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Republican Governor of the great state of New Jersey gave the keynote speech to the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay Florida this evening. There was basically two opinions of the speech, and they are not really mutually exclusive.

On one side you had the opinion of people like Rachel Maddow who called the speech:

"The greatest act of political selfishness I've ever seen. This was Christie's acceptance speech for the nomination in 2016."
And on the other side you had people like Chris Matthews and Tom Brokaw who deemed it a "Barn Burner" with a hint of "Winston Churchill." The correct answer could in fact be both. Barn Burners are not always a good thing in the grand scheme of things, especially if your goal is to represent, showcase and ultimately sell the candidate being nominated.

In that regard I think Chris Christie failed. Follow below the orange cloud thingy for more.

First let's just get the obvious out of the way.

Chris Christie was channeling South Parks Eric Cartman, not Winston Churchill. Churchill was gruff, but he was also charismatic. He had a quick witt and a dry but charming sense of humor. He could take an insult and make it sound like a compliment. People either agreed or disagreed with his conduct and his policies, but as a historical figure he is very likable. If he was a fictional character he would be a classic, a fan favorite even.

Chris Christie is not. Just had to get that out of the way.

Instead he was rude, gruff, mean spirited and not at all gracious toward the candidate and his wife, the party as an establishment or the audience who had gathered to hear him speak. It is unusual for instance for a speaker to not at all acknowledge the person who held the podium before him. Especially when that person was more of less the most important speaker of the evening. In this case Ann Romney. He did not thank her. He did not say good job. He even contradicted the main theme of her entire speech.

Second while he may have fired up the base he didn't do a very good job of selling Mitt Romney to Americans. Perhaps this was not his goal. It can be argued that since the major networks were not covering the convention today, and since the majority of people will read about his remarks in tomorrows papers, or see small sound bites on tomorrows morning shows, he could spend the entire speech talking about himself to the diehards, letting the media do the job of plucking out the few tidbits of Romney support for mass consumption.

Which of course raises the question about why Chris Christie would want to make himself the centerpiece of the keynote address of the 2012 Republican National Convention. The obvious answer is Christie knows what we all know.

Mitt Romney is going to lose.

Even if Christie doesn't want to admit this he was at least acknowledging as much with that speech. This was a speech that was all about Christie. Chris Christie was admitting Republican defeat by casting himself as the best man to run for President in 2016. Essentially Chris Christie was trying to pull an Obama. He wanted to get up there in front of the GOP and make a name for himself so that he could run in 2016 as the guy who got the base fired up and ready to go.

In fact Chris Christie actually took a few points out of the Obama playbook. I actually thought he was going follow the Obama 2004 Convention Speech outline throughout his speech but he very quickly veered off course.

Obama started his 2004 speech by proclaiming and I quote:

Tonight is a particular honor for me because — let’s face it — my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father — my grandfather — was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

http://usliberals.about.com/...

Likewise Chris Christie took a very similar approach to the opening of his remarks:
This stage and this moment are very improbable for me. A New Jersey Republican delivering the keynote address to our national convention, from a state with 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans. A New Jersey Republican stands before you tonight.
Both speeches then go on to explain the history of the speakers parents and family. Both took advantage of the G.I. Bill for instance. But that is where the similarities end. Since the Christie Speech is still fresh in your mind, have a quick watch of then Senator Barack Obama's 2004 Keynote Address at the Democratic National Convention.

First off notice how quickly and effortlessly he praises Dick Durban, who spoke before him, and how swiftly he both makes the case for the Democratic Parties viewpoint and segways into a full throated endorsement of John Kerry as the man to lead us toward that vision. It takes Obama only 8 Minutes to tell his personal story, his view of what makes this country great and express his support for Senator Kerry. 8 Minutes.

I am not sure of the exact time, as it seemed to drag on and on forever but it was certainly more than 20 minutes into Chris Christie's speech before Mitt Romney was even mentioned. I believe it was Rachel Maddow who said it was over 1800 words into a 2600 word speech before Mitt Romney's name was even mentioned. As fleeting of a mention as it was.

For those tuning in randomly, it would appear as though the party had just nominated Chris Christie for President. Not only did Barack Obama get to the endorsement of our candidate quickly and effortlessly, making it all part of one overall theme of competing visions and priorities for the nation, but he did so while still making a name for himself in the process. Obama came across as idealistic, likeable and most importantly Presidential.

