Don’t Sleep on Chris Christie

“I think we all underestimated his political skill coming in.”

The jig is up. Chris Christie has been profiled in the New York Times. Things can only go down hill from here, and it’s only a matter of time before the DNC starts sending out e-mails that say “Gov. Christie loves Sarah Palin and punches babies.”

Here’s the cool thing though, and it’s what endears us to him the most: when those e-mails come, he’ll be the first to fight back. If he doesn’t do so forcefully, he’ll just laugh the e-mail off as nonsense, and say that he’s going back to do serious work. That was the main basis of the profile. He’s not just the latest conservative icon du joir. Behind the bravado and YouTube clips, Gov. Christie has series political skills.

Skills that should not be underestimated…

Mr. Christie has turned out to be a far more deft politician than his detractors — and even some supporters — had expected, making few compromises as he pursues a broad agenda for remaking New Jersey’s free-spending political culture. So far, polls suggest, the public is giving him the benefit of the doubt.

“The most important thing in public life, in a job like governor, is for the people you’re representing to know exactly where you stand,” Mr. Christie said in an interview on Friday. “People who disagree with me on things at least have a sense of comfort in knowing where I’m coming from.”

In a mostly blue state where Democrats control the Legislature, Mr. Christie, a Republican, won election last year mostly because of the deep unpopularity of his opponent, Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Mr. Christie, a former federal prosecutor known for aggression rather than deal-making, took office to predictions that his hard-charging style would not work in the labyrinth of Trenton, where factions of party, region and interest group would slow him down.

Instead, he confronted the powerful public employees’ unions and won, cutting future pensions and benefits, and persuaded voters to defeat hundreds of local school budgets. He got nearly everything he wanted in the state budget, making the deepest cuts in generations. And the Assembly is expected this week to give final passage to one of his cherished goals: a cap on local property taxes.

This is where many of my fellow eCon’s go “Christie 2012!” I’m much rather looking forward to him giving the response to the state of the Union next January.


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