the national interest

Chris Christie Way Too Jersey for Republicans

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses state legislators during his State of the State Address in the Assembly Chamber at the Statehouse on January 8, 2013 in Trenton, New Jersey. The popular Republican governor called on Congress to quickly approve more disaster aid for the state, more than two months after Hurricane Sandy.
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

One of the things standing between Chris Christie and the Republican nomination, aside from his handful of ideological deviations and high-profile embrace of President Obama last fall, is that he’s from New Jersey. And not just from New Jersey in the sense that, I don’t know, Bruce Springsteen is from New Jersey, but from New Jersey in the way Tony Soprano is from New Jersey. Philip Klein of the conservative Washington Examiner points out:

one thing I kept running into among voters in early states when covering the campaign was that his background as a New Yorker was a real turnoff and made voters view him as rude and somehow shady. As somebody who grew up in the New York/New Jersey area, I underestimated how repellant it could be.

I think the Northeastern-based news media has always underestimated this problem for Christie. We’re aware that people in the Northeast hate the Republican Party, but much less aware that it works the other way around, too.

Here’s an advertisement that Kentucky Republicans prepared in 2008, tying some poor Kentucky Democrat to Chuck Schumer, who becomes the embodiment of a loose series of anti-Semitic and, for some reason, anti-Italian stereotypes:

I’m not endorsing the stereotype. Some of my best friends, employers, colleagues, spouses, and in-laws are from the New York and New Jersey area. They’re wonderful folks, and none of them are involved in organized crime, to the best of my knowledge. But the association of the Northeast with shady behavior has long, deep roots in American culture. Christie really embodies the New Jersey–New York stereotype in a way that would be a real problem in a GOP primary.

Chris Christie Way Too Jersey for Republicans