NBC announced on Wednesday that Chris Christie has been tapped to deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in August. The GOP has yet to confirm NBC’s announcement but if the rumors are true it would be a boon to Christie’s political aspirations.
The coveted keynote spot has always served as a potential jumping off platform for rising stars in politics. Barack Obama, a little-known candidate running for Senate, was catapulted into the national spotlight when he delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Just four years later he was elected to the highest office of the country.
Christie is arguably a good choice for the keynote role and is more well-known now than Obama was in 2004. Despite New Jersey’s traditional Democratic leanings and Christie’s recent outbursts, his favorability rankings are still high. He was one of the early backers of Romney and has since drummed up support and dollars for the campaign.
Christie is often criticized for his emphatic and temperamental leadership style but this would actually play well at the convention. The keynote is meant to “fire up the band”; Christie’s passionate embrace of the conservative cause and his emphatic speaking style is sure to ignite a flame or two in the GOP’s base. And while his bellicosity may anger those on the left, his authenticity, intelligence and quick wit could win over those oh-so-important independents.
For those hoping for a Romney-Christie ticket this fall, the news is likely to be a disappointment given traditionally the keynote speaker is not the vice-presidential nominee; however Christie serves the GOP better as keynote than VP. He is still too rough around the edges and abrasive to be in the number two slot on the ticket.
The one downside to Christie as keynote is the inevitable and unending barrage of fat jokes that will ensue following the convention.