Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chris Christie for president in 2016?

Christie must bounce back from his latest scandal if he hopes to gain voter popularity in the coming election

Known for being one of the most boisterous names in politics, it seems there is hardly anything New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can do quietly. Christie, just off the heels of a strong re-election campaign, ranks among the most polarizing of political characters, no matter what your political affiliation might be.

BRIDgegate — Christie apologized for closing off access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, causing massive, four-day traffic jams in New Jersey.  Google Images

BRIDGEGATE — Christie apologized for closing off access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, causing massive, four-day traffic jams in New Jersey. Google Images

The governor’s recent crisis, popularly dubbed the “Bridgegate scandal,” seems to be no exception.

But just what is it that draws national attention to Christie? It would seem that public relations finesse and a Republican affiliation does not always correlate with popularity, at least not among the mainstream media types.

However, I can sum up this entire situation in one word: weird.

MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” spent 33 minutes discussing the New Jersey scandal, using the opportunity to take shots at the chair of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. In my mind, 2016 is the motivation behind the national attack of New Jersey’s most famous bulldog.

Christie has been among the mainstream media’s favorite politicians. Many a liberal has called for more Republicans like him to rise through the ranks. Nevertheless, as the Garden State governor rested his hand on a Bible and took his second oath of office, investigators, reporters and attorneys continued to hurl allegations toward Christie.

Whether or not the governor had malicious intent is yet to be discovered. One thing we can be sure of: He is a threat to the next Democratic contender for president. Christie has a magnetism that is unmatched by virtually every other name under the GOP banner, and Hillary Clinton knows it.

Christie commented on the peculiar incident in his annual State of the State address Tuesday.

“I’m the governor, and I’m ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch — both good and bad,” Christie said. “Now, without a doubt we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen again.”

Just two days earlier, the mayor of Hoboken alleged that she received a “direct message from the governor,” saying he would withhold millions in Hurricane Sandy aid money unless his project moved forward as he wanted it to.

Christie displayed presidential prowess in his handling of Hurricane Sandy, but the image of his executive ability is fading against the harsh light of Bridgegate. This is where the rubber meets the road. How Christie moves on from this point forward will determine his political future.

Stories of “It was a traffic study” and “I was completely shocked” are not holding up as defensible arguments to the public who will be responsible for either his failure or success come election season.

I fully believe the governor can come back from this. Christie has shown a brazen charisma that is nearly absent from the political arena, and people like it. It is refreshing. There is nothing more powerful than sheer honesty. Whether you are for or against him, he has a raw appeal — he is human.

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