Commentary: Dear Chris Christie, stop pretending you have a chance to be president

Christie-President-FINAL-for-web

Dear Chris Christie.

It’s me again, that annoying cartoonist who always manages to malign everything you stand for. I know you and I don’t see eye to eye on most public policy issues, and your decision to root for the Dallas Cowboys is at best regrettable. However, I come to you today with some honest advice your cadre of “yes” men and women seem unable to offer: Don’t run for President. 
 
Have you looked at the latest polling data? I’m sure you think you can recapture those heady days when you were the Republican frontrunner and one of the most popular political figures in the country. Spoiler alert: You can’t, especially considering it took Superstorm Sandy, an act of nature that you won’t even admit climate change had a role in unleashing, to inflate your poll numbers.
 
According to the latest Fox News poll (your people), just 2 percent of likely voters said they would vote for you. That puts you in 11th place among Republican presidential candidates, and since Fox News is inviting just the 10 top finishers to its first debate in August, you seem destined for a place at the kids table of presidential politics. 
 
At this point, when I Google “Chris Christie popularity” these are the adjectives I see: Plummeting, nosedived, record-low, cratered, humiliating. Should I go on?  Even Voldemort, the Harry Potter villain who tried to murder a baby, has a higher favorability rating that you.
 
The numbers are even worse at home. In an April Quinnipiac University poll, 65 percent of New Jerseyans don’t think you’d make a good president. You’re even less popular in the Garden State than Jon “I lost $2 billion” Corzine. I would say these are the constituents who know you best, but as WNYC’s Matt Katz notes, you’ve spent 218 days out of New Jersey since being sworn in last year to a 2nd term.
 
Based on your travel time, residents in Iowa are among those who know you best, which is probably why you’re polling at just 4.3 percent there among Republican Presidential candidates, according to the Real Clear Politics Average. And in case you didn’t notice, that’s Donald Trump who’s polling ahead of you. 
 
Even in New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation primary where Republicans skew more moderate, you in 7th place with the support of just 5 percent of voters, according to a new CNN/WMUR New Hampshire Primary Poll
 
 And you seem to be getting desperate. 
 
According to Paul Mulshine at the Star-Ledger, you’ve been pandering to voters in both states with your stand on ethanol. Back in March, you told Iowa voters (you know, the folks who sell ethanol) that you’re in favor of expanded ethanol use. However, once you showed up in New Hampshire, you changed your tune, implying that you’re against the national ethanol mandate.
 
You are aware voters in both states have access to Google, right? 
 
It’s not just ethanol. You’ve become a pandering, flip-flopping opportunist on common core, immigration, guns, climate change – even pig gestation crates, where the 9,000 or so in New Jersey are dwarfed by the 20 million in Iowa. Do you even remember telling GOP voters in South Carolina to be wary of flip-flopping presidential hopefuls just looking for votes?
 
Maybe that’s why you felt the need to hide behind a bunker while braver politicians in your party, like Governor Nikki Haley, called on the state to remove the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina statehouse. It’s not exactly the best YouTube clip, a loud-mouthed politician with a reputation of speaking bluntly afraid to stand up for his values out of fear of alienating voters.  
 
Maybe that’s why Nikki Haley remains popular among South Carolina voters and an up-and-coming figure in your party, and your defining moment as governor remains yelling at a heckler on the boardwalk while clutching an ice cream cone. 
 
Most laughably, you’re still trying to convince New Jerseyans that you’re haven’t made a decision about running for President. 
 
“When I decide, I’ll let everybody know,” I heard you say on NJ 101.5 Thursday night, noting that, “There’s been absolutely no final decision made by me.” Not even Rose Nylund of St. Olaf is gullible enough to buy that. 
 
So my advice is not to run for president, stop making alternating trips to battleground states and the Tonight Show, and focus on doing the things you promised to do as governor. New Jerseyans are still waiting for you to balance the state’s budget without gimmicks, come though on the state’s obligations to the pension system and aid those still in need of help after Superstorm Sandy. 
 
Who knows. If you’re actually do the job you were elected to do, maybe Donald Trump would pick you as his running mate.  
 
___________________________________________________
 
Rob Tornoe is a cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobTornoe. 

 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.