We continue to wait until 1:00 p.m. ET today when “celebrated non-candidate” Chris Christie makes his announcement and either changes the world of presidential politics or makes his supporters big fat losers.
“While the political world obsesses over Chris Christie, Rick Perry and the rest of the Republican presidential field, something is up with Bill Clinton. On Nov. 8, the former president will publish a new book entitled “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy.” Judging by pre-release publicity, the book resembles nothing so much as a campaign tract for a third Clinton term. Of course Clinton is barred by the Constitution from being elected president again, but “Back to Work” still seems the product of an author who’s gearing up for something. [snip]
Or maybe a man whose wife is running against Barack Obama.”
Bill, you’re a smart rascal.
Do you wonder why at this late date so many Republicans pine for Chris Christie? This past week the New York Times posted the latest delusions for how Barack Obama can win reelection.
The plan is to win states like Virginia and North Carolina because they are almost sure to lose Ohio. But as HotAir observed Obama’s “new route to rel-election” is a loser. William Galston gives the reasons why the recycled strategy is a loser:
“The last Democrat to win the White House without carrying Ohio was John F. Kennedy, who pulled off the feat with 73 electoral votes from south of the Mason-Dixon line and another 26 from the border states of West Virginia, Missouri, and Arkansas. Obama’s likely haul from that territory: zero. And as Seib points out, the president is facing an uphill climb in much of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region—including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, all of which went his way by larger margins than did Ohio. (For more evidence, see the latest Pennsylvania survey, which finds that 54 percent of registered voters disapprove of Obama’s performance and 51 percent don’t think he deserves reelection, while it has him running even with Romney in a state he carried by 10.3 points in 2008.) In short, the president won’t have the luxury of building his campaign on a solid-blue foundation of 242 electoral votes in 2012.
So what does this all mean? Barring unlikely circumstances, the core challenge facing the Obama campaign is not to execute a thread-the-needle Electoral College strategy. It is rather to spend the next thirteen and a half months giving the people credible reasons to believe that the economy will fare better in a second Obama term than it did in the first.”
With so many “must win” states slipping from his soft grasp, imagine what happens if Chris Christie yanks New Jersey from that list of “sure wins” for Obama into the Republican camp. A recent Rasmussen poll already has Christie at 43% to Obama’s 44% among likely voters nationally. If Christie does get into the presidential race he will be vetted the way Barack Obama has never been vetted. Many Republicans will not be happy with Chris Christie and he will be labeled a “liberal”.
But imagine Christ Christie yanking New Jersey away from Obama. A Christie/Rubio ticket would likely draw strong support from the many New Jersey Latinos which include a big presence of Cubans.
“A majority of Americans expect Barack Obama to be a one-term president, an assessment on which, in past elections, the public has more often been right than wrong.
Just 37 percent of people in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say they expect Obama to win re-election in November 2012; 55 percent instead expect the eventual Republican nominee to win.
It’s a challenging finding for the president because expectations can fuel voter enthusiasm — precisely the ingredient that led the GOP to its broad success in the 2010 midterms, when charged-up conservatives turned out while dispirited Democrats stayed home.”
Some Republicans and many conservatives will find Christie not conservative enough. But the lure of New Jersey and a potentially competitive New York have to make mouths water at the RNC. If Chris Christie does jump into the presidential pool, expect a huge splash.
Republicans should consider the history of Bill Clinton when making their choice for president. Sean Wilentz remembers Bill Clinton twenty years later:
“October 3rd marks the twentieth anniversary of Bill Clinton’s announcement of his candidacy for the presidency. The distance of time permits some perspective on what Clinton was attempting to do when he set out on his quest.
Since the end of World War II, every Democrat who has sought the presidency has attempted to update the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. In announcing his candidacy Clinton called his reformed liberalism “a new covenant.” By this he meant a revitalized connection between government and the citizenry that rejected the Reagan Republican idea of laissez-faire, but that also reemphasized what Clinton called “the solid, middle-class virtues of hard work, individual responsibility, family, community, and faith.” The phrase “new covenant” did not stick, but the idea behind it would become the guiding light of the Clinton administration for the ensuing eight years. During that time, it offered Democrats and the nation at large a reopened path to the future that had been blocked since the distempers of the late 1960s and, in particular, since the tragedies of 1968.”
