Canada Free Press has posted advertisements soliciting opinions about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s run for President in 2016. This early straw-polling deserves serious consideration.
A Bush-appointed US Attorney, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took on the "Rock Star Conservative" mantle the moment he took office in Trenton following the 2009 upset against embattled (now embittered) incumbent Jon Corzine (displaced by Goldman Sachs, now disgraced by MF Global).
Facing massive pension obligations, Christie enacted reforms, taking down teachers in town hall meetings, who complained about their pay and no say in contractual negotiations
"You know what, then you don't have to do it." Christie rebutted one teacher, followed by grateful applause.
Another city library closures, Christie rebuffed:
"Unlike the federal government, we cannot print money."
Christie told it like it is, whether people liked it or not.
As a Republican Presidential candidate, he has merits. He's pro-life. For a “New England” moderate, that scores points with conservatives. He wants less government, lower taxes, and local control, which he announced in his first major press conference after his election. He forgot about cutting spending, but at least New Jersey now has the highest rating for corruption-busting. Christie has also stepped away from climate change as serious policy. A good sign, but then again, he refused to sign off on a gay marriage bill, allowing New Jersey voters to settle the issue by ballot. His populist moves popularized him, yet he candidly repeated "I am in lock-step with President Obama on this issue". Imagine a primary opponent repeating this disconcerting by-line.
In 2012, Christie called out California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown for raising taxes: “That guy's an old retread." Upstaging Romney, Christie delivered the Keynote speech at the Republican National Convention. To the convention he esteemed current entitlement recipients: "Our seniors will not bankrupt this nation for the future generation." He stood up to President Obama, saying: "Real Leaders change polls, not follow them."
Then Superstorm Sandy thrashed the Northeast (Hurricane Irene had already battered the New Jersey Coastline last year. President Barack Obama shouldered some leadership, and Christie praised him. NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch warned the governor to reaffirm his support for Romney. After the election, Christie exploded at the Republican House majority in Congress, in part because the North East waited interminably for assistance. In contrast to the natural disasters, Christie’s rhetorical thundering at the Republicans in Washington, specifically the House Majority, worried Republicans. The pork-laded bill would have granted millions to unaffected constituencies, in addition to Sandy-stricken states. Conservatives in the House did the right thing and rejected the bill.
Was Christie's bravado a brave attempt to shore up his party’s disparate caucus following their unexpected loss, as any leader would? In light of his other policy stances, Christie is working further his own, moderate ambitions. CPAC 2013 said "No thanks" to a Christie guest speech. This outcome handed Christie a win, since his reelection in two-to-one Democratic New Jersey can easily slip.
The non-invite also tossed “President Christie” a loss. The New Jersey governor is liberal on gun control, supports tighter restrictions, a moral non-starter. Crime rates are overwhelmingly high Newark and Trenton, where residents have even pleaded for the National Guard to reinstate law and order. Christie opposes gay aversion therapy. He has admitted to agreeing with liberal Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo "98%" of the time. Lately, Christie defended himself on Twitter, trying to back-pedal from his censorious comments against the House GOP for not passing the pork-laden Sandy-aid bill. Despite his attempt to explain away from this tweets, his double-dealing was unmistakable, and certainly not leadership.
Instead of changing the polls, Christie is following them, easing into a centrist position to maintain his reelection chances.
Conservatives touted Governor Christie's tough talk on cutting taxes and pork projects, including the billion dollar federal boondoggle transportation expansion between New Jersey and New York. He stood up to the public sector unions, whose meager contributions would would force the poorest as well as the business interests to pay more. He wants to pass a school voucher program, yet his tenure reforms were weak tea. He lowers taxes, but the spending spree remains unseemly, as he has elected to hold special elections in October to replace recently deceased Frank Lautenberg, one month before his own reelection. Wasted money and a wasted opportunity stand out, since Christie has appointed a three-month Republican place holder for the Senate seat, which will likely go to Democrat Cory Booker, instead of a cost-cutting conservative to maintain the seat for a year and a half, a move which might hurt his approval ratings.
Currently, Governor Christie looks like the moderate which the New Jersey Star-Ledger called him out to be. There's nothing wrong with being moderate based on principle, but Christie’s stance on certain issues, plus his rapport with Democrats, have diminished his conservative credibility considerably. Real leaders change polls, but now they have changed Christie. Conservatives had so much respect for the man. Now, not so much.
About a “Christie 2016” Presidential run, conservatives may have no choice but to say: