Chris Christie, I love you, don't run.
I haven't been saying this because there was
no reason to think that the governor of New Jersey might be a
candidate for president. Chris Christie has made it perfectly
clear that he isn't running, isn't going to run, and isn't
kidding. Nothing I've seen of him would indicate that he'd
either lie or be coy.
But there was some part of "I'm not running"
that many people didn't understand, so this week he had to
officially announce his non-candidacy. Chris Christie, I love
you, thanks for not running.
It's not as if I wouldn't vote for him if I
could. I've envied my first husband, who emailed me from New
Jersey sometime in 2009: "Wait'll you see our next governor!"
My ex has envied me our Proposition 2½ for
decades. People in very few other states envy Massachusetts
taxpayers, but while our per-capita tax burden is consistently
fourth or fifth in the nation, New Jersey's is always between
first and third, depending on what's happening in Connecticut
and New York.
And while we at least have an initiative
petition process that can cut or limit a tax, New Jersey
taxpayer groups haven't been able to get the
initiative/referendum provision into their constitution despite
years of effort.
So when Gov. Christie set out, after his
election, to limit property taxes, he had to file his own bill
and fight to get it passed by the New Jersey Legislature.
Republican legislators who were working with
the governor contacted Citizens for Limited Taxation as they
worked on the bill, asking about overrides, possible exclusions,
and data showing how Prop. 2½ has worked here. They knew they
had to compromise up front with their version, since they
couldn't bypass the legislature as we did. But all things
considered, the property tax limit they passed is a good start
and we are happy for our Garden State taxpayer brothers and
sisters (and ex-husband).
When Christie came to Massachusetts to
campaign for Charlie Baker last year, I asked him to tell the
story of how he got New Jersey a version of our Prop. 2½; I knew
the crowd would love his tale of combining toughness and
cajoling as he kept calling legislators back into session during
a holiday period until they finally voted.
questions N.J. Gov. Christie
(Oct. 24, 2010)
Click photo to enlarge
As I shook his hand, I reminded myself,
unsuccessfully, of what columnist Peggy Noonan once wrote:
"Don't fall in love with politicians, they're all a
disappointment. They can't help it, they just are."
Then, of course, she fell in love with Barack
Obama in 2008, and like so many other delusional voters, she
lived to regret it.
Meanwhile, I have returned to my political
youth, loving Chris Christie as I loved Barry Goldwater (who
never disappointed me) and Ronald Reagan. But I know I'd have
been disappointed if Christie breaks his word about not running
Christie has a major role to play in
Revolution 2012. Already he has inspired other governors to
stand up to the public employee unions and try to get some
control over health insurance and pension liabilities. He has
also shown how a Republican governor can work with both
Republicans and Democrats to pass vital legislation, while
winning the respect of many of his opponents including some
He is unafraid, in a way that people who
don't lie or pretend are unafraid; he won't get caught saying
anything he doesn't mean, so can handle any question or attack,
can change a position if he wants to, and can relax into his
I think that most everyone is hungry for
honesty; no matter how bluntly delivered, it's better than the
gamesmanship of which all of us have had enough.
Christie's reasons for not running make
perfect sense. New Jersey still has major problems that need his
full attention for at least a full term.
He has four children ranging in age from 8 to
18 who need his presence.
Of course, those are both reasons to run, as
well. New Jersey won't survive a national economic crisis.
Anyone with children or grandchildren has a
direct stake in saving the country, saving the world.
If there really was no other viable
Republican candidate, I'd have to join those who are urging
Christie to run.
Of course if I did, I wouldn't attack him the
very next day if he didn't agree with me on all the issues — as
many conservatives would, guaranteed.
I'd enjoy his facing off with them as he has
with the teachers' unions.
But I'm comfortable with Mitt Romney as the
It's funny how someone who is tough and blunt
is considered authentic, while someone who is genuinely nice is
considered not real.
I myself relate more to Christie's occasional
rudeness than Mitt's pleasant personality, but I don't need a
kindred spirit, just a replacement for President Obama.
Chris Christie is only 49 years old. Our
country will always need leaders like him, so we'll continue to
see him on the public stage, and can vote for him for president
down the road.
I look forward to it.