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Chris Christie – Succeeding by Saying “No”

January 26, 2011

Chris Christie

It appears that Chris Christie was offered the opportunity to present a rebuttal to the President’s State of the Union. Obviously, since he was not the guy on the screen Tuesday evening, he turned it down.

This decision, combined with the Governor’s statement of removing himself from the 2012 Presidential sweepstakes, demonstrates that he and his advisors are smart, logical and forward-looking. And, unlike many politicians, they do not suffer from a severe case of terminal hubris.

New Jersey Republicans are rightly proud and pleased with Christie’s first year in office. Most of us recognize that, to this point, it is too early to rate him as an unqualified success. After all, he’s only been in charge for about twelve months.

Yet, in a short period of time he has gained the attention and respect of the NJ Democratic Legislature. He has brushed back the unionized bullies. On a national basis he is gaining credibility by demonstrating once again, the power of straight talk as opposed to being silently fearful and politically correct. These are not small achievements.

Although he has made himself a presence on the national scene, Chris Christie also recognizes that he is, virtually, a political rookie. Obviously, he understands the honor of being the person who presents the rebuttal. However he recognizes that this speech always pales in comparison to that given by the President of the United States.

Unlike the Chief Executive who speaks in the magnificent Hall of Congress and is constantly interrupted with applause, the responder sits or stands alone, in a small sterile room. Rather than being able to offer kind words and “promises” to numerous interest groups and supporters, the rebuttal person almost always comes off like a chronic complainer picking on many of the  numerous items previously stated by the President. The President’s speech is prepared and honed over weeks, while the key points of the speaker from the opposition party are hastily assembled without much deep thought.

Bobby Jindal, the young first term Governor of Louisiana, almost committed political suicide a couple of years ago by letting himself get roped into the rebuttal role. Fortunately and wisely, Chris Christie is willing to be more patient and to let his successes speak for themselves, all while avoiding the sin of committing premature elaboration.

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