Chris Christie Against Love, Except of Self

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28:  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie takes the stage to deliver the keynote address during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Photo: Mark Wilson/2012 Getty Images

The theme of Chris Christie's keynote address tonight was toughness, leadership, disregarding the polls, and doing the hard, unpopular thing.

I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved ... Tonight, we choose respect over love ... You see, Mr. President — real leaders don't follow polls. Real leaders change polls.

Even setting aside the fact that Ann Romney had told delegates moments earlier, "I am here to talk about love," I see two problems with this choice.

First, it's an awfully strange way to attack President Obama, who pushed for all sorts of policies — health care reform, a reorganization of the financial sector, an endorsement of gay marriage — that carried huge political risks. Second, it's an even worse endorsement of Mitt Romney, who at every stage of his career has remade himself into whatever the electorate at any given moment appeared to desire.

It was, however, a decent way to tout the record of Chris Christie — a man who, according to a report this week by the New York Post, declined to be considered for the veep because he didn't believe that Mitt Romney had a suitably decent chance of winning the White House.

Why Romney would give Christie the best speaking slot of the convention to lay out such a self-serving argument, I cannot fathom.