Wanted: a Republican saviour

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie might be the man. But is it too late for him?


If there is one consistent take regarding the Republican nomination race, it is that the field fails to generate much enthusiasm with the base and with independent voters. Rick Perry initially sparked some enthusiasm with social conservatives and the Tea Party, but his recent debate performances have curbed much of the fervour about him.

Mitt Romney continues to show more aplomb and skill as a candidate and a debater than in 2008. He did not panic when Perry jumped ahead in the polls. Now, they are nearly dead even, with Romney displaying more presidential poise. Yet, Romney does not excite the base. So far, neither Perry nor Romney has conveyed to the Republican voter that they are the candidate who can beat a now-vulnerable President Obama in November 2012. Why is this?

The GOP has three distinctive movements in its midst this election cycle. The Congressional Republican leadership, while generally intransigent with Obama on policy, recognizes that a 13 per cent approval rating of Congress is not comforting as the election year begins in earnest this January 2012. The strong and militant Tea Party contingent within the GOP House caucus, however, make any reasonable compromise with Democrats nearly impossible, and the voters want more bipartisan compromise to deal with the economy. Finally, the declared candidates for the GOP nomination each seem to be marching to a different drummer and seem out of sync with both the GOP Congressional leaders and some Tea Partiers when it comes to supporting deals with Obama.

True, the Republican Party is more to the right on nearly every issue, including the role of government, taxes, cultural values, and deficits, than any recent version of the GOP. Long-time Republican strategists will tell you that Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon would be seen as liberals by today’s Republican standards. Yet despite the ideological synergies within the party, there remains unease about who will face President Obama in 2012.

Which brings us to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has repeatedly resisted overtures by prominent and respected established Republicans. Just recently, there are rumblings he may be on the verge of reversing course and saying yes to a 2012 candidacy.

Christie, a blunt-speaking no-nonsense type of leader, is a Republican governor from a blue state (Democratic) and would represent a formidable challenge. His fiscal conservatism, coupled with populist rhetoric, contrast favourably with the slickness of Romney and the radicalism of Perry. In other words, he may be seen as the Republican saviour so many have been clamouring for.

But with well-financed opponents like Romney and Perry currently dominating the contest, Christie would be facing an uphill battle. The primaries will be in full swing in less than 4 months. And not having completed his first term as governor, he will be scrutinized heavily by the field of eight declared candidates .

I would be surprised if Christie reverses course and says yes at this stage. Perry may be facing a critical point in his candidacy and may fade, but with the trend toward front-loading key GOP primary states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida), it may be too late for a candidate like Christie. All this, in the end, will likely favour the early frontrunner—Mitt Romney—making the emergence of a Republican saviour a doubtful proposition at best.

John Parisella is currently serving as Quebec’s Delegate-General in New York City.


Wanted: a Republican saviour

  1. Herman Cain, ftw!

    Detroit News ~ Sept 2011:

    “We left yesterday to go to New York for a fundraiser,” Cain told me on Wednesday. “After I put my stuff on the belt and it came through on the other side, there was a TSA agent standing there. The guy says, ‘Hello, Mr. Cain. 9-9-9!'”

    The 9-9-9 plan, of course, is Cain’s proposal to overhaul the U.S. tax code. In place of the complicated myriad of taxes with which we struggle to comply today, Cain would institute a simple, three-pronged system:

    – A 9 percent business flat tax on gross income less all investments and purchases from other businesses. Cain would end the double taxation of dividends.
    – A 9 percent individual income flat tax, which would apply to all gross income less charitable contributions. No other deductions would be allowed.
    – A 9 percent national sales tax.

    National Review ~ Introducing Herman Cain:

    One by one, South Carolina Republicans in trucker caps and business suits raved about Cain. After watching the 65-year-old spar with fellow GOP presidential contenders, many were itching to join his ranks …. 

    It’s easy to see why: He was frank and refreshing. But more notably, on a stage full of state and congressional leaders, Cain used his outsider status to his advantage. 

    “Most of the people who are in elective office in Washington, D.C., they have held public office before,” he noted during one exchange. Then, with expert comedic timing, he quipped: “How’sthat workin’ for you?” The audience roared. Cain kept rolling.

  2.  Tea party is toxic.

  3. There is one candidate, besides Romney, who has actually shown in recent polls that he could beat Obama : Ron Paul.

    His libertarianism attracts many independents and Democrats for his desire to bring the troops home, stop the war on drugs, and guard civil liberties. If he can get the Republican nomination beating Obama might prove less of a chore.

    He, of course, threatens a lot of vested interests and the party establishment are doing all they can to thwart him.

  4. Ron Paul’s supporters are ultra enthusiastic. As Abe notes, RP tracks well with independents. The hooves of the elephant, however, tell another story. The base would rather see H. Clinton as prez than Ron Paul.

    Any American who is anti-war should be voting for RP. Any American who believes in sound money should be voting for RP. Any American who believes in the US Constitution should be voting for RP.

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