Christie to Paul: You’re Dangerous
Today in Colorado, Governors Chris Christie (NJ), Bobby Jindal (LA), Mike Pence (IN), and Scott Walker (WI) gathered at the Republican Governors Convention to talk about politics and the future of the Republican Party. During this meeting, Christie said, “This strain of liberalism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is very dangerous… You can name any number of people and Rand Paul is one of them.” Christie went on to say that the policies that came into place under President Bush and have persisted under President Obama have remained in place because they work – and he challenged those in the libertarian to come to New Jersey and confront the widows and victims of the 9/11 attacks. “These esoteric, intellectual debates – I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation… The next attack that comes, that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are going to be looking back on the people having this intellectual debate.”
Christie’s statements have shown the growing rift in the Republican Party – the sect that believes the constitution in the supreme rule of law, and the sect that believes defense is the supreme objective. It is hard to argue that the foreign policy of the United States in the past 20 years has been a golden idol; there have been many mistakes and many shortcomings. It is easy to pick an extreme in both camps and declare the other a blasphemy. What has happened since the tenure of Obama has been the radicalization of both camps. In short, those who propose a hawkish foreign policy have been attacked by the doves with relentless scrutiny, and those who propose a dovish foreign policy have been attacked by the hawks with relentless scrutiny. Gone are the days of agreed policy, such as that of the 1960s where the debates were over the means not the ends. Today, the fundamental debate has become one over the ends – what will Americas role in the next 100 years be, not HOW America will execute an agreed policy. There are many who want the United States to continue, if not accelerate their policies of intervention, and there is a growing number of people who believe the role of the United States should end and we should be ushered into a new age of isolation.
But, Christie did not approach this debate with the precision that he should have, and he has just, in a very brash and cruel way, alienated a large number of people he will need in 2016’s primaries. In the past half year, the headlines that have been grabbing the attention of the American people have been the headlines that show the war on terror has, over the past eight years, moved from being an overseas war to being a war waged on the American people themselves. The war on terror, under Barack Obama has become a war of containment – not of the jihadi terrorists, but of the American people’s liberty and individuality. Over the past few months, it has become clear that the federal government has increased their war on the American people via internet scrutiny. It is clear that the federal government has increased phone tapping. And, if is clear that the United States’ government has increased their use of drones over the American heart land. There is an increasing uproar over the growing tyranny of government. And THAT is what has had the libertarian forces up in arms.
Yes, there is a sect of the libertarian movement that believes the United States should be more withdrawn – but, there are many moderates who believe the power of government should be curtailed within the domestic setting. Instead of clearly defining his conservative foreign policy and embracing the libertarian domestic movement, Christie did neither – he embraced the policy of Obama and rejected the popular movement that is sweeping over the country. Today, the youth vote is almost completely in bed with the policies of the libertarian movement. But, at the same time, many of the libertarians have serious and invested interest only in the domestic movements, and are willing to debate the foreign policy and accept a more hawkish stance in return for a soft, liberal homeland.
Hard, embracive domestic conservatism will not win elections. Mitt Romney, a man with a center-right domestic policy lost the election because of just that – he was right of the center. In order for the Republican Party to have any standing chance, we must submit a candidate with pure, centrist domestic policies. Rand Paul represents a candidate with very popular domestic policies. And, if Christie wanted to defend his conservative foreign policy, he must have done so without blasting a very popular candidate, and stood by his convictions that he supports Bush’s and Obama’s policy as it stands. And, he should have been more careful with his comments on, or the lack there of, domestic issues. Right now, the American people, on both the left and right, are tired of the growing domestic scandal – to them, Washington is blemished, and their rights and the future of our Constitution are at risk.
Christie has just turned the Republican Primary on its head by going against everything that the current has been recommending. Today, he defended the domestic tyranny of the administration by lambasting one of its loudest and most popular critics, while he embraced the Obama foreign policy – one that has allowed a terror attack in Fort Hood and a bombing in Boston, while setting the Middle East on fire and putting our country at increasing odds with Russia and China. The statement was either a wonderful blunder or a horrible platform change for the increasingly isolated Chris Christie. Primary voters are still very bitter over Christie’s embrace of Obama in the final weeks of the campaign following Hurricane Sandy. Primary voters are still angry at Christie’s criticism of the conservative House, when they shot down the pork-filled Sandy Relief Bill. In short, Christie has already become, in the final weeks of the 2012 election, extremely unpopular with the right – and, in this past year, with his appointment of centrist Jeffrey Chiesa in the Senate (who voted for the Gang of Eight’s “amnesty bill”) and increasing popularity with New Jersey’s left-wing funders, Christie has become almost unrecognizable.
Governor Christie has put himself in a very uncomfortable position, and he has put himself at a huge disadvantage for the 2016 primary. This is all being done to help him win re-election in New Jersey – and, if that is the case, it will only continue to tarnish his national standing and paint him in a negative do-anything-to-win light. Christie, if he wants to win the nomination in 2016 has to change with the times – he must embrace the libertarian domestic approach. By doing so, he will be free to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy. The Republican lost the 2012 election because we were not willing to change with the times, and did not realize that to have a conservative domestic policy, we needed to have a dovish foreign policy and vice versa. The United States is in a transitional period and must be guided back to a Reagan-eque policy softly and gradually. As the generation of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party continue to make headway, and find common ground on the domestic issues, the debate over foreign policy will become easier and more practical. It will be easier to determine our ends abroad only after we get our affairs in order here at home – and, by the feel of the winds, our domestic policy is going to become more libertarian.