Christie Goes Big
There are two big obstacles standing between Mitt Romney and the presidency: (1) Voters don't think he's very likable compared to Obama, and (2) although he has a lead over Obama on the issue of the economy--and even bigger lead on the deficit--voters seem uncertain that Romney would do what it will take to fix the economy and rein in spending. New Jersey governor Chris Christie sought to help Romney overcome both of these obstacles during his keynote address at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night. Christie framed the election as a contest of ideas, rather than a popularity contest, and he cast Romney as a bold reformer who would achieve for the country what Christie achieved for New Jersey.
At the beginning of his speech, Christie recounted how his Sicilian mother had taught him that "there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting -- but that respect could grow into real, lasting love."
"I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved," Christie explained. "Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say 'yes,' rather than to say no when 'no' is what's required."
Christie didn't mention Obama by name. He deftly attacked Obama by simply lumping him together with other nameless failed politicians who had chosen popularity over leadership. That made Obama seem quite small.
Christie talked about the success achieved in New Jersey over the past three years--tax cuts, a balanced budget, pension reform, and education reform. He then drew sharp contrasts between Republicans and Democrats on big issues at the federal level.