Chris Christie Is No Presidential Heavyweight

If the last two presidential elections tell us anything, it's that Republicans don't succeed with candidates who lack clear vision and conviction consistent with the party's conservative platform.

Given this, I understand why Democrats think that New Jersey governor Chris Christie should be a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. But why would any Republican see a typical political operative like Christie as presidential material?

With the information we have in front of us today, there is every reason to believe that 2016 will be a year of opportunity for Republicans to run a serious and exciting reform-minded candidate – a candidate who is ready and able to provide the kind of leadership it will take to breathe life back into our faltering nation.

The Obama presidency is exuding incompetence and unraveling on all fronts.

Each day we are greeted with new news about the crashing of the ill-conceived and misguided Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare.

Looking at current economic realities at home and national security realities abroad, little good news appears evident and there isn't much reason to expect any big positive surprises.

The American public is waking up to the fact that they elected, now twice, a president who is long on rhetoric and way short on delivery, and they are getting tired of it.

As things continue in this vain, by 2016 the American people will be ready for some real hope and change. The door will be open for a Republican candidate who is ready to take on the real challenges facing us. Across the board reform of entitlements, real tax reform, real cuts in superfluous government spending, and reassertion of a strong and clear America in the international arena.

How can a governor like Christie, who has been at the helm of one of the worst performing state economies in the nation – unemployment and poverty rates well above the national average, among the nation's worst in job creation, with one of the highest tax burdens in the country – be the exciting candidate Republicans will be looking for?

Why, when the American people will be thirsty for a real reform-minded leader, would Republicans turn to yet another visionless business-as-usual politico?

And what evidence is there that Christie is anything but this?

We do have plenty of evidence that Christie behaves like we would expect any business-as-usual politician to behave.

He has demonstrated that his own political calculations are more important to him than his party or his nation.

Why else would he not have made a Republican appointment to the Senate when New Jersey Democrat Senator Frank Lautenberg passed away? Instead, he decided to allow a special election to entice popular black Newark, NJ mayor Corey Booker to run for the open Senate seat, taking him out of the game to challenge Christie in his re-election campaign.

At a time when every Republican vote in the Senate is crucial, Chris Christie opted to forego the opportunity of adding another Republican vote there because of his lack of courage to take on a strong Democrat opponent in his own re-election bid.

So running against a weak and underfunded Democrat opponent, incumbent Christie was re-elected.

The nation abounds in courageous, innovative Republican governors.

Unlike Christie, who agreed to take the bribe of federal government money available under ObamaCare and to expand Medicaid in New Jersey, twenty-one states are refusing to take this bribe. And this includes states with reform-minded Republican governors like Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, Rick Perry in Texas, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and Nikki Haley in South Carolina.

And then, of course, we have Christie's flip-flop on same sex marriage, announcing that he would not challenge a New Jersey court decision to allow same sex marriage – after Christie led everyone to believe he would oppose this.

So, again I ask. Why would any Republican think about Christie as a presidential contender?

Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at

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