November 11, 2013

Chris Christie's conservatism - chicken and egg

Chris Christie looks to be becoming the Republican juggernaut candidate the left would like him to be.  The sense of his impending primary victory has become as palpable in the media as the impending Hillary Clinton presidency.  Maybe on paper that's how it looks, but as Politico points out in a discussion with Gov. Rick Perry, there will be a discussion about Christie's conservatism when the time comes.

Christie meanwhile is trying to make the argument that he isn't as un-conservative as some would have you believe;
Mr. Christie spent much of his time responding to claims by some Republicans—including tea-party favorites—he is a moderate who couldn’t replicate his success on the national stage. Mr. Christie emphasized his record as a political deal maker who won passage of conservative measures in New Jersey, saying he worked with Democrats in the state legislature to cut business taxes and overhaul teacher tenure provisions.

“We did all this in a bipartisan way working across the aisle and getting things done,” Mr. Christie said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That’s what people across the country I think want as well.”...

Mr. Stephanopoulos pointed out Mr. Christie accepted the expansion of Medicaid in his state under Mr. Obama’s health law, providing ammunition for potential rivals such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas).

“Here’s what makes me different than a lot of these other guys: I’m going to do what I think is right for the people who elected me,” Mr. Christie said. “And a lot of these folks are always trying to put their finger in the wind and see which way the wind is blowing that day.”
His counterpoint will become part of the discussion as to his conservatism as well.  The real problem for voters is the chicken and egg nature of Christie's conservatism or non-conservatism.  Is he a liberal who ran as a Republican in a liberal state but won on populism and governed as a 'moderate'?  Or is he a conservative who is being forced to govern as a moderate and occasional liberal in order to survive and be effective in a clearly liberal state?  In fact, he could be a liberal, masquerading as a Republican who wants to govern as a liberal and now has the opportunity (New York's mayor Bloomberg was a politician in that vein). The question of what really is Christie's level conservatism may ultimately be unanswerable if we are trying to look at his true intent.  It may come down to looking at his actions.  How he has governed can be viewed as pragmatic or it can be viewed as a betrayal as conservative values.  Assuming he decides to run for president, each voter will have to decide that for themselves.

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