I prefer not to overreact to jobs reports, but today’s unemployment and job creation news has Obama looking weaker than ever.  This would be a good time for a Republican who has shown the ability to win over Democratic-leaning voters, take on the spending interests, and produce a sustainable budget while maintaining public services.  Chris Christie would be a pretty strong general election opponent for Obama.  Christie’s biggest obstacle would be the primaries.  He is for New Jersey’s gun control laws (though I think he has left himself some wiggle room) and for the old Clinton “assault weapons” ban.  His stated belief in anthropogenic global warming won’t help.  I think that taking a Jim Manzi-type approach to global warming would mitigate the damage but . . .

Do I think that Christie’s weaknesses would prevent him from beating Bachmann or Romney?  Nope.  Those candidates have even bigger weaknesses.  Do I think they would prevent him from beating an uncrippled Rick Perry?  Probably.  Christie’s path to victory (given the present field) would be to gather large amounts of institutional support (endorsements from other governors in the Midwest especially), knock Romney out of the box in New Hampshire (that is plausible actually) and hope that Bachmann and the media wound Perry severely (as a spending increaser who would gladly use government power to take your home etc.)  I wouldn’t count on that last one.  No shot at Perry has laid a glove on him with right-of-center voters.  Given the current field, if Christie ran, I’d give him less than a 50% chance of getting the nomination and the run would weaken his ability to govern New Jersey.  Maybe he will take the shot.  I’m ambivalent but (since I have nothing personally on the line), I hope he does.  But the incentives are mostly against Christie running.

Articles by Pete Spiliakos

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