New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave his first-date speech at the California Republican Party’s spring convention in Sacramento on Saturday. Like a big man on campus, Christie essentially was telling the party faithful: I know you’ve heard some bad stuff about me, but here’s why you should go out with me.
Three years ago, Christie was on top. Big donors were begging him to get into the presidential race and save the GOP from Mitt Romney. Then his fortunes changed. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy battered Jersey shores, and a grateful governor bear-hugged President Barack Obama, who offered federal aid. The GOP base shrieked. In 2013, Christie’s staff shut down the George Washington Bridge in an exercise of political payback; probes never linked Christie to the stunt, but his can-do persona suffered. In October, Christie barked that a heckler should “sit down and shut up.” Will voters see his style as good pugilism or bad manners?