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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
ONLY 14 NO VOTES
House Approves Opioid Package
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed sweeping bipartisan opioid legislation, concluding the chamber’s two-week voteathon on dozens of bills to address the drug abuse epidemic. The measure combines more than 50 bills approved individually by the House focusing on expanding access to treatment, encouraging the development of alternative pain treatments and curbing the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. It was passed 396-14, with 13 Republicans and one Democrat voting against the package."

Source:
NEVERMIND THE TWEETS
Trump Tells Congress North Korea Remains a Threat
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Trump wrote that he's continuing the national emergency status with respect to North Korea, citing the country's “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions," which "continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. In a series of tweets following his meeting with Kim Jong-un, Trump said Americans could sleep well at night because North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.

Source:
ZERO-TOLERANCE FALLOUT CONTINUES
Navy Document Outlines Plans For Detention Camps
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military’s task in implementing President Donald Trump’s 'zero tolerance' policy for people caught crossing the Southern border." The document outlines plans for "temporary and austere" internment camps for 25,000 migrants "at abandoned airfields just outside the Florida panhandle," and in Alabama, for 47,000 people near San Francisco, and "as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton" in California. The document estimates that operating a camp to detain 25,000 people for six months would cost approximately $233 million.

Source:
LASERS USED IN DJIBOUTI TOO
U.S. Military Aircraft Targeted By Lasers
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Lasers have targeted pilots of American military aircraft operating over the western Pacific Ocean more than 20 times in recent months," said U.S. officials. The lasers appeared to be coming from Chinese fishing boats in the South China Sea, said the officials, which is the setting of a "long-running dispute between China and Japan over the control of nearby islands ... The incidents likely will come up as part of a broader discussion of issues when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visits Beijing next week and meets Chinese President Xi Jinping."

Source:
EMPHASIZES SECURITY AND JOBS
Trump Overturns Obama Orders on Oceans
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump has unveiled a new policy that depicts the world’s oceans as a resource ripe for expanded business opportunities, reversing the Obama administration's emphasis on protecting 'vulnerable' marine environments." Rather than emphasizing environmental protection, as Obama's policy did, "Trump’s directive speaks mostly to the oceans as a resource for promoting national security" and creating jobs.

Source:
×
×

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