I really can’t stand quoting Ann Coulter, but I’ll hold my nose and do so in this case. When she said “If you don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we’ll lose,” she was, for once, actually on target. She is usually all about propaganda or shock talk to sell her books, but in giving her opinion on that particular topic, she expressed not only her own opinion, but that of most Republicans.
Republicans love Love LOVE(ed) them some Chris Christie. They were frothing at the mouth in their hopes that he’d run for president in 2012. I can remember my Republican friends on Facebook playing “eeney meeney miney moe” with the GOP primary candidates and sighing wistfully as they said “They’re still saying Christie might run….” He did consider a run, but made the decision to remain the governor of New Jersey in spite of Chris Wallace of Fox News literally begging him to run. “I have a state to run. I love New Jersey,” he said.
He was, in fact, probably the GOP’s only solid hope. Even I can see that. Had they put him up alongside Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and the disgrace to my state, Rick Perry, the GOP would have had a somewhat credible candidate. Christie is still Republican, so ewwwww, but he’s not as much of a sideshow freak as the rest of the contenders were.
At any rate, his solid endorsement of Mitt Romney, and his keynote speech (which was really all about how awesome Chris Chrisie was) at the Republican National Convention earned him a spot as the GOP’s Golden Boy for a while.
In Christie’s own words at the convention:
“I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved. Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity is fleeting and that this country’s principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times.” (NPR Transcript)
Well, Chris Christie’s popularity definitely was fleeting, and he’s not even getting any love, and won’t if he doesn’t turn things around. His common sense approach to issues and the normal reactions that show he’s actually a semi-decent human being aren’t suitable for today’s Republican party.
He already had many flaws in the eyes of the GOP, including being “pro-life with exceptions,” saying that homosexuality is not a sin, having a pragmatic approach to immigration, accepting gay civil unions, saying that people are causing climate change, and considering kooky ideas like green energy and wind energy. In spite of all that, they still enjoyed a camaraderie with him and rode the waves of his popularity with the Republican base. But he’s recently done some things that have crossed the line as far as the GOP is concerned.
How Christie has betrayed the GOP:
- He actually did his job. It started with Hurricane Sandy. When his state was devastated, he surprised us all by being completely non-partisan and working side by side with President Obama, even though he had previously said “If you’re looking for leadership in America you’re not going to find it in the Oval Office.” The timing couldn’t have been worse for the GOP. Just days before the presidential election, their golden boy ignored Mitt Romney and heaped praise upon the president, and was very appreciative of the president’s “leadership, caring, concern and interest.”
- He refused a photo-op with Mitt Romney days before the election.
- He spoke out against Speaker of the House John Boehner and other congressional Republicans, because they were remiss and negligent in passing much-needed Sandy aid.
- He got in bed with one of the biggest enemies: a union. Specifically, the Newark Teachers Union. Christie signed a merit pay contract with the Newark Teachers Union to provide performance bonuses, and then had the audacity to appear on MSNBC with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
- He accepts science. Misguided people like to hang out with other misguided people. Christie knows that the climate is changing and that humans are causing it.
- He said the words that make the GOP gasp: raise taxes. He warned New Jersey residents to expect tax increases to help fix the damage done by Hurricane Sandy.
- He actually thinks some gun control might be pretty cool.
- And the icing on the cake? He slammed the NRA for targeting President Obama’s children in a recent ad.
When Christie worked with President Obama in the days following Sandy, he basically ignored Romney. Many believe that his actions, however positive they may have been, damaged any chance (ha) that Mitt Romney had of securing the election. None other than Rupert Murdoch tweeted that if Christie didn’t “re-declare for romney,” he could “take blame for next four dire years.”
It wasn’t just Murdock who spoke out against Christie’s cooperation with the president. His GOP constituents and nutjobs around the country were calling him a “traitor.”
As reported by one of our writers, small Tea Party factions such as the New Jersey Bayshore Tea Party reflect the overall Tea Party’s overall opinion of Christie at the moment. Shortly after Hurricane Sandy devastated the state, they actually said on their Facebook page that:
Governor Christie has decided that in an attempt to repair our state, he put our country in jeopardy. He is responsible for a bump in the polls for Obama. I will never forgive him for that and will make it my business to campaign for an alternate candidate.
