GOP 2016 Frontrunner Chris Christie Bullies a Constituent at a Rally — Again

Pundits all seem to agree that when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wins reelection today, he will automatically become the Republican frontrunner for the presidency in 2016. That may be so, but most of these pundits live in the Northeast where a sarcastic, bullying style, of which Christie is the examplar, is part of everyday life.

To live in the Tristate Region is to deal with bombastic, aggressive smart asses at every turn — at the DMV, the supermarket checkout, at work and behind the wheel. This is the world in which the political opinionistas live. The fact that their lives are filled with blowhards like Christie blinds them to the fact that the bully-boy persona that is so common in the Northeast is considered ridiculous and repulsive outside the region.

To Southerners, the sort of sweaty, hyper-aggression Christie displays equates to the very worst Yankee stereotype. It is also off-putting in the Midwest, where a premium is placed on being nice, and in the West, where politicians who do not affect a smooth, almost bland style are considered to be highly suspicious. (Yeah, lookin’ at you, Darrell Issa.)

During the 2010 governor’s race in California, Christie may have damaged Republican candidate Meg Whitman’s campaign when he hoisted his considerable self to the edge of the stage to berate a heckler, complete with finger-pokes in the air and the rest. That clip lead the local news up and down the state for a cycle or two and added to the Whitman campaign’s considerable woes.

Will Christie appeal to the GOP’s Southern base of neo-Confederate tea baggers? No. Will he appeal to Midwestern conservative moderates? Unlikely. Will he appeal to Western conservatives who expect a certain Reaganesque decorum from their candidates. Never.

But here’s the real question: Can Christie win New Jersey in a presidential race against a formidable Democratic moderate like Hillary Clinton? TBD. A recent Quinnipiac poll found Clinton leading Christie 49 to 36 percent nationwide.

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