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
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 »
FEDERAL JUDGE WON'T BLOCK SUBPOENA OF BANK RECORDS
Trump Loses in Court Again
1 days ago
THE LATEST
SAYS HE CAN'T DO IT WHILE INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE
Trump Pulls the Plug on Infrastructure
1 days ago
THE LATEST
ADMINISTRATION IS 0-FOR-1 ON STONEWALLING THIS WEEK
Parties Go to Court Today Over Trump Banking Records
1 days ago
THE LATEST
ARRIVAL UNDER "EXTREME SECRECY"
Tillerson Talking to House Foreign Affairs
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was spotted entering a congressional office building on Tuesday morning for what a committee aide told The Daily Beast was a meeting with the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs committee and relevant staff about his time working in the Trump administration. ... Tillerson’s arrival at the Capitol was handled with extreme secrecy. No media advisories or press releases were sent out announcing his appearance. And he took a little noticed route into the building in order to avoid being seen by members of the media."

Source:
DEMAND DOCUMENTS AND TESTIMONY
House Subpoenas Hope Hicks, Annie Donaldson
2 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login