By Joe Scarborough
Republicans need New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run for president. So do Independents. I would even argue that Democrats, who loathe his very existence, would be well served by Christie entering the presidential race.
Why? Because once Christie announces his run, this silly campaign about HPV, Ponzi schemes and Tiffany credit lines will become a deadly serious debate about America’s uncertain future.
Unlike Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Christie paints in primary colors. It is hard to imagine any voter ever complaining about the indifference of President Christie toward a particular issue. Unlike Obama and Romney, Christie rarely seeks the safety of a mushy middle ground.
The governor will oppose government-controlled health care, whether he ends up running a state, or the entire nation. He will always believe that teachers unions must be reformed or they will remain broken. He mocks those who suggest job growth can be micro-managed from inside the White House or any other government bureaucracy. Christie also embraces immigration reform and rational gun regulations. And in a year when too many GOP politicians shamefully shouted nonsense about the coming threat of Sharia law on our shores, Christie appointed a Muslim judge in his home state without apology.
For all of his newfound strengths as a political candidate, Romney can never escape the fact that he was for gun control before he was against it. Just like he was for abortion rights before embracing life, and was for government-managed health care before discovering it to be an existential threat to American capitalism.
As for President Obama, what can be said about a politician who lambastes Wall Street at the same time he holds record-breaking fundraisers hosted by hedge fund managers and investment bankers?
What can be said about a president who found George W. Bush’s war on terror to be an affront to basic American values, right before he doubled down on those very efforts, tripled the number of troops in Afghanistan and began launching drone attacks into a handful of countries (and this was before the commander inchief bothered to declare war).
Like Romney, Obama seems to take great pride in his efforts to be all things to all people. Christie, on the other hand, just doesn’t give a damn.
Will that unique strategy work in 2012? Maybe not. But you can be sure that facing Christie in a primary fight will make Romney a better candidate in the general election. Just like a rough-and-tumble general election battle between Christie and Obama would make the latter a better president over the next four years.
In the end, America needs a candidate like Christie on the national stage. It’s time to raise the game.