Please, when you are able, call his office, tweet him, Facebook him and let him know if you feel the same way. The Tea Party helped him get elected and the Tea Party can get him unelected. If you haven’t been online or watching t.v., Christie has been praising Obama like a schoolgirl because he wants Romney to lose. We will talk about that soon. Maybe all of you don’t agree with this, but personally, I will be on a mission.
And as bad as I hate to do it, I have to acknowledge Rush Limbaugh because he has the ear of most of the GOP base:
“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has decided to play the role of a Greek Column today for President Obama,” Limbaugh said, accusing the governor of effectively aiding the president’s electoral chances. “Obama and Chris Christie will tour the Jersey shore. Who lives on the shoreline? That’s exactly right, the 1% live on the beach.” (Mediaite)
As recently as January 18, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared on The Laura Ingraham Show and attacked Christie for his criticism of the NRA and grandstanding on Hurricane Sandy aid. He came right out and said that it would hurt his chances of getting support for the Republican primaries.
“You have some Republicans backing down like Christie backing down and criticizing the NRA, and I think that doesn’t do any good.”
Paul thinks the NRA attack by Christie was politically calculated.
“I think he may be solidifying his support with Democrats in New Jersey and maybe liberal Republicans.” He further added, “I think criticizing the Second Amendment movement and the over-the-top ‘give me my money’ stuff, ‘I want all sixty billion now or I’ll throw a tantrum,’ I don’t think that’s going to play well in the Republican primary.” Paul concluded with “I think people need to think through what their position on these things are.”
Is that a threat? Sounds like one to me. My interpretation of Rand Paul’s interview: Play the game, big guy, or you can forget a future in national politics.
During the wake of the Newtown massacre, the NRA predictably went into full attack mode and even crossed boundaries that have shocked the most adamant conservatives. In a three-minute video, Christie slammed the NRA and called their ad that targets President Obama’s children “reprehensible.”
“To talk about the president’s children or any public officer’s children who have — not by their own choice, but by requirement — to have protection and to use that somehow to try to make a political point, I think, is reprehensible,” Christie said. He added: “I think it’s awful to bring public figures’ children into the political debate. They don’t deserve to be there. And for any of us who are public figures, you see that ad and you cringe. You cringe because it’s just not appropriate to do that, in my opinion.”
It’s well known within the GOP that if you want to be included in their elite group and have a shot at Republican primaries, you have to play their games, and that includes not pissing off the NRA.
One GOP strategist spoke on condition of anonymity and said, “I think that Gov. Christie in his comments has made it plainly clear that he has no intention of pursuing higher office in the Republican Party.” A New Jersey strategist added “Nationally, it certainly isn’t going to help. However, I remain unconvinced he is interested in running in ’16.” (Washington Post)
Republican consultant Jon Lerner thinks that Christie is focused on his more immediate future in politics.
“To whatever extent he might be making a political calculation, he is smartly focused on 2013 New Jersey general election voters. That’s what he should do,” Lerner said. “If he runs for president in 2016, he will have plenty of time to adjust to the needs of the national Republican primary electorate.”(Washington Post)
Could it be that Christie is attempting to appeal to the disillusioned GOP base by being outspoken and “real?” His political adviser Mike DuHaime said:
“Most people would rather have an authentic leader who says what he believes than a politician who says nothing because he is afraid of offending one group or another.”
Christie doesn’t get a gold star from liberals for being decent. Like I tell my children, don’t expect praise for doing what decent people should do in the first place. As liberals, we tend to get all gushy and welcoming when we feel someone has “seen the light.” So, indeed Christie gets a nod of appreciation, a smile, and an acknowledgement. But a fabulous article written by my senior editor puts it all into perspective. We can’t ever forget who we are as liberals. So Chris Christie gets his nod of appreciation…and that’s it. He did his job, and that’s more than most Republicans do. Thanks.
Just remember that he IS a Republican and his Republican colors will always show. As if to remind us all of this, a month after the presidential election, he vetoed a bill that would establish a healthcare exchange that would help small business owners and individuals in their efforts to find more affordable rates. We haven’t forgotten his stance on the issues that we hold dear. We haven’t forgotten his temper tantrums.
The GOP colleagues are clearly not happy with him. If he doesn’t play nice with the big dawgs, he won’t have a future in national politics. And that’s fine with us.
I am an unapologetic member of the Christian Left, and have spent a lot of time working with “the least of these” and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. I’m passionate about their struggles. To stay on top of topics I discuss, subscribe to my public updates on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me via LinkedIn. I also have a grossly neglected blog. Find me somewhere and let’s discuss stuff.