During last night’s New Hampshire debate, Chris Christie continued his condescending bashing of the U.S. Congress and his fraudulent claim that Marco Rubio is not ready to be President. To refute Christie’s claims that Rubio is not ready for the presidency, let’s consult Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution; something Christie should be familiar with but has shown disturbing ignorance of during his campaign.
This article grants Congress numerous powers including the power to declare war, borrow money, regulate foreign trade, the power to regulate money, support the military, and make laws necessary to carry out executive branch policies. Section 7 of his article also gives Congress the power of the purse. Now we can debate until we are blue in the face how well or poorly Congress has carried out these responsibilities historically and today, but the reality of at least theoretical congressional importance and strength cannot be denied. In addition, the Constitution gives the Senate the power to confirm or reject presidential nominations to judicial office and cabinet positions and to approve or reject treaties with foreign governments and international government organizations. Anyone even partially familiar with the history of contentious debates over judicial nominees, cabinet secretaries, and treaties knows that Senators must sometimes take excruciating tough votes on these issues. Christie’s own problematic history of judicial nominees places serious doubts on his claims to consistently supporting conservative constitutional principles.
Governor Christie makes the fraudulent claim that Senators such as Marco Rubio do not make tough decisions and constantly debate issues. This is why the founders established Congress. They expected there to be contentious debate on public policy issues in Congress and in how legislation is formulated. They gave Congress the power of the purse to keep executive authority such as Presidents from arbitrarily spending taxpayer money without legislative consent. Members of Congress such as Senator Rubio and their support staff, have to make tough decisions and tough votes on governmental funding and policy priorities. They have to approve or reject budgets for government programs, determine whether war should be declared, intelligence committee members (such as Senator Rubio) provide feedback to intelligence agencies on whether certain covert operations should be carried out, be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of government programs over the spectrum of public policy issues, and approve funding for federal disaster declarations such as New Jersey received after 2012’s superstorm Sandy. Just as governors are held accountable for their decisions at subsequent elections so are U.S. Senators and Representatives. Governor Christie must have been asleep at the wheel when that was discussed in his high school American Government, undergraduate political science classes, or law school classes.
Christie’s outbursts against Rubio last night, which were also reflected in earlier anti-congress outbursts in preceding presidential debates, may reflect his frustrations dealing with a Democratic controlled legislature in New Jersey. He may also have experienced frustration with Congress during his tenure as New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney. They may also reflect autocratic tendencies which will serve him and the nation poorly should he become President. Individuals elected to the presidency throughout U.S. History, have come from legislative backgrounds and from governmental executive backgrounds such as Governor. The success or failure of individual presidents has more to do with their communication, management, political skills, personal judgment and worldview then whether or not they have the “right” kind of experience in the views of hyperbolic governors.
Barack Obama has been a failed president because of his flawed political and moral world views in which he chooses to believe America is a nation responsible for more evil than good and for his rejection of time-honored and empirically proven Judeo-Christian values. His experience as a U.S. Senator, prior to his election, has only minimal effect on his abysmal presidential performance. In contrast, Marco Rubio’s world view and intellectual and political judgment are grounded in the belief that America is an exceptional nation which has produced far more good than evil in world history, and is grounded in a strong Christian faith and a strict constructionist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Despite some rhetorical stumbling and repetitive aspects in his initial debate exchange with Christie last night, Marco Rubio represents the best aspirations of America and understands how to deal with the domestic and international challenges threatening the U.S.
Unlike Christie, Marco Rubio understands that being a successful American president requires intimate knowledge of how the U.S. Congress works and doesn’t work and a willingness to respect Congress’ constitutional prerogatives which Barack Obama and Chris Christie do not. On Tuesday, New Hampshire GOP voters must remember these realities and not be seduced by the bogus claims of leadership and machismo espoused by Donald Trump and Chris Christie and others who falsely believe that governors or strong bombastic rhetoric are superior qualifications for being elected President than being a U.S. Senator.