We’ve written before about how Hillary Clinton could have healed the breach between the White Working Class and the Democratic Party before. Wilentz expounds on how Bill Clinton began to heal that breach:
“Lyndon Johnson’s embrace of the civil rights movement in 1964, followed by the presidential candidacy of George Wallace four years later, had insured the movement of the great bulk of the white South into the Republican Party. And, in 1968, the Democratic Party’s crack-up over Vietnam and racial disorder opened what became a deep division between relatively affluent and highly-educated northern “new politics” liberals and the party’s traditional blue-collar and white rural liberal base. That division fed the growing impression that liberalism was an elitist conceit dedicated to draining the middle-class in favor of the poor—Reagan’s “welfare queen.”
Despite the Republicans’ crisis over Watergate and the brief liberal resurgence in 1974, the Democrats’ divisions remained. The party increasingly became identified with its “progressive” wing, devoted to expanding the rights of racial and sexual minorities as well as women, reflexively opposed to American military operations abroad, and skeptical about if not hostile to conventional cultural taboos. Traditional Democrats—more interested in lunch-pail economic issues than in identity politics—remained essential to the party’s success but felt increasingly distant from it.“
Bill Clinton did for the Democratic Party what Republicans need to consider if they want a governing majority that lasts much longer than just a few elections. That’s what Bill Clinton aimed for, but Barack Obama has utterly destroyed:
“In his announcement speech, Clinton offered a fresh political synthesis of liberal themes. He forthrightly endorsed the legacy of the civil rights movement and of the feminist victories of the 1970s, including, on the abortion issue, a woman’s individual right to choose. With a Southerner’s experience, he emphasized how divisions over race, still being inflamed by Republicans in the late 1980s and early 1990s, operated to reinforce privilege. That perception led directly to Clinton’s insistence that the interests of the ordinary middle-class ought no longer to be pitted against aspiring minorities. This false opposition, he said, had for too long been a key to conservative political domination. What he did not say—and did not need to—was that some elements of his own party still beheld Middle America with suspicion, if not contempt, as the caricatured “Reagan Democrats” embittered at the cultural impact of the 1960s and taking refuge in backward provincialism.
Clinton aimed to win back alienated traditional Democrats not by shifting to the right, as some pundits have claimed, but by retrieving basic political principles enunciated by FDR and those successful liberal Democrats who followed him. Nothing cost Clinton more political capital inside the left wing of his party than his advocacy of welfare reform. “We should expect people to move from welfare rolls to work rolls,” he proclaimed in his announcement speech. “We should give them the skills they need to succeed and then insist that they move into the workforce to become productive members of society.” These were fighting words to some liberal Democrats. Yet in 1936, in a rip-roaring attack on Republican callousness, FDR had defended those forced on the relief rolls while adding, “Of course we will provide useful work for the needy unemployed; we prefer useful work to the pauperism of a dole.” As a matter of policy, Clinton aimed to return liberalism to its basic ideas, not to forsake its ideals. And in doing so, he would help accomplish the crucial political task of removing from national politics one of the issues that had helped Republicans inflame the middle class against the poor, especially the minority poor, as well as against the Democratic Party.”
Bill Clinton delivered more than pizza, more than flowery words. Bill Clinton delivered action and JOBS:
“In order to overcome the Reagan ascendency Democrats needed to advance the rights secured during the 1960s while returning to more traditional political bedrock. To a remarkable extent, Clinton delivered on that promise. In doing so, he made the nation comfortable once again with the idea that the well-being and future prospects of most Americans require strong and effective leadership by the federal government. It was a matter of common sense, Governor Clinton said in 1991: “Government’s responsibility is to create more opportunity for everybody, and our responsibility is to make the most of it.” These are Democratic ideas, and liberal ones. Bill Clinton reaffirmed, updated, and carried them forward into the twenty-first century.”
While we wait for Chris Christie to decide, Chris Christie and Republicans should be reading Bill Clinton.