5 reasons Chris Christie can't win the GOP nomination
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has said over and over again that he isn't running for president in 2012 — a line he repeated once again just this week. Still, Republicans dissatisfied with their options are turning up the pressure on Christie to jump into the race. The GOP base has gotten its hopes up before — over Donald Trump, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and, most recently, Texas Gov. Rick Perry — only to promptly find fault with each new candidate (or, in Trump's case, would-be candidate) and resume the search for a savior. Here are five reasons Christie would fare no better:
1. Christie is no hardliner on immigration
"The biggest chink in Rick Perry's armor so far has been his record on illegal immigration," says Dan Amira at New York. It's a problem for Christie, too. He has said being in the country without proper papers is an "administrative matter," not a crime. And between 2002 and 2007, as U.S. attorney in New Jersey, he prosecuted so few illegal immigration cases that then-CNN host Lou Dobbs said Christie was "an utter embarrassment."
2. He has a soft spot for gun control
In 1995, when Christie was running for state general assembly, he distributed flyers calling opponents "radical" and "crazy" for supporting repeal of the federal assault-weapons ban, says Daniel Foster at National Review. And he still fights any move to let people carry concealed weapons in New Jersey. In 2009, he told conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity that New Jersey had a "handgun problem," and that he supports some of the gun-control measures the state uses to contain it. "Bad idea," Hannity said.
3. Hardliners won't like his stand on the "ground zero mosque"
Last year, Christie accused politicians on the Left and Right of using the proposed "ground zero mosque" as a "political football," says Thomas Fitzgerald at The Philadelphia Inquirer, suggesting he thought conservatives were exploiting anti-Muslim emotions stirred up by the 9/11 attacks. This summer, he faced another backlash after appointing Sohail Mohammed, a Muslim lawyer, to be a New Jersey Superior Court judge. Critics were angry that he would appoint a lawyer who had defended a cleric accused of terrorist sympathies. Christie responded: "I'm tired of dealing with the crazies."
4. He's got an uncomfortable Madoff connection
In his days as a lobbyist, Christie once fought for the rights of Wall Street. On his client list: The Securities Industry Association, then led by none other than Bernie Madoff. That, says Abe Sauer at The Awl, is the kind of thing "that's easy to understand no matter who you are, involves a universally despised villain who has come to represent all the illegality of the 2008 market collapse, and it would be devastating to Christie in much-needed Florida" — a critical presidential swing state where many Madoff victims lived.
5. A possible clincher: He believes people are causing climate change
Perry delights the Right by saying that climate change is "phony," says James Oliphant at the Los Angeles Times. Christie says 90 percent of the world's scientists have concluded that the climate is changing and humans are playing a role, so "it's time to defer to the experts." If Republican voters are looking to nominate a hardcore conservative, this is pretty solid proof that Christie "does not fit the mold."