Chris Christie; GOP's 'Mr. Right Now'


There can be little doubt that Herman Cain’s trouncing of the media driven “front runners” in the Florida Presidency 5 straw poll last week set the political class back on it’s ears.

Some were quick to say it was a protest vote – it wasn’t, however, whether you see it that way or not, it was certainly a repudiation of Mitt Romney in the minds of Florida Republican voters.

Interestingly, going into P5, the Republican Party of Florida frequently touted the fact that the last three straw poll winners went on to win the Republican nominee for president. Yet, from the very moment last week’s results became known, we’ve seen an equal effort by some of these same individuals to minimize it’s significance.

Back to Romney, who lost his front runner status immediately upon Rick Perry entering the fray – which in itself was a clear indication that conservative voters were looking for an alternative – he was expected to pick up a lions share of supporters who abandoned Perry like rats jumping from a sinking ship after Perry’s disastrous performance in the presidential debate held the Thursday before the straw poll.

Yet, it was Herman Cain who became the beneficiary instead. Another sign that the grassroots are just not enamored with Romney.

As for Rick Perry, the media continues to stress his “poor debating skills”, but I submit that it was his defense of in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants. He lost most conservatives when he said of those who disagree, “I don’t think you have a heart…”

Of all the places to say something like that, Florida, here and now, is the last place to do so. And Perry can thank the very same ‘establishment’ that was quickly aligning with him here in Florida for that. Talk about rich irony.

The illegal immigration issue has come to be a real sore spot for the grassroots here because the Republican controlled Florida Legislature, in an covert attempt to avoid being pressured to pass comprehensive immigration reform similar to Arizona in this year’s session, tried the ol’ bait and switch by convincing folks that E-Verify was a good measure to combat the issue.

Then, adding insult to injury, failed to deliver on the slight of hand, even after FL Senate President Mike Haridopolos went so far as to guarantee it’s passing.

But I digress… with Herman Cain’s surprising rout of the field, and Rick Perry back on his heels, the establishment seems to have finally come to accept that Mitt Romney is just not going to deliver the goods. Why do I suggest that?

Enter N.J. Gov. Chris Christie. After repeatedly insisting that he would not run, Christie had more or less faded from thought for all except Ann Coulter. Yet, immediately after Cain’s emergence as a serious contender, Christie’s name began being tossed around again in the media. The same media that highlighted Romney and Perry all along over all other GOP candidates.

And whether it was the media acting on insider’s information or the ‘establishment’ responding to the it’s que from the media, suddenly Christie is having second thoughts and we’re now being told a decision is forthcoming this week. Coincidence?

Or the result of some heavy leaning by big money donors from the political class?

More importantly, is Chris Christie a candidate that the grassroots can get behind? Sure, everyone loves his bravado in taking on the tough issues and the straight forward manner in which he deals with his detractors, however, it’s likely his stance on immigration and climate control will be problematic.

As for the Republican Party, there is a battle for it’s soul taking place before our very eyes. The grassroots is slowly gaining ground in it’s quest to reshape the party, all the while, the ‘old guard’ power brokers are not giving up without one helluva fight.

The sudden re-emergence of Chris Christie is just the latest salvo in this ongoing struggle.


Cross-posted at Florida Political Press