From “The Biggest Loser” to Beyond Springsteen: 8 Suggestions for Christie’s White House Run
Posted on November 14, 2013
Christ Christie is leading in some polls in a potential match–up against Hillary Clinton, and losing in some others. He is a media darling, which of course makes the Republican right-wing very, very nervous.
Some Tea Party folks are so afraid of the freight train that is Chris Christie that they are figuratively throwing themselves in front of that train to stop his momentum.
Of course, it is far too early to start talking about 2016, but with Barack Obama being the lamest of lame ducks, it actually might not be too early for Christie to start positioning himself for a possible run.
I like to give unsolicited advice to folks like Christie, and here are some suggestions on how the New Jersey Governor should start preparing for a run for the White House.
1) Make His Struggle Our Struggle
By all measure, Mr. Christie is overweight. He is not alone. To quote a famous talk show host, "he should hang a lantern on his problem." Losing weight is a real pain in the ass. Believe me, I know. Some people lose pounds when the campaign, but some people go the other way, and I assume Chris Christie is one of those guys. He should share his weight goal with the rest of us, and challenge us to lose weight with him. He should make it a social media thing, and maybe partner with Weight Watchers and invite all of us on Facebook and Twitter to participate in his epic challenge to lose 50 (or one hundred) pounds. There is no reason to keep this all a big secret, and the more he shares with us, the more we feel part of his struggle. There is a reason The Biggest Loser is one of the most popular shows on television.
2) Promise To Fix the Congress
Christie has already started running against Washington. He should start running specifically against Congress. It makes for an easy target, of course, but Christie should demand that Congress does better for the American people. He should first demand that they fix the budget process, which is a disaster. He should demand that they put progress over politics. He should chide the President for not regularly meeting with leaders from both parties. He should call for campaign finance reform that limits the time Members of Congress can raise money, and cracks down on shadowy organizations that fully participate in the political process without divulging where they get their money. He should call for the Congress to be more civil to one another, and he should lament the gridlock and the game-playing. And he should demand that the Congress never, ever close the government down. In other words, he should demand that the Congress do its job.
3) Expand His iPod Selections
We all know Chris Christie is a Bruce Springsteen fan, but he needs to expand his musical selections. Start listing to Brad Paisely, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith or Taylor Swift. Country music is the number one musical genre not only in the South, but all over the country, and it is only getting more popular. I know Christie love Springsteen, but it would be nice if he could love a performer who will love him back.
4) Roll Tide
So, I am not the biggest Alabama fan in the world (in fact, I hate them) but they are a pretty good football program and they are the pride and joy of the South. Christie should take his good friend Joe Scarborough, and they should attend a Bama football game together. He doesn’t have to give a big speech. He should mingle in the parking lot, say hello to Herbie and Lee Corso on Game Day, and then enjoy another Tide blowout. Those simple cultural touch stones can go a long way.
5) Become Champion of the Blue-Collar Worker
Christie might be a lawyer but he still looks and sounds like your typical lunch-bucket guy. He needs to make his cause fighting for the blue-collar worker, not only in the Northeast, but throughout the country. Mitt Romney and President Obama tussled over the Middle Class, but neither had much credibility with the lunch bucket crowd. Christie is a natural.
6) Translate His Fight Against the Teacher’s Unions into a Fight for the Kids
Most Americans don’t believe that their children will do better than they did, reversing a long-held American belief about the future. Chris Christie is famous for battling New Jersey’s Teachers Unions, but that fight has to be put into a bigger context. Education reform has been fashionable for at least the last eight 13 years, starting with George W. Bush’s plan to have no child left behind. Christie has to take this struggle one step further. His education plan should be more flexible than Bush’s or Obama’s plans. He should appreciate better the contributions of Catholic schools, and give a nod to parents to who choose to home-school their kids. And more importantly, he should link education to values and make a bigger point about how a society like ours cannot continue to function without an educated and ethical workforce.
7) Fight for the Family
Stronger families must be cornerstone of the Christie agenda, mostly because married families vote overwhelmingly Republican and they are the ones who vote in Republican primaries. Better than most, he understands the struggles of balancing work and family life, he understands the stresses of getting off early so you can see your son’s Little League baseball game, he understands how, in a two-working parent home, how the daily struggle about who gets home first is a big stress-causer. Families want more money certainly, but what they really want is more time and more flexibility to make it all work.
8) Millennial Challenge
Young voters propelled Barack Obama into the White House, and for all of their efforts, they got screwed. I still think those voters are gettable for a Republican like Christie, but he has to demonstrate a few things. First, he has teach the GOP how to love and appreciate Gay people. Millennials don’t hate gay people, and Republicans should learn from them. Second, he has to have progressive view on protecting environment. Stewardship of the Earth is very important to younger voters, and while Christie doesn’t have to buy completely into Al Gore’s gloom and doom, he should appreciate the value of protecting our national parks and making our air and water as clean as possible. Third, he has fight to find younger voters jobs. The Obama economy has been terrible on the job front, especially for this group. Christie has to promise to change that. Fourth, he has to hammer on the issue of college loan debt and the high costs of a college education. How can younger voters have a brighter future if they are never able to climb out of debt. And finally, he has to rebalance America’s priorities so we don’t either bankrupt the nation or devalue the dollar so much that inflation ends up wiping out the hopes and futures on an entire generation of voters.
Chris Christie is a compelling political figure. Before he announces his run for President, he should consider some of these suggestions.