Tonight, New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie is expected to cruise to an easy reelection in this solidly Democratic state which recently elected celebrity tweeter and incompetent Newark mayor Cory Booker to the U.S. Senate. Christie is a personality sparking strong opinions. In an age of politically correct rhetoric and namby pamby euphemisms, Christie’s bluntness is remarkably invigorating. He has shown an encouraging ability to appeal to demographic groups that are not instinctively conservative and this has produced much speculation that Christie may seek the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Let me start with the positives of a Christie presidency. His blunt realism and rhetoric will enable him to understand the hostile nature of international politics and give the American public straight and unvarnished rhetoric about the dangers our country will face from China, Iran, North Korea, and other geopolitical regions of concern. He will have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the world’s thugs and make decisive use of military force, even if that is unpopular domestically or internationally. I also appreciate his recent defense of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program which has detected and stopped many potential terrorist attacks against Americans and U.S. interests. It was nice to see him dismiss Rand Paul’s naive criticisms of this program.
Christie has achieved significant progress in improving New Jersey’s economic situation though much work remains. He has stood up to fiscally reckless unions and New Jersey has a chance tto improve its economic progress in his second term. A solid record of accomplishment here would further enhance his potential presidential aspirations. If he desires to become President, will he have the will to mercilessly bash Hillary Clinton’s abysmal record against the whining of her allies and place particular emphasis on the similarities between her ill-fated “health care reform” in 1993-1994, and the ongoing Obamacare fiasco? Also unanswered is whether Christie can take his brash New Jersey political rhetoric and make it appealing to those of us in the Midwest, South, Great Plains, and Far West who consider New Jersey an alien culture.
Christie also has problems which make his gaining the 2016 presidential nomination problematic. On social issues, he has shown a disturbing mushiness. He favors traditional marriage, but refused to fight the decision of a judge that makes same-sex marriage in New Jersey likely. More troubling was his pandering to the homosexual lobby by signing legislation prohibiting medical therapeutic treatment for individuals struggling with same-sex attractions. This is a blatant example of unwarranted government interference with the doctor-patient and parent-child relationship and weakens his ability to criticize Obamacare for its gross interference into personal medical matters. Obamacare will have been in place, in some form, for just over three years when the 2016 presidential election comes around and it is imperative that the GOP have an articulate candidate who can credibly criticize Obamacare while offering a compelling, affordable, and patient-focused health care alternative to Barack’s fiasco.
I am also troubled by Christie’s appointment of an Islamic judge to a state court position in New Jersey. Since the New Jersey and New York City area has been a stronghold for radical Islam since the early 1990s, one should be careful in looking at the judicial appointments a President Christie might make. Will they prefer Sharia law to the U.S. Constitution? Christie also used bad judgment in hugging President Obama after the President agreed to expedite disaster assistance to New Jersey in the aftermath of last year’s Hurricane Sandy. A hearty handshake and pat on the back would have been sufficient expressions of gratitude. Christie also did not do enough to campaign for Mitt Romney in New Jersey last year and his 2012 GOP keynote convention speech was to focused on his own accomplishments instead of promoting Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Christie has also shown distressing softness in his attitude toward illegal immigration as demonstrated by his support for giving illegal aliens in-state tuition rates at state universities. Some pundits have stressed that there may be problems with some appointments he has made though, given the ethical cesspool New Jersey politics can be, it is unrealistic to expect every political office holder in the Garden State to be a saint. Like many political figures, Christie does have a larger than life ego and his political judgment can be questioned as recently demonstrated by his decision to hold the U.S. Senate election to fill the late Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat a couple of weeks before his reelection so he wouldn’t have to share the spotlight. This egocentric attitude, may have cost solid conservative Steve Lonegan a chance to defeat the ethically challenged Obama mini-me Cory Booker and returned that Senate seat to the Democrats. Christie needs to look beyond his self-interest and try to advance GOP candidates across the country if he really has presidential aspirations. Think of what a couple of campaign speeches by Christie in Virginia could have done to boost Ken Cucinelli’s gubernatorial campaign which narrowly lost to Clintonista moneybag Terry McAuliffe.
I also sincerely hope for himself and his family that Christie will lose weight. Obesity is a significant public health problem and while I disagree with outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s hectoring nanny campaign against “fatty foods,” the fact remains that obesity produces significant financial strains on our public health system and national physical well-being. A prospective President actually has to look as healthy as possible.
Chris Christie is a strong leader who has unique personal attributes that could enrich this country. He also has significant political liabilities that may limit his ability to appeal beyond the northeast and east coasts of the U.S. If Christie is serious about seeking the presidency, he needs to reach out and listen to the concerns of social conservatives such as myself and recognize that there are economic and fiscal consequences for personal moral irresponsibility that affect government finances and the personal finances of individuals and families nationwide. He needs to show how his accomplishments in New Jersey can be applied nationally and help the U.S. restore fiscal solvency and produce a more efficient and responsive government. Christie should interact regularly with conservative groups and conservative Representatives and Senators from the Midwest, South, and Far West such as Indiana Senator Dan Coats, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, South Carolina Senator TIm Scott and Governor Nikki Haley, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Governor Scott Walker, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, South Dakota Senator John Thune, Utah Senator Mike Lee, Washington Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer, and others to see how he can effectively tailor his message and enhance his appeal to conservatives who are not from New England and the East Coast. Hopefully, conservatives from beyond the eastern seaboard and Christie can have mutually beneficial interactions that will bind up conservative wounds and make us ready to win in 2016 regardless of whether Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, or someone else is the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee.