Chris Christie deserves respect from Republicans
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 23:02
Somewhere there is a wildly popular and successful Republican governor who will easily win re-election in an incredibly blue state, and for some reason the conventional wisdom is that he is not going to have a future in the Republican Party.
Who am I talking about? Chris Christie, of course.
Chris Christie was at one point considered a strong potential presidential candidate and more recently a strong potential vice presidential candidate. His moderate politics and visceral everyman appeal would have made him a formidable candidate, and might have helped offset the elitist and out of touch stereotypes about Mitt Romney.
Where did it all go wrong? It appears to have started with Hurricane Sandy. New Jersey was hit hard by the hurricane, and Christie welcomed the President’s help with open arms.
The theory is that his embrace of the President and the positive bump that Obama got from Sandy were Christie’s fault, and therefore Christie was to blame for Romney’s loss.
This is ridiculous. First, if Romney’s support was so weak that it could be lost by a hurricane, he wouldn’t have won anyway. Second, Christie was doing what governors are supposed to do: looking out for the interests of their own state above all else.
Frankly, that Christie puts his own job responsibilities above party politics should make him someone with a viable national future. We need people who aren’t beholden to the political interests of their party.
That doesn’t mean we need someone who disagrees with the party on policy, but someone who isn’t afraid to upset the party establishment or go against the interests of the powerful people within their party.
This is not meant as an endorsement of Chris Christie’s potential campaign in 2016, not in the least. But this is a call for conservatives to remember why they fell in love with Christie in the first place.
Chris Christie managed to get conservative reforms through the public sector union system in New Jersey while dealing with a heavily Democratic legislature. He speaks in a way that makes these reforms seem like common sense, and has no trouble calling out the media or anyone else for bending the truth. He’s a relatable, likable guy skilled at the art of explanation.
So Christie may or may not have much of a future in the national Republican Party. He’ll be named chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association next year. He’ll be re-elected easily in the deep blue state of New Jersey. He’s such a strong candidate that he’s scared off all the strong potential Democratic challengers.
Politicians shouldn’t be black-listed by the party simply because they accepted help from the president of the other party in a time of need. Doing that doesn’t make him a bad Republican, it makes him a good governor. Let’s not blacklist him for that.
Keene is a junior majoring in political science, economics and public policy.