Chris Christie accepts the nomination a bit early

The New Jersey governor spent basically no time talking about Mitt Romney. Sounds like he doesn't expect him to win

Topics: Republican National Convention, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, Keynote speech, 2012 Elections,

Chris Christie accepts the nomination a bit earlyNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar)

Chris Christie’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention referenced “Darkness on the Edge of Town” because the thing about Chris Christie is that he is from New Jersey and he loves Bruce Springsteen. His keynote speech was a lengthy tribute to the greatness of Chris Christie, who is not on the ballot this year. I think the idea is to replicate an Obama in 2004 moment, but that moment depends on the nominee losing.

Chris Christie spent basically no time talking about Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president. But I guess Ann had the “Mitt Romney is great” slot. Christie was the “the Republican Party is the inspiring party of big ideas” slot.

“We have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved,” said Christie. “Tonight we’re gonna choose respect over love.” I honestly don’t even understand what this riff has to do with this election, though it is pretty clearly an attempt to define the Christie brand. He is a speaker of hard truths. Americans are ready for The Truth. They don’t want to tell you The Truth. They want to be Loved, so They don’t tell The Truth to Seniors about our Entitlements, which need to be reformed for “the next generation” (not our current seniors). Hear The Truth about the Hard Road Ahead! Hard Tough Truths About Leadership! Stand Up For Hard Truths!

There’s obviously a weird contradiction between the “new American Century” talk and the “face up to the fact that we can’t spend money on things like education and infrastructure and entitlements” message but that’s just how Hard Truth-Tellers roll.

There wasn’t much red meat for the convention audience — no real invocation of the “we built this” bullshit the entire convention is petulantly built around — which just makes it even more obvious that Christie’s speech was aimed at the home audience. Christie isn’t actually a particularly inspiring speaker (he’s much better in his “I’m shouting at some jerk-off” mode. As David Rees pointed out on Twitter, his voice sounds oddly like that of comedian Dane Cook), but it was definitely the best speech of the night and probably will be the best speech of the convention.

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On page 6 of today’s “Convention Update” handout from the Weekly Standard and the Washington Examiner, a small magazine of conservative commentary handed out to convention-goers entering the Tampa Security Zone this morning, Fred Barnes extols the bravery and wisdom of former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis, a failed gubernatorial candidate who recently joined the Republican Party and endorsed Mitt Romney. Davis made his switch after a humiliating loss in a Democratic gubernatorial primary. The headline: “Hoping for a Change: What Artur Davis Learned About Obama.”

On page 7 of today’s “Convention Update” from the Weekly Standard and the Washington Examiner, David Freddoso has a piece with the headline “The Turncoat: A Man Who Doesn’t Believe in Anything.” It’s about Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida, who recently endorsed Barack Obama after a humiliating loss in a Republican U.S. Senate primary.

Artur Davis, competing with hurricane coverage on Tuesday night, quoted Gotye in his RNC speech, which was about how he doesn’t like Obama anymore.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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