New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has made a name for himself recently for calling out some of the more radical members of the Republican party. Most recently he had a week long “feud” with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, one of the more vocal (and controversial) prominent Republican members of Congress.
And while I’ve enjoyed seeing a Republican call out the more right-wing radical members of his party, I’ve warned people to be very careful about Governor Christie’s motives.
His actions often remind me of the old saying, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” He seems like a smart man who knows that Republicans stand no chance at winning back the White House if extremists like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are going to be the representatives of the party’s values.
Well, after reading a few of his comments he made during his speech at the RNC meetings today in Boston, my instincts about Christie’s motives were more or less confirmed.
First there are his comments about his dealings with New Jersey’s teachers’ unions and what he interpreted as his two options for dealing with them on pension reform in his state:
“You got two choices as a governor. You either sidle up next to them and whisper sweet nothings in their ear or try to hope they don’t punch you. Or your second alternative is you punch them first.”
This comment, by witness accounts, was met with enthusiasm by most of the 200 state GOP chairmen.
But of course they were enthusiastic. Nothing quite like talking about “punching” the teachers’ union when you’re trying to strip teachers of their benefits. They’re “overpaid public employees” anyway, right? Isn’t that what many Republicans have called teachers in the past? Isn’t that how the Republican party treats teachers in this country?
But his comments about “winning” basically confirmed what I already figured was the case as it relates to the New Jersey Governor:
“For our ideas to matter we have to win. Because if we don’t win, we don’t govern. And if we don’t govern all we do is shout to the wind. And so I am going to do anything I need to do to win.”
And I absolutely believe him.
I think Governor Christie is smart enough to see the writing on the wall that the current radicalism that’s taken over the Republican party has no chance at appealing nationally. And while it might sound nice to see a Republican calling out his own, his intentions behind these remarks seem more calculated to purposely seem more moderate in an attempt to appeal to voters nationally.
Because it’s clear Christie has 2016 Presidential aspirations and knows no GOP candidate stands any chance publicly carrying on with radical political stances such as those taken by other possible 2016 candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.
And his seemingly calculated public political maneuvers should worry Democrats.
While all politicians shape their beliefs based on what they feel might serve them best to get elected, Christie seems particularly callous. Especially when you consider his speech at the RNC last summer seemed more like a Presidential campaign speech for himself rather than an endorsement of then candidate Mitt Romney.
Christie has seemed to go out of his way to make calculated moves to appear moderate and level-headed—especially on national issues such as Hurricane Sandy relief and the aftermath following the storm. Yet his comments at the RNC summer meetings (meetings that the press isn’t allowed access to) show a skillfully maneuvering man who clearly states, without question, his intentions.
He wants to win—and he’ll say or do anything to put him in that position.
And anyone who will say or do anything to win, is someone who can’t possibly be trusted.