Sunday, November 04, 2012

Romney's Good Judgement in VP Pick

Governor Mitt Romney showed first class sense when he picked serious, knowledgeable, measured, upright Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential candidate.

That good judgement is underlined if the Politico story is true that Governor Chris Christie was Romney's first choice.
Now, campaign insiders tell POLITICO that Christie was Mitt Romney’s first choice for the Republican ticket, lending an intriguing new context to the continuing drama around the Garden State governor.

The strong internal push for Christie, and Romney’s initial instinct to pick him as his running mate, reflects how conflicted the nominee remained about choosing a running mate until the very end of the process. At least on the surface, Christie and Paul Ryan are about as opposite as two Republicans could be: a brash outsider from the Northeast versus a bookish insider from the heartland.

And yet Romney switched from Christie to Ryan in a span of about two weeks, according to a detailed inside account provided to POLITICO.

Romney was so close to picking Christie that some top advisers at the campaign’s Boston headquarters believed the governor had been offered the job. The campaign made tentative plans to announce a pick in late July, just before Romney headed off on his overseas trip, starting with a stop at the London Olympics.
Christie's pluses are ability to connect with the Republican base and working class men and straight talk.
Romney liked Christie’s fearless advice — unvarnished talk that he wasn’t used to hearing from his cocoon of Boston advisers, many of whom had been with him since he was Massachusetts governor.
 His weaknesses are lack of dependability, self-centeredness,  and impulsive nature.
Some aides around Romney began to sour on Christie when he was late to a couple of events where they were appearing together. “Chris is a sort of cavalier New York, New Jersey guy: ‘If I’m a few minutes behind, I’ll blame it on traffic,’” said a person who knows him well. “That’s just who he is.”

The tardiness rankled the by-the-book folks around Romney. As the vice-presidential selection ramped up, Christie was always at the top of the list, but always with an asterisk.

Some Romney loyalists thought he was too much about himself.

“He wouldn’t make a good Number Two,” one adviser said. That is a point that Christie often made himself, when brushing off talk that he would be chosen.

Advisers also fretted about the raw emotion that makes Christie so popular on TV and on the trail, fearing it might be a liability in the West Wing. In blunt language that Christie can appreciate, another official said: “The explosiveness had some risk.”
Christie has a Bidenesque, impulsive streak in him which sometimes leads him to say and do things in a way which do not help his team or, even worse, which set a bad precedent. Most recently there is his effusive praise of President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy which could have been said just as honestly but less effusively days before a close presidential election. Not smart. But an actual bad decision for his state and its future is his decision to allow fax and e-mail voting in New Jersey. As Max points out tongue in cheek, "This Should End Well".

Mitt Romney's ability to assess and choose the man better suited to both the vice presidency and possible heart beat away rise to the presidency bodes well for all the picks a President Romney will have to make. The more I learn about the VP pick, the more I'm impressed by Governor Romney's leadership insight.


Ten Mile Island said...

Nice post.


MAX Redline said...

I've often admired Christie's ability to handle himself, sans teleprompter - and he's especially good at dispatching hecklers. BUT...and therein lies the problem (and I'm not talking about his ample posterior).

One of his problems - and at the same time, strengths - is that he doesn't parse words. As you mention, he was effusive in his praise for Barky at a most inopportune moment, and he could have served everyone much more effectively had he instead said something like "I recommend this man with no qualifications whatsoever." Barky and company would have taken it as a compliment; everybody could have been happy.

T. D. said...

Thanks, TMI!

Max, I give Christie a mild pass for his response to Hurricane Sandy. Though it wasn't even in the ball park of smart, Christie is impulsive and emotional (like Biden). It comes with the territory of Christie's strength being also his weakness.

The expansion of voting venues is a serious policy error that opens doors for corrupting the voting process. That and other executive calls such as his inability to understand the dangers of Islamic jihadism or first amendment rights of NJ citizens, leave me more than a bit worried. Andrew McCarthy:

". . . I have laid out my objections to Christie’s (literal) embrace of Islamic supremacists in exacting detail. To summarize, not only did Christie appoint to the state bench a lawyer named Sohail Mohammed, who, besides slandering the Justice Department’s prosecutions of (now convicted) jihadists, served as a board member of an Islamic-supremacist organization (the American Muslim Union); as U.S. attorney, Christie also personally championed a Hamas operative named Mohammed Qatanani and, more shockingly, put his federal office in the service of that operative, in opposition to the federal government’s worthy effort to deport him. Reportedly, U.S. Attorney Christie physically embraced Qatanani, praising him as “a man of great good will,” at an Islamic center in Passaic that was closely linked to the Holy Land Foundation Hamas-financing case — which the Bush Justice Department was prosecuting at that very time."
. . .
". . . and [Christie's] endorsement of the firing of a state employee for burning three pages of the Koran while off duty at a demonstration (the employee got his job back upon successfully suing the state for violating his constitutional rights)."

MAX Redline said...

One might guess that he assumes that the muzzies will view him as a member of Sus suidae and therefore leave him alone.

T. D. said...

Another good joke, Max. That's twice today you've made me laugh. Thanks.