Chris Christie ran in a primary for the privilege of becoming the Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey. He won and he did so by taking many conservative positions including , less and more limited government and fiscal responsibility.
Those were two hallmarks of yesterday’s Tea Party march, rally and protest in Washington, D.C. yet where was Chris Christie? As thousands of New Jersey residents got on busses, trains and in their cars to take a stand and be counted as foot soldiers in taking back government and making once again for the people, of the people and by the people, Chris Christie failed to join the people.
I have two perspectives by which to criticize the former U.S. Attorney and now wannabe Governor.
First is from the political and strategic standpoint of a political consultant. A Republican political consultant.
As a man who as recently as Wednesday issues a press release claiming that as Governor, Chris Christie will focus on maintaining an effective , efficient and appropriate government by cutting state taxes and spending, Christie should have stood in line with those who used their Saturday to employ farm worker hours as they braved the dark and rainy pre-dawn hours to board busses and hit the road to deliver our desire for just what Christie claims he wants to do in New Jersey. From a strategic perspective, the people who were willing to go to such lengths as spend their own money and endure 8 hours of travel and another 6 hours of marching and protesting were a natural constituency for Chris Christie. They were a group who deserved to be cheered on for their efforts by Chris Christie and that he needed to, if not join in with, at least claim solidarity with.
Instead Chris Christie was silent and MIA.
Had I been Chris Christie or managing the Christie campaign I would have either requested that he ride on a bus with the New Jersey freedom fighters who went to D.C. and spent the day with all of his fellow New Jerseyans or maybe even have gotten a bus and load of people to join the rest of the New Jersey contingency and caravan of busses.
If I did not do that, I would have at least insured that the campaign knew each time and location of the pick up and drop off point locations of all the various Tea Party groups in the state and had Christie at least at one of those locations with tea, coffee and doughnuts, greeting and thanking them as they embarked upon their mission. I would have cheered them on and let them know that he stands for the same values that they were fighting for, values and beliefs that he will instill in Trenton.
Members of the Christie camp might claim that the Tea Party march was not a partisan political event and that he was not invited by any of the groups involved and so they did not want to step on or into their parade.
Such a claim would be nothing more than excuse.
If Christie believed in any of the things that these members of his natural constituency believed in, nothing should have kept him from joining them. Even if organizers rejected him, if he believed in the small government, anti-bureaucracy, liberty based principles that were the foundation of the cause, he should have fought for his right as a citizen to stand with them and fight with them for his shared opinions with them.
From the perspective of a Tea Party protestor I criticize the gubernatorial hopeful for not demonstrating that he shares the beliefs and values that we do. I criticize him for not believing so strongly in the message that Tea Party protestors were delivering that he to at least felt compelled to thank them for their efforts.
I offer both criticisms because I am both a Republican political consultant and a Tea Party protestor. I am also a registered New Jersey voter and I am not happy with my choices for Governor and on Saturday, September 12, 2009 Chris Christie failed to make me any happier or more inclined to vote for him than I was on September 11th, 2009.
Chris Christie dropped the ball and in doing so, he creates more reasons for those who should be among any Republican candidates strongest supporters to question if they should be among any of those who vote for him in November.