Post Romney Options

To start the Romney campaign postmortems a little early, I’ll throw this out:

Romney was a horrible candidate for small government conservatives because everything he targeted in the budget for cuts was either insignificant symbolism (PBS) or what a majority of people consider a core government function (FEMA). That coupled with holding entitlements sacrosanct and increasing defense made his plans implausible to begin with.

No where in a Romney campaign speech was the fact that the average senior takes out three times as much as they have paid in to the entitlement system (here meaning Medicare & Social Security combined) and that is unsustainable. This campaign was not about making tough budget choices.

How Lifetime Benefits and Contributions Point the Way Toward Reforming Our Senior Entitlement Programs

However, the Republicans do have a candidate available to make this argument, and it’s Chris Christie. This piece from the NYTimes magazine is worth a reread:

“How Chris Christie Did His Homework
Mark Peterson for The New York Times
Published: February 24, 2011”

How Chris Christie Did His Homework

If anyone can sell entitlment reform, he can:

“Christie, it turns out, has a preternatural gift for making the complex seem deceptively simple. Last month I saw him hold forth at a town-hall meeting in Chesilhurst, a South Jersey borough of about 1,600. Chesilhurst is about half African-American, and I sensed more curiosity than enthusiasm among the racially mixed crowd as it flowed into the little community-center gymnasium. An unusually large number of folding chairs were empty. About 20 minutes after the program was supposed to start, there came over the loudspeakers the kind of melodramatic instrumental that might introduce a local newscast, or maybe an Atlantic City magic show, and in came Christie, taking his position in the center of the crowd. The theme of the week was pension-and-benefits reform, and in his introductory remarks, Christie explained the inefficiency in the state’s health care costs not by wielding a stack of damning statistics, as some politicians might, but by relating a story.

When he was a federal prosecutor, Christie told the audience, he got to choose from about 100 health-insurance plans, ranging from cheap to quite expensive. But as soon as he became governor, the “benefits lady” told him he had only three state plans from which to choose, Goldilocks-style; one was great, one was modestly generous and one was rather miserly. And any of the three would cost him exactly 1.5 percent of his salary.

“ ‘You’re telling me,’ ” Christie said he told the woman, feigning befuddlement, “ ‘that no matter which one I pick, the good one or the O.K. one or the bad one, I’m going to pay 1½ percent of my salary?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’

“And I said, ‘Then everyone picks the really good one, right?’ And she said, ‘Ninety-six percent of state employees pick the really good one.’

“Which led me to have two reactions,” Christie told the crowd. “First, bring those other 4 percent to me! Because when I have to start laying people off, they’re the first ones!” His audience burst into near hysterics. “And the second reaction was, of course I would choose the best plan,” Christie said, “and so would you.

“Now listen, I don’t think this is groundbreaking stuff,” Christie added. “I don’t think this means that instead of being governor, you know, I should be at NASA, working on the space shuttle. I’m no genius. Just seems to me that if you give people an option to get something for nothing, they’ll take it.” Scanning the nodding faces around me, it seemed there wasn’t a person in the gymnasium, at that point, who wouldn’t have voted to make state workers and teachers pay more for the better plan.”

16 Responses

  1. He’d have to lose some serious weight, but Christie would be a great candidate for the R’s to run. I was surprised when Huntsman threw his hat into the arena this time (unless it was purely for name recognition come 2016), because he would also be a good R candidate.

    And either one would have been lightyears better than any of the candidates this year (since Huntsman never stood a chance I don’t consider this year a serious run).

    I’ll bet Bob McDonnell makes a run for it in 2016, but I don’t give him much of a chance.


  2. McDonnell would have had a much better chance absent the whole ultrasound issue. He’s been a good governor from a fiscal perspective. He would have been better served if the Democrats had retained one house of the Virginia legislature.


  3. McDonnell also would have been better served without such a ultra-right AG. I think what’ll bite McDonnell in the butt is his conservative Christian past and writings.

    I always think that Utah’s government is so screwed up, but they’ve managed to look a lot less ideological than many of the other ones this election cycle and it’s totally controlled by the Republicans (and has been for as long as I’ve lived here). Only 17/75 representatives and 7/29 senators are D’s. But in general they don’t go off the rails too often.


  4. Chris Christie 50 pounds lighter would be a formidable opponent. When you are that big, even a little weight loss goes a long way to change your public image. Look what it did for Mike Huckabee. Oops, probably a bad example. Bill Clinton looks positively gaunt nowadays.


  5. “Michigoose, on October 31, 2012 at 11:35 am said:

    McDonnell also would have been better served without such a ultra-right AG. I think what’ll bite McDonnell in the butt is his conservative Christian past and writings. ”

    That all came out in his Governor’s race and then he ended up being a nuts and bolts fiscal conservative until the Republicans took back the Senate.

    It also helped that he had a daughter who was a combat officer in the Army in Iraq when he was rebutting charges that he had a less than modern view of women’s place in society.


  6. This is pretty good:

    “INTERACTIVE: Make Mitt Romney’s tax plan add up!

    Posted by Dylan Matthews and Ezra Klein on October 31, 2012 at 9:00 am”


  7. Is it just me who thinks that Christie wants Obama to win next week??


  8. jnc:

    I was playing around with the interactive thing earlier today. Taxes have to go up at some level with his plan. It’s just a matter of who is paying the taxes.


  9. If Romney were to win that would upset Christie’s plans for 2016. And he already kicked off his campaign with that speech in Tampa a month or so ago.


  10. A factor I haven’t read in various analyses. Christie wants to win re-election as governor in a heavily Democratic state. Praising an effective response by a Democratic president is good politics.

    I frankly don’t think he’ll play well nationally, but he’s pure New Jersey. I think he’s sealed his re-election. 2016 and 2020 will take care of themselves.



    • I think Christie just did the right thing. not everything has to be politically motivated. guy probably hasn’t slept in days. i think the simple answer here is Obama promised help and Christie is grateful for it.


  11. Sometimes doing the right thing is also good politics. Obama is in his element. He couldn’t ask for a better way to end the last week prior to the election when it comes to persuading the remaining independent/undecided/clueless voters.


  12. Also, during disasters like this the political interests of all current incumbents tend to align.


  13. NoVA:

    I think Christie just did the right thing. not everything has to be politically motivated

    Oh, he’s definitely doing the right thing–it’s just that the praise he’s giving Obama over and over, knowing that it’s going to be on the national news, seems a bit over-the-top to me. I also agree with jnc’c point about interests aligning.


  14. Marc Ambinder’s Romney post-mortem.

    If Romney loses, here are the real reasons:

    The economy overall hasn’t improved much since President Obama took office, but the indicators are pointing in the right direction. Voters trust and like Obama more than Romney. The auto bailout issue helped in the Midwest, particularly among white voters. The GOP’s demographic share of the electorate continues to shrink proportionally; white voters did not cross the percentage threshold needed for Romney to offset the Obama coalition.


  15. […] href=”“>jnc</a&gt; was prescient.  And I’m glad it was as relatively clear cut as it […]


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