Chris Christie President 2016: Why He Can't Win, And Why Marco Rubio Or Jeb Bush Actually Can [ANALYSIS & VIDEO]


By Anthony Smith on November 9, 2012 3:50 PM EST 0

Chris Christie
Chris Christie 2016 President: Here's why you should return that bumper sticker. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Chris Christie's chances as our next President in 2016 will be the subject of much political speculation for the years leading up to our next Republican Primary. Unfortunately for Chris Christie's supporters, in spite of the fact that there are a good many reasons to truly love New Jersey's most beloved governor in years, he doesn't stand a cat-in-hell's chance of winning the Republican Party's nomination for President in 2016, barring a complete and drastic makeover of the Republican party. Here are all the reasons why Chris Christie won't be the GOP's choice for President in 2016.

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An Existential Crisis, Or Not

Mitt Romney lost the 2012 Presidential Election, and not because of Chris Christie's last-second "betrayal." If you haven't come to terms with that yet, then hopefully you will by the time Florida's results are in. But if you've already joined us, whether you want to or not, in the IRL world of three days ago and the next four years, then you'll know that Republican leadership lost by a narrow popular margin and a significant electoral spread.

Why the loss? Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer has his theories, most of them having to do with phrasing neanderthal stances on women's rights in a more delicate way, but Sarah Palin already debunked that four years ago when she proposed, powerfully and off-the-cuff (to her rare credit) that the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull was lipstick.

Delicacy isn't fooling anyone, and it certainly isn't fooling our nation's women. And it did not fool them this time around.

When Mitt Romney either did not agree that women should be paid equally (probably an unfair assessment of Romney's stance, given his history as a Governor), or refused to express that he agreed that women should be given fair pay out of a deep-seated fear of agreeing with Obama (much more likely, and perhaps even more miserable), he communicated unintentionally exactly the problem with the Republican party: first, that they are on the wrong side of history; and secondly, in this particular iteration of the party, that they cannot even reach across the aisle and say that they agree with Democratic leadership even when distancing themselves makes them look stupid and betrays their history of better judgment.

How, then, will this party look forward? How, then, will they define themselves in these next four years? And who will do the defining?

Before we can talk about Chris Christie, we need to talk about John Boehner. His tenure as Speaker of the House has seen the deepening of the Republican Party as both "The Party of No" and "The Party of No Ideas." The likelihood of his compromising with Obama and Pelosi on any issue is truly slim, as doing so would bespeak a weakness to his constituency. Given that a certain fringe group within the Republican party that fancies itself watchdog (only half of that word is true) polices and holds "accountable" those few and fleeting moments of Republican leadership that bespeak a belief in bipartisanism, we can expect John Boehner to kowtow and give us harder resistance to extra-partisan ideas than we have ever seen from him and his party.

I do not mean to suggest that Chris Christie is unsafe within his own state. People on both sides of the aisle love him. I would be surprised if he is unseated for this.

Rather, I mean to suggest that Romney revealed himself to be more moderate in the Presidential Debate than he appeared in the Republican Primary. The Republican Parties discourse on the matter in three years will be that they were undone by proposing moderate policies, and that voter turnout was low because, as much as the very conservative despised President Obama and his policies, they didn't trust Romney.

And so, after McCain's embarrassing loss in 2008 and Romney's less embarrassing loss in 2012, we will see the "season of the RINO" end in the Republican Party. They will blame their losses on the right-most limits of Romney's and McCain's policies, not their awful campaign decisions.

When it comes to the Presidential pick, we will see the pendulum swing farther to the right than it ever has. This is just one of the reasons that Chris Christie will not be President in 2016, but it is a major one.

But if you're a fan of Chris Christie, then take note: the rightening of the Republican Party should not suggest that he won't be on the Presidential ticket in 2016.

Three Years of the Donkey

We've lost our focal points in the Republican Party. It seems like we've been watching Romney, Santorum, Ryan, Palin, and Bachmann for years now. With one fell swoop, none of them are media-relevant anymore. All eyes are on the soporific Boehner, whose most interesting (telegenic/mediagenic) resume highlight is his crying when he got the gavel.

And since we don't know where to look, the eye is drawn to the Democratic Party, which has its superstars burning brighter than they ever have. Obama just won an election in spite of the state of his economy. Joe Biden put aside his gaffes to school Paul Ryan in a debate. Hillary Clinton is about to retire, and many are going to miss her and talk about her chances at 2016 for years to come. Heck, even Elizabeth Warren has a shoe in the race, provided her next few years go well.

There are two ways this can go for Chris Christie, and both of them acknowledge...

The Inevitability of Jeb Bush

All Jeb Bush has to do is not screw up, and he'll be his party's nominee. And when Christie tries to steal the spotlight the way he does--

All Jeb Bush has to do is remind people that Chris Christie is responsible for the spotlight shifting away from Mitt Romney-- even if that's totally not true-- and that the Republicans lost the 2012 Election because of Chris Christie's aisle-ignoring actions during the hurricane.

What makes Chris Christie a strong leader makes him a weak Republican. And the corpse-kicking is already starting.

The Republican Primary attack ads here are so easy, and since every potential candidate will view Chris Christie as a threat, they'll all be running them. If Governor Chris Christie does have ambitions to be the President in 2016, then he's also built his own coffin.

Unless Jeb is implicated in some scandal, he'll be the Republican Party candidate in 2016, in much the same way that anyone could have called Mitt Romney in 2008.

If It's Jeb Bush Presidency, Then It's a Marco Rubio Vice-Presidency

Some believe that Texas will become a swing state in 2016 due to a surge in Hispanic/Latino voting population. With that traditionally Democratic-voting demographic coming into significance in the Texas electorate, Marco Rubio becomes the safest choice to dispel any doubts about Texas's redness.

Additionally, Marco Rubio is Roman Catholic (thought it's worth noting that he was Mormon at one point), and that Catholicism could resonate in Catholic-significant swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Where Ryan failed to rally Catholics into a presence at the booth AND a vote for Romney, Marco Rubio could succeed. He's infinitely more fresh-faced, captivating, and exciting than Ryan, and his political resume is far less reprehensible.

Plus, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio go hand-in-hand. They're Florida conservatives and good friends. Bush strongly supported Rubio's place on the VP ticket over Ryan. Unless Bush and Rubio run against each other in the primary and develop a very bitter rivalry, the two go hand-in-hand.

However, if Bush and Rubio do enter the primary, a bitter rivalry between the two is nigh-inevitable, and if Chris Christie enters, too, we could see Christie as a strong second place each time as Bush and Rubio split the non-RINO vote.

But Bush Is a Dirty Word In Both Parties

It sure is, and if Rubio, Christie, et al. end up running attack ads based on that (or their Super PACs do), then it's quite possible they'll give Jeb Bush the invisible chair treatment-- exposing a nostalgia for a time period that was actually pretty terrible.

Still, because of the inevitability of the strength of the anti Chris Christie 2016 ads, Christie probably won't emerge victorious. In this instance, Marco Rubio will be the party's nomination.

If Marco Rubio has the party's nomination, Chris Christie's chances on the 2016 Presidential ticket are much easier. Rubio has the chance to look at Jeb Bush and say "even if this choice for VP mends the party, it will be at the very least redundant, at the very most detrimental to my chances."

But if the pick is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, then Marco Rubio has a chance to define the Republican Party-- and most importantly, its leadership-- as not only a party of very conservative, fundamentally Judeochristian ideas, but also one of consummate maverick leadership not above or below reaching across the aisle and working with the other half of America.

But till the anti-Jeb Bush attack ads, don't hold your breath.

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