It's easy to see why Governor Christie may be on a test drive for 2016, and not just the warm up act for icy GOP 2012 presidential frontrunner, Mitt Romney. In fact, Christie may have that rare mixture of smarts and down home charm -- all wrapped up in an ethnic blue collar kind of package. Bet the GOP intelligentsia is pondering if there could be something compelling about him in his role as the Pied Piper of the working class. Stretching a bit, consider whether Christie could be that desperately needed Republican version of Bill Clinton- yeah, yeah well keep stretching that analogy a little more please because the Party elders maybe trying to figure it out after the debacle of the 2012 primaries.
So it is no surprise that the good Governor came to the Hoover Institute at Stanford University delivering some of his plain-speak, and coming out with a newer calm and thoughtful demeanor. Not sure that all of his turnaround analogies worked comparing New Jersey to California -- even to this woman born and bred there - but he's making big, bold statements backed by mountains of data. Still not buying that entitlements are the root of the downfall of modern life as we know it - yet we all know that this is GOP speak for cutting Social Security, Medicare and their ilk.
Yet the big question remains unanswered as to whether this street smart persona will speak to the middle of America in the way bad boy former President Bill Clinton did.
And further, does Christie have enough religiosity to keep the burgeoning religious base happy? After all, he is merely a choir boy - aka code for a good Italian Catholic male. Because we all know that having a Catholic president was good enough for the Democrat - - but remember those folks believe in birth control. Moreover, is it okay that Christie is so smart (because he clearly is) to the anti-intellectual masses? Given that he is much more adroit at downplaying it than even former President George W. Bush but will it be enough? Alas, it's a big bonus that he openly hates the unions, and has a particular hard-on for the teachers' unions; appears to keep his zipper up; and is happily married.
Hmm, if the GOP intelligentsia keeps ruminating on Christie we may see more of this new, improved, thoughtful Chris Christie making the rounds before 2016.