Which is exactly the target Chris Christie missed. On top of drawing attention away from Mitt Romney, Christie managed to hog the spot light for himself, undermine the entire theme of Ann Romney's "humanizing" speech and perfectly represent the ugly, red faced rage of the modern GOP to any curious independent voters who may have tuned in.

In fairness I am not very thrilled about the prospect of Bill Clinton San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro being Obama's Keynote Speaker when the campaigns motto all year has been "Forward." We really ought to be putting the next generation of leaders forward. That said if any Democrat had ever given a speech like Christie's it would be seen as a mutiny against the party and reported as such.

Chris Christie's should be reported no differently.

*Note: Thanks to Economides in the comments for pointing out my misunderstanding of the DNC schedule.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I immediately you-tubed Obama's speech... (10+ / 0-)

    too becuase i didn't remember him mentioning Kerry either but that is what 8 years will do to you.  It sure seemed like Christy just took Obama's outline, figuring "hey, it worked for him" and changed a few words...up until the 8 minute mark, when Christy must have decided "too soon".  He was definitly running for 2016.  

    The more you learn the less you know.

    by quiet in NC on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 10:58:41 PM PDT

  •  I agree. (8+ / 0-)

    Nicely done, thank you.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Onomastic on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 10:59:43 PM PDT

  •  Watching It Now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Quicklund

    and am I confused or did at the start he said his dad got by on the GI Bill?

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:20:49 PM PDT

  •  Clinton is not this year's keynote ... (3+ / 0-)

    ... it is Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio.

    •  Really? I must have misunderstood. Changing now NT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      valadon

      We lose if we choose to forget; the lives of men, and money spent.

      by DeanDemocrat on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:51:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Julian Castro is awesome (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeanDemocrat, Wordsinthewind

      His twin is running for Congress.  JC went to Stanford and Harvard.  He's brilliant.  Won his 2011 election by landslide against four opponents --- yes, a five-way race and still won outright. I don't know how he'll do in terms of speech delivery but what I have seen of him is impressive.  Def. a rising star.

      I vote Democratic because I am a woman with self-respect , who rejects bigotry of all kinds, subscribes to science, believes in universal health care, embraces unions, and endorses smart internationalist foreign policy.

      by Delilah on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 12:10:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Was he talking about himself? I could not tell. (5+ / 0-)

    I couldn't find any theme really, besides erect strawman after strawman. All I heard was "they believe this".

    one time he said something like "all those Americans who worked so hard in the name of American ingenuity".

    Now, I've heard of people working hard to put food on the table, to support kinds, to pay for college, to make a fortune, and just because of a hard work ethic, but I have never heard of anyone working a 16 hour day in the name of enhancing America's reputation in the department of innovation.

    Yes, I have not seen my family for two months. And yes, my health is broken from working too many long hours. But damn it - no Frenchie will even be able to say Americans don't know how to flash-freeze pressed squid logs!

    Christie's speech seemed like an attempt to get as many strawmen and exciting buzz phrases into one speech. That the words actually mean something? Pfeh. What wold be the point of that?

  •  Brokaw is so annoying (7+ / 0-)

    It is almost as if he believes his purpose is to make sure Republicans aren't called out for the lunatics they are.

    I think Matthews was trying to make up for being mean the other morning so he somehow heard Churchill in Christie's speech.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 11:54:42 PM PDT

    •  Brokaw and other members of the "serious media"... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sunbro, john07801, sebastianguy99

      Want a horse race. Anything they can do to create a close election, or more likely the impression of a close race the higher ratings they get on election night.

      There is no suspense in a popular President winning a second term, in fact they lose half their audience if the conclusion is foregone. They need those Republicans to think their guy has a fighting chance.

      We lose if we choose to forget; the lives of men, and money spent.

      by DeanDemocrat on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 12:01:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To be fair Matthews was clearly evaluating for (4+ / 0-)

      effectiveness on a Republican audience. There was nothing in the speech that he said he personally liked.

      I thought Gregory was being too generous when he said that Christie was obviously implicitly criticizing his own party during the speech. Bullshit.  

      •  I agree. Talk about interpretive analysis. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sunbro, FiredUpInCA, sebastianguy99

        He was basically bending over backwards to make Christie seem fairer. There was no way in hell he stood in front of the RNC and denounced the very sort of partisanship he himself has been partaking in and making a name for himself with.

