Washington Insiders Say Chris Christie Won 2013

The Republican governor with a can-do attitude vastly outdid this year’s top public figures.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie arrives to speak at his election night event in Asbury Park, N.J., after winning a second term on Nov. 3.
National Journal
Marina Koren
Dec. 13, 2013, 3:59 a.m.

After a whirl­wind year of crip­pling par­tis­an­ship, bungled policy rol­louts, and a gov­ern­ment shut­down, most pub­lic fig­ures are leav­ing this year with quite a few more chips to their im­age than they had in Janu­ary. Ex­cept maybe one.

New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie — a grow­ing puzzle for Demo­crats and con­tinu­ing head­ache for his fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans — emerged as the win­ner of 2013 on the polit­ic­al stage, ac­cord­ing to a Na­tion­al Journ­al Polit­ic­al In­siders poll.

The law­maker’s good year is something in­siders, Demo­crat­ic and Re­pub­lic­an in­flu­en­cers on the Hill, can agree on. Sixty per­cent of Demo­crats said Christie had the best 2013 of polit­ic­al fig­ures, while 71 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans said the same. The run­ners-up were barely any com­pet­i­tion, with former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton scor­ing 24 per­cent from Demo­crats and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pulling a mere 11 per­cent from GOP in­siders.

“Nobody else came out of 2013 look­ing good, let alone bet­ter,” says one Re­pub­lic­an in­sider.

Christie began the year with stel­lar ap­prov­al rat­ings, thanks to his hand­ling of the af­ter­math of Hur­ricane Sandy. A Janu­ary Time cov­er bear­ing his no-non­sense vis­age pro­claimed the gov­ernor as simply “The boss.” By sum­mer­time, Christie had signed a bi­par­tis­an state budget with min­im­al fuss while still strik­ing down eight Demo­crat­ic bills.

In ar­gu­ably the most sig­ni­fic­ant year in gay-rights his­tory, Christie out­lawed gay-con­ver­sion ther­apy for chil­dren in New Jer­sey in Au­gust, and didn’t fight a court rul­ing that leg­al­ized same-sex mar­riage in the state in Oc­to­ber. He slammed the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and Con­gress for “mon­key­ing around” dur­ing the gov­ern­ment shut­down, dis­tan­cing him­self from the grid­lock that burned just about every­one in Wash­ing­ton. He eas­ily scored a land­slide win for a second term the fol­low­ing month, and now leads nearly every poll for Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates in 2016.

Christie made it through 2013 largely un­scathed. No scan­dals, no em­bar­rass­ments or gaffes. He beat Demo­crats de­cis­ively and worked with them at the same time. Sure, con­ser­vat­ive groups snubbed him, primar­ily for his loud cri­ti­cism of House Speak­er John Boehner for post-Sandy aid and of the Na­tion­al Rifle As­so­ci­ation for its ad men­tion­ing Pres­id­ent Obama’s chil­dren. But “don’t be stu­pid,” be­cause Christie couldn’t care less. “He’s the man to beat in the GOP,” says one In­sider.

Christie’s high pro­file makes him a con­veni­ent tar­get for the tea party in 2014, which will likely paint him as too mod­er­ate for the Re­pub­lic­an primary. Demo­crats, on the oth­er hand, will point to his ul­tra-con­ser­vat­ive side. To­geth­er, these ef­forts could pull Christie, per­haps even the en­tire Re­pub­lic­an Party, closer to the cen­ter — right where voters may want a pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate in 2016.

What We're Following See More »
LEGACY PLAY
Sanders and Clinton Spar Over … President Obama
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”

THE 1%
Sanders’s Appeals to Minorities Still Filtered Through Wall Street Talk
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”

DIRECT APPEAL TO MINORITIES, WOMEN
Clinton Already Pivoting Her Messaging
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.

THE QUESTION
How Many Jobs Would Be Lost Under Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer System?
19 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 11 million, according to Manhattan Institute fellow Yevgeniy Feyman, writing in RealClearPolicy.

Source:
WEEKEND DATA DUMP
State to Release 550 More Clinton Emails on Saturday
19 hours ago
THE LATEST

Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.

Source:
×