The administration is confident they have the best man to shape that discussion, and the ubiquity in the right-of-center blogosphere of YouTube videos showing Christie speaking eloquently, and extemporaneously, about his vision suggests they have it right.
“I don’t think you can underestimate the political capital the governor has accumulated in his first six months in office,” says Webber.
“The first six months were crucial for him to establish himself as somebody who’s willing to use the veto pen, someone who has a unified party behind him, someone who can rally the public to his point of view. And he’s shown all that. Now when the big fights come, he starts from a stronger position than he started from in February or March.”
Not even those closest to Christie know whether he plans to run for a second term, but one of his great strengths is that he governs as if he won’t. He has claimed, with the ring of truth, that he pays no attention to his roller-coaster public approval ratings — that to him, the only poll that mattered was the one that installed him as Jon Corzine’s successor in November of 2009. This philosophy is not Republican, but republican: He sees himself as a representative of the people who nevertheless refuses to pander to them, to recalibrate his stances at their every perturbation.
Senator Kean, who hopes to move from minority to majority leader, has confidence that Christie will continue to stick to his guns.
“The governor has an internally strong constitution — that’s who Chris is — and he has an externally strong constitution in the constitution of the State of New Jersey,” Kean says.
“I think he is absolutely the genuine article. That’s why we won’t ever go back to the status quo, at least not under Chris Christie’s governorship.”
It is said that on a long enough timeline the impossible becomes the inevitable. After decades of unchecked bloat in Trenton, a drastic scaling back of the excesses — and the ambitions — of big government seems, each day, less an impossibility and more an inevitability.
Chris Christie has made it so.
– Daniel Foster is news editor of National Review Online.