It May Be Too Late for Chris Christie
The NJ governor may have missed his chance in 2012.
With headlines already labeling him a “faded Republican star” and noting his “long climb ahead,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at last announced his presidential bid this week, joining more than a dozen others vying for the title of Republican presidential nominee. But the former darling of national Republicans doesn’t face just an uphill battle; he faces the political equivalent of climbing Mount McKinley.
After swinging his way into the national limelight in 2009 on the strength of his personality and the hope that came with his win in a blue state, Christie is now banking almost exclusively on the former to carry him to the RNC convention. Indeed, at his kickoff speech in New Jersey, he stood under signs reading, “Christie 2016: Telling It Like It Is,” and he pledged, “You’ll get what I think whether you like it or not, or whether it makes you cringe or not.”
Well, some of Christie’s ideas may, indeed, make conservatives — the powerhouse of Republican primaries — do just that.
On Second Amendment rights, for example, Christie’s record is concerning. In the mid 1990s, he supported the federal “assault weapons” ban; in 2009, he said he “opposes attempts to permit conceal carry laws in New Jersey,” and more recently, he expressed support for the state’s one-gun-per-month law. Ironically, immediately before announcing his presidential bid, he suddenly found his inner NRA member and moved to loosen New Jersey’s ridiculously strict gun laws. Pardon our skepticism.
Then, there’s education. In 2013, Christie promised to “lead the charge” on implementing Common Core, the disastrous standards that forced students to determine 2+2=4 by way of a Latin corn maze. In May, however, he announced the standards are “simply not working.” Ya think?
When it comes to immigration, Christie vehemently opposes building a border fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, discounting its efficacy. Instead, he aims to combat illegal immigration by targeting employers who hire illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, last year he signed a law allowing certain illegal immigrants in New Jersey to pay in-state college tuition rates. Nothing like disincentivizing illegal immigration.
Lest the Garden State’s leader forget the environment, Christie has bought into the “science” (ahem) of anthropogenic global warming and the need for government intervention, although, unlike the current White House occupant, he still believes the Islamic State poses a greater threat.
And on the economy, although Christie burst on the scene with promises to fix New Jersey’s fiscal crisis, more than five years later, the promised boom has gone bust. The state also remains in financial disarray, a reality that hardly elicits confidence in his ability to take the helm of a nation that now carries more than $18 trillion in national debt. Of course, he is dealing with a Democrat legislature and there’s only so much he can do.
Granted, Christie does hold several views that will rightly draw conservative cheers, such as his pro-life stance (despite accusations to the contrary, his change of heart 20 years ago over abortion has yet to be proven false) and his bold willingness to propose reforming the sacred third rail of Social Security and Medicare.
But given his now-abysmal poll numbers — even The Donald bests him — his decidedly RINO views on key issues and his inability to assure anyone that he won’t exact school yard vengeance on those who cross him, Christie should have declared his candidacy long ago. After all, he needed a running head start to even come close to being a strong contender.