The Republican VP sweepstakes is heating up and a couple of names at the top of the list don’t appear to be doing anything to tamp down those expectations or rumors. First up, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told Kentucky Republicans on Saturday that President Barack Obama was “posing and preening” instead of working to resolve pressing issues facing the country.
“He is the most ill-prepared person to assume the presidency in my lifetime,” Christie told some 600 Kentucky Republicans at a Lexington hotel. “This is a guy who literally is walking around in a dark room trying to find the light switch of leadership.”
“He has sat in the Oval Office and cared more about posing and preening and making partisan politics the rule of the day in Washington D.C. than he’s cared about progress,” the New Jersey Republican, now in his third year in office, said of Obama.
Two different lenses through which to view these remarks. First, the analytical. It’s difficult to disagree with anything Christie is saying here. There’s no question that Obama was not prepared for the job he took on. Most Americans who were politically aware knew this at the time – some just decided to overlook it. Obama had never held an executive position either in the private or public sectors. He hadn’t even run a lemonade stand. But here he was, assuming the responsibilities of being the “leader of the free world.” Talk about audacity.
And to say that Obama struggles with the concept of leadership isn’t really that profound either. Leadership means taking controversial stands and leading people to believe like you with the power of your ideas. Obama has in one breath done all he can to avoid making difficult decisions – his legacy in his legislative career was voting ‘present’ on all the controversial pieces of legislation. But in the next breath he has made controversial decisions when it stands to profit him politically alone. It’s all the hallmarks of a guy who doesn’t understand leadership. Everything is done for show – that’s the posing and preening.
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The other lens to view this through is the political. This sounds like a speech given by a guy auditioning for a number 2 role on a presidential ticket. Of course, so does this:
Florida Senator Marco Rubio slammed President Barack Obama in a South Carolina speech delivered last night to a large gathering of Republicans.
“For all the policy disagreements that we may have with the president, it is hard to understate how much he inspired people across this country four years ago, with his promises to unite America and lift it up,” Rubio said about Obama, referring to his 2004 DNC speech and 2008 presidential run.
But, Rubio said, President Obama has changed: “The man who today occupies the White House and is running for president is a very different person. We have not seen such a divisive figure in modern American history as we have over the last three and a half years.”
"The president and his party’s view of America’s government and our lives is a failed one. It hasn’t worked. His ideas that sounded so good in the classrooms of Harvard and Yale haven’t really worked out well in the real world," said Rubio. "They get frustrated. They can’t win on their record, and so they’ve chosen to go down a different road, one that I think is destructive, counterproductive, and very unfortunate."
Rubio is right. And Rubio too is seen as a compelling option for Romney to choose as a running mate. Both Christie and Rubio have suggested they are not interested in the job – which is exactly what you would expect them to say if they were interested in the job. There are positives and negatives for both, but there’s one important thing to note about both: the negatives for neither of them would include an inability or unwillingness to bluntly articulate the epic failures of this administration. They aren’t the kind who will back down – and that’s precisely what a presidential candidate with a notorious reputation for being a flip-flopper will need.