Will Chris Christie Gun Control Comments Derail Presidential Hopes?

chris christie - town hall meeting jan 26 - 20110126MiddletownTH111Since being elected Governor in the extremely Democrat state of New Jersey, Chris Christie has been a rising star in the Republican Party.  He’s the kind of American that Americans want in the White House, a straight talker who can get angry as all hell when the Congress, or anyone for that matter, are trying something stupid.  And best of all, he’s a Republican.  There’s just one problem.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Masacre, the country learned that our rising Republican star supports gun control.  He said, in very vague terms, that gun control, mental health, and substance abuse all need to be in the conversation after the tragedy.  He’s been more specific about gun control in the past, though.  In fact, when he initially decided to run for office in 1997 for a seat on the state legislature, he challenged Anthony Bucco, then the Republican Majority Whip.  His motivation was that Bucco tried to repeal New Jersey’s Assault Weapons ban.

So, can the Chris Christie gun control comments derail his Presidential aspirations?  Of course they CAN.  But will they?

There are two historical examples to look at.

EXAMPLE 1. Rudy Giuliani in 2008 – Mayor Giuliani was the front runner to win the Republican Presidential Nomination going into the 2008 campaign; which started in 2007.  However, sometime in the summer, Giuliani’s stance on abortion became more well publicized in Iowa and around the country.  Giuliani argued that he’s pro-life, but supports a woman’s “right to choose.”  His numbers plummeted in Iowa, so he abandoned the state after months of campaigning and moved to New Hampshire, when it was revealed that he had donated a LOT of money to pro-abortion organizations.  Because Giuliani fled Iowa, Mitt Romney was then filling the void he left; which translated to momentum in New Hampshire for Romney as well.  Giuliani’s numbers were falling again, so he skipped South Carolina and went to Florida to make his last stand.  He got out of the race when he lost Florida.

The abortion issue created an enormous vulnerability for Rudy Giuliani; which ultimately sank his campaign.

EXAMPLE 2. Mitt Romney in 2012 – Mitt Romney INVENTED ObamaCare!!!  And yet, he was nominated by Republicans to be President.  He lost the election because he was as likable as a hemorrhoid.

There are a lot of conservatives saying that the Chris Christie gun control comments will prevent him from ever winning the Republican nomination.  That’s not true.   Chris Christie hasn’t donated millions of dollars to anti-2nd Amendment organizations and he hasn’t inspired any national gun control legislation.  If you want to hear another Chris Christie gun control comment, he said last summer that New Jersey has enough gun control laws (that’s certainly true).   The idea that Republicans would be unwilling to nominate Christie because of comments that he made is ridiculous.  The WHOLE REASON we wanted him to run in the first place were the strong, straight-talking comments that he makes.  We shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t like a few of them here and there.

“Violence in our society has never been solely about firearms, and we would miss an opportunity to better prevent heinous crimes if we didn’t look at the complete picture… If we are truly going to take an honest and candid assessment of violence and public safety, we have to look more deeply at the underlying causes of many acts of violence. That means removing the stigma and evaluating issues of mental health, addiction, prevention and treatment services alongside the effectiveness of our firearms laws, enforcement mechanisms, and our school safety measures.”

-Governor Chris Christie

Sure, the Chris Christie gun control comments and maybe even his platform on the issue may be unpopular, but he’s by no means a closet progressive extremist.  I really think that there’s a good chance the electorate will ignore the Chris Christie gun control remarks like they ignored Mitt Romney’s progressive history running to the left of Ted Kennedy.  Words are so much less powerful than policies and cash donations that I doubt it will be a big deal, especially if Christie continues making remarks about guns not being the source of violence.  However, even if he doesn’t, experience has shown us over the last couple of election cycles that there are enough gutless Republican primary voters out there who will vote for anybody or anything if they think it will lead to victory in November.  If Chris Christie has the financial backers and a winning campaign staff going into 2015 and keeps his nose clean between now and then, he’s going to be a very powerful candidate.  And winning will be exceptionally easy if Rand Paul is the opponent.

Besides, he’s probably more worried about November.  Chris Christie is up for re-election this year.

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Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

4 thoughts on “Will Chris Christie Gun Control Comments Derail Presidential Hopes?”

  1. I know I’m ready for a straight talking Republican, one who may not be easily bullied by Iowa or New Hampshire. There is a big country of Republicans who don’t get listened to because these tiny little groups of Republicans get all the attention and spin.

    1. I think most people are ready for some straight talk from a Republican. That’s going to require the kind of guy who,

      1. Understands the Platform, and
      2. Can effectively defend and make the case for the Platform

      It’s been a long time since we’ve had a leader capable of doing that.

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