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The Chris Christie Magic

I was just reminiscing about the halcyon era of a popular New Jersey governor whose brash style and Reaganite agenda took the Garden State by storm, proving that true conservative principles can win the day even in deep blue states. Come on the nostalgia tour with me, won't you? Here's Jennifer Rubin at Commentary:

The good news for Christie fans is that there are a few scraps suggesting that he hasn’t entirely closed the door on a 2012 run.  (”Christie’s actions aren’t those of someone who has ruled out a presidential bid.”) His staff’s YouTube videos, the trip to Iowa, and some whispers from his political confidantes are encouraging those in the GOP who are searching for Mr. Right.
But the premise underlying the piece is a bit off. The reason Christie has become a “star” is not because he’s captured the imagination of the “sane” wing of the party but because he transcends the divide (which is part real and part media-driven hype) between Tea Partiers and establishment Republicans. He combines serious governance with political theater. He’s got undeniable stage presence, but he’s also a serious budget wonk. He has no patience with political insiders, yet he’s learned to handle his opponents. And he’s become a master at disarming the liberal media without personal acrimony or a sense of victimhood.

Daniel Foster at National Review:

The administration is confident they have the best man to shape that discussion, and the ubiquity in the right-of-center blogosphere of YouTube videos showing Christie speaking eloquently, and extemporaneously, about his vision suggests they have it right.
“I don’t think you can underestimate the political capital the governor has accumulated in his first six months in office,” says Webber.
“The first six months were crucial for him to establish himself as somebody who’s willing to use the veto pen, someone who has a unified party behind him, someone who can rally the public to his point of view. And he’s shown all that. Now when the big fights come, he starts from a stronger position than he started from in February or March.”

Fred Barnes:

If the citizens of New Jersey like candor, Chris Christie is the governor they’ve been waiting for. 

And Matthew Continetti:

This is Chris Christie's moment. The New Jersey governor is touring the country in support of Republican candidates. He's taken on the public sector unions. He's made some hard calls. He speaks in a blunt, confrontational style. Yet he remains popular.

Guess what -- Christie isn't all that popular anymore:

As his first year draws to a close, New Jerseyans are split about Gov. Chris Christie’s job performance with a majority rating him only fair or poor, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released today. Only 39 percent of Garden State residents rate the governor’s job performance either excellent (17 percent) or good (22 percent), compared to 54 percent who rate him fair (26 percent) or poor (28 percent), and 6 percent who are unsure. Support is stronger among those who say they voted in the recent congressional election: 21 percent of voters rate his performance excellent, and 23 percent rate him as good. Another 23 percent say he is doing a fair job and 29 percent say he is doing a poor job, while 4 percent of voters are unsure.

Christie won in 2009 because he represented the out party during an economic and fiscal crisis. His ratings are going down largely because he's slowly coming to represent the status quo and the economy still stinks. I suspect the people who gushed over the wondrous popularity of his rude behavior are going to slowly figure out that openly bullying people is not, in fact, a magical strategy, nor is hard-line conservatism a secret formula for winning the hearts of Americans everywhere.