Commentary Magazine


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Leave it to Chris Christie

Leave it to Chris Christie to say what all the other Republican politicians are thinking, but don’t have the guts to say about Warren Buffett:

Piers Morgan: Warren Buffett keeps screaming to be taxed more.

Chris Christie: Yeah, well, he should just write a check and shut up. Really. And just contribute. Okay? I mean, the fact of the matter is, that I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he has the ability to write a check. Go ahead and write it.

It’s no wonder Christie is still being asked – by the public and media alike – whether he’ll reconsider and run for president. After a week of Rick Santorum’s gaffes, and Mitt Romney’s floundering, Christie’s interview with Piers Morgan only heightens the sense that the best Republican candidates are not in the race.

So what is it about Christie that makes him so likable, even when he’s taking shots at the opposition? And what exactly does he have that the presidential candidates are lacking?

Obviously there’s his confidence, the sense that he has a real comfort with his own beliefs. He’s grounded enough in his principles to actually listen to the critique from the other side, which is how he ends up cutting through the nonsense that a lot of other politicians overlook or get bogged down in. That solid foundation is missing in both Romney and Gingrich. For Romney, it means he can’t effectively articulate the principles he claims to believe in. For Gingrich, it means he switches sides without explanation when it’s politically opportune.

Gingrich and Santorum also seem to lack Christie’s faith in the rationality of the public. They condescend to voters. Gingrich often panders. Meanwhile, Santorum can come off as bitter and defensive during arguments, giving the impression that he feels his ideas are under siege by a large portion of the public who can’t be reasoned with.

Christie’s strengths are ones most lacking in the current field. And that’s why the calls for him to run won’t let up, even when it’s clearly not going to happen.