Tuesday, March 1, 2011
- How Liberal Is Christie?
What do you call a guy who runs into a burning building? Answer... a hero. But what do you call a guy who runs into a burning building so people will think he's a hero? Answer... still a hero... probably. But it does at least raise a question or two about it.
There is no doubt that Chris Christie has run into the burning building of NJ's public finances. But since the events in Wisconsin, I've had a chance to hear him equivocate a little more on the issue. He's since said that he's in favor of 'adversarial collective bargaining'. But he won't do anything about the broken process that keeps it from being adversarial every time a union sponsored Democrat is elected in the state. And since the government employees give any union sponsored Democrat a 17% advantage in statewide elections, that happens most of the time.
His fiscal actions initially made him look to me (and everyone else) like the only sane man in the Trenton insane asylum, but in light of what they look like compared to a real free market conservative in Wisconsin, he's looking a little weak kneed. He's not standing on this issue from a position of 'principle' as others have done, but from a position of 'pragmatism'. This will no doubt help him at the Newark Star Ledger, and the IBEW meeting halls, but it's not the position you would hope for from a devoted 'conservative'. And then there are his positions on the other 'hot button' national issues'.
He's pro-life, at least on paper, but he's still hyperbolically anti-gun. And he bandies about the 'comprehensive immigration reform' nonsense a little too easily for my taste. The critics of his local policies have been constant and a little wacky, which has actually helped him be seen as a lucid Conservative from a blue state. But in the end, he's still from a deeply blue state where the citizens are thought of more as subjects than elsewhere in the country. (Remember, this is a place where 7 of 11 jurors polled think Jimmy Carter is America's greatest Ex-President.)
He may not be the purely establishment Republican I feared he would, but he's no conservative when measured on the national scale. And when it comes time for him to run nationally, that's the field he'll be playing on. He's got plenty of charisma - no doubt. And he's basically smart. He's won national acclaim by looking like a real conservative, but listening to him lately, it looks like he hasn't learned anything from that.
As we ponder whether he's suited to a national role, the question really is how liberal is Christie? And I'm afraid the answer is 'too liberal' for most of the country.