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Chris Christie Breaks the Code

October 3, 2010

Chris Christie

  

I attended a political fund-raiser last week. It was at the home of a man running for Mayor of a small town here in South Jersey. The other two candidates featured on the promotional brochure were his running mates for town council. 

Full disclosure requires I reveal that this event was for Democratic candidates. I received an invitation from the Mayoral challenger, because he has been a business client for over twelve years. Our professional relationship has grown and branches of friendship have developed; resulting from the common seeds of core values, a respect for capitalism, and deep passion for the Phillies. 

While sitting on the sofa, I had the opportunity to have political discussions with two individuals, neither of who had voted for Chris Christie. However, both revealed that they understood the challenges for the Governor and each stated a respect for his priorities and actions. 

 

The first person I spoke with is a New Jersey State Employee. He admitted to having mixed feelings for the way in which his “boss” is modifying the relationship between the taxpayers and the unions as well as with the teachers. However, he also pleaded “guilty” to being a reasonable man and a responsible citizen. He recognizes that a tipping point has been reached relating to salary, benefits, and other perks received by the State employees, in that they far exceed those offered by the private sector. 

The other person, interestingly enough, is the wife of the candidate for Mayor and a self-described liberal. However, she was quick to speak negatively about Jon Corzine. She respected Christie’s previous prosecutorial success as our Federal Attorney and was complimentary to him in regard to where he is investing his political capital. 

Unlike Oprah or Newark Mayor Corey Booker, neither of the people I spoke with is quite ready to jump on the Christie bandwagon or to vote Republican in the 2010 election. However, their hearts and minds have been pried open. It is clear that they are willing to listen to the other side of the argument; the conservative side. 

The significance, and growing power, of Chris Christie is that supporters and cynics alike agree on one important aspect in regard to our Governor. That is, there is no doubt that when he speaks we believe that he believes what he is saying. That’s important stuff. Even though his style and mannerisms were entirely different, people felt the same about “The Great Communicator,” Ronald Reagan. Well, it certainly worked for him! 

Our 33rd President, Harry Truman was given the nickname, “give ‘em Hell, Harry,” by the press and his opponents. In response, the straight talking Truman who, by the way was our last President never to attend college, said; “I don’t give them Hell. I tell them the truth and they think it’s Hell.” 

Perhaps the lesson a politician can learn from such disparate, yet candid personalities is this; study the situation, identify your priorities, and understand how mature Americans feel and think. Then, state what’s in your heart and mind, without apologies. It just might be that a strategy of telling your truth and letting the chips fall where they may, will result, more often than not, in having the majority of the voters betting on the clear speaker rather than the cautious squirmer.

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