Chris Christie is a great political force. The sometimes cantankerous but always candid governor of New Jersey is conservative, but stands foremost for frankness. The man says what he thinks, no matter whether people like or dislike it. That is how he began his keynote speech at the Republican National Convention last year. He spoke of his mother's valuing of truth and bluntness, influencing him in his life and governance. This brings him to being a strong advocate against giving too much to unions, lowering taxes, and cutting spending.
His bluntness decreases the chance that he defers to his party's positions, as seen yesterday when he publicly blasted GOP leadership of the House of Representatives for delaying votes on a Hurricane Sandy relief package until the start of the next Congress. When Hurricane Sandy called for leadership, he and President Obama worked effectively together. It was a picture I hope to see more of in the next few years, a picture of a Republican and a Democrat standing together to address important issues. When asked about his working relationship with the president, the governor said it was terrific and that he was pleased with everything Obama was doing to be of assistance.
I would love to see Christie as a Presidential nominee, weeding through the flowery rhetoric of candidates past to answer journalists' questions and spell out his actual beliefs. He has done this when interacting with teachers at town hall meetings. He has done this in his governor's press conferences. Christie seems interested in directly addressing the substantive issues of the day with the utmost energy.
The Elephant In The Room
It is clear that the media will have a field day on the topic of his weight and health. When Barbara Walters asked him whether it might disqualify him from being an effective president, he strongly assured that it couldn't, considering the amount of intense hours he has worked in the past, most recently in the Sandy response. The issue is legitimate, for obesity increases the chances of a heart attack, diabetes, cancer, and other health issues. If he were to run for president, he would have a running mate, hopefully one as admirable as him to replace him if need be. Outside of mortality issues, if he wanted to boost his cognitive function, it might be wise for him to lose weight. That said, he assures us he has tried. It is surely difficult to reverse a long-time pattern of eating. The issue should be put up to the American people to decide. My guess, though, is that his straight talk would take the day when it comes to how he is perceived.