        Gregory used to be a decent anchor. Not sure what happened. Same goes for Chuck Todd.

        We lose if we choose to forget; the lives of men, and money spent.

        by DeanDemocrat on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 12:14:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Chuck Todd? (0+ / 0-)

          Where has this idea come from that Chuck Todd has ever been a decent anchor? He clawed his way to fame from being the go-to gee-whiz technobabble spewing assistant on election night to becoming a vapid talking head practically overnight just because people were so overimpressed with his ability to go "ooh" and "aah" and make up shit about statistics on the fly. He has no talent to speak of, his knowledge is basically on par with all the other Washington insiders, and he fawns and coddles like the majority of them.

          Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor. - John Dickinson ("1776")

          by banjolele on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 02:32:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Churchill? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99

      I look at Christie and I see jowls. Big waggling jowls. I'm fairly certain they both went for smoking cigars, too. Big waitlines, enjoyment of alcoholic beverages, expensive dining...

      Yeah, Christie does have some resemblance to Churchill. But, Christie is aligned with a party that doesn't believe in science and that it's patriotic to evade taxes while the infrastructure crumbles.

  •  Clinton is not Keynote speaker for DNC2012 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro, john07801

    Keynote is by Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio. They're doing exactly what you want, handing the floor a young politician for whom dreams may come true.

    That said, Clinton is undoubtably the second best Democratic speaker after Obama. I very much look forward to seeing him next week.

  •  Thanks for posting this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, Wordsinthewind

    I got irritated reading people claiming that Obama's keynote also focused on himself and that keynotes are a showcase for up and coming party stars.  More than one person on Daily Kos made that claim.  It didn't coincide with my memory of Obama's speech with did cover his background but then moved onto Democratic vision, national unity, and fulsome praise of John Kerry.

    I vote Democratic because I am a woman with self-respect , who rejects bigotry of all kinds, subscribes to science, believes in universal health care, embraces unions, and endorses smart internationalist foreign policy.

    by Delilah on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 12:07:57 AM PDT

  •  Rude, Crude & Thuggish..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro, IreGyre

    I liked Tony Soprano just fine on Sunday nights on TV.  That doesn't mean I want to see his mangy hide in the WH or on the international stage.

    Christie is full of himself.  His ambition took the place of his brain yesterday.  He got ahead of himself.....by about four years.  He blew his introduction to the country.  If he was smart, he would have faked it.  

    At the very least, he should have complimented Ann Romney.  

  •  with batshit-brained Queen Anne's (0+ / 0-)

    giggly, starry-eyed evocation to the spirits of "aren't I so wonderful, so my husband must be so wonderful too" along batshit-brained Chris or Christopher Christy or Christypher's evocation to the spirits of 2016.....

    what fluffed-up emptiness of rhetoric on both parts.  

    Just awful..... both of them......

    Seriously, I know that I could give a speech concerning the overflow of a toilet with more impact...... and they didn't invite me to speak there at the RNC......

  •  Every passing day increases the chances of a (0+ / 0-)

    major health problem wiping out Christie's 2016 hopes.

    That's a stark reality that none of the Republican strategists want to say out loud, but everyone knows it.

    Chicago--Proud Home of the 1907-08 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs

    by Jeff Y on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 01:13:59 AM PDT

  •  I Am Sorry. Going To Say It (0+ / 0-)

    a few years ago I was 100+ pounds. I think weight is a huge issue. Then I see Chrstie I can't stop myself from wondering.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 01:20:38 AM PDT

  •  I think Santorum is also running for 2016, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding

    hoping to harness "mainstream" Republican support by ardently promoting Romney's candidacy.

    I suspect Michelle Bachmann will also run (at God's request). Palin will likely give it a go, too - her last chance, however slim, to refudiate the lamestream media. Trump will seriously consider running again, and drop out again before bothering to assemble a staff. And of course Ryan will run for real, picking up support from some of the the Paul crowd.

    Mitch Daniels will be 2016's Tim Pawlenty - viable on paper but a snorer on the stump. Jeb Bush will test the waters, realize he's persona non grata in both parties, and flee.

    Ryan will win, being the least insane and therefore morst attractive to moneybags, and tap some older mediocrity as his running mate.

    Can't wait for Clownfest 2016!

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 01:20:47 AM PDT

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