerry Jones or George Norcross that it’s going to get out and what X effect it’ll visit on Y population.
Logical conclusion: he must not care all too much about the optics, right?
Only actual candidates need to worry about details like over-exposure or pissing off swing voters in Eastern PA. Going to the Cowboys game once is provocative. Attending multiple post-season out-of-state games in an expensive box and bear-hugging one of the professional sports world’s more controversial figures? Well, he’s seen the polls and knows he’s deeply unpopular with base conservatives; the Governor also knows that he’s consciously positioned himself as a bipartisan centrist/fiscal conservative here in New Jersey and, consequently, would be ill-equipped to forge a meaningful contrast running head-on against a Bush or Romney by, for instance, pivoting to the right (or left).
Yes, even guys who want to be Vice President need to “run.” Guess what: he doesn’t want to be Vice President. He’s said so. More importantly, it’s hard to imagine which hypothetical nominee would want to deal with his giant shadow in the number 2 slot.
Nope. Chris Christie is acting more like a guy who wants to enjoy his celebrity than a presidential candidate about to launch. And I’m not trying to be insulting. He’s a lifetime Cowboys fan. He has every right to enjoy himself so long as it doesn’t interfere with his job (despite the nausea his Cowboys box behavior induces in this Eagles fan). I’m simply reading the tea leaves and suspending conventional wisdom for a fresh look at what could be an under-reported angle to these Twitter-breaking playoff appearances…
To be continued…