Chris Christie: A Conservative Myth - Intro
Lately, it has become fashionable among conservatives and Republicans nationwide to lavish effusive praise and encomiums upon Governor Chris Christie as the “Conservative Savior” of New Jersey - and this trend has begun to mushroom into a fervent cult of pseudo-personality that is already calling for him to throw his hat into the 2012 2016 Presidential campaign ring.
NOTE: This is the introductory post for an eight part series that was originally posted in October of 2010. As each part gets published, it will be linked in every other part - including this one. Before complaining that we have offered no proof for our assertions, please take a moment to examine the various posts that have been linked at the end of this post.
No less a luminary than Rush Limbaugh places Gov. Christie on his short list of putative contenders for the Oval Office.
If the polls are right and there is a conservative Republican landslide this week, Limbaugh will turn his attention to imposing the Limbaugh Rule in 2012. I recently asked him to rate a list of the leading aspirants—Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, and Chris Christie—on a scale of 1 (if this is the nominee, I’m moving to Costa Rica) to 10 (Reagan redux). In reply he gave Huckabee a 4; Pawlenty, Gingrich, and Romney 6’s; Barbour a 7. Palin and Christie each scored an 8.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…Chris Christie scores an 8… just two notches away from Reagan??!!
We at ConservativeNewJersey are left scratching our heads. (Let’s leave aside for the moment that the ordinarily astute Limbaugh passed over the likes of conservative stalwart Sen. Jim. DeMint). Are these people talking about the real Chris Christie - the one who actually occupies the Governor’s office in the Trenton State House…the one whose words and actions we have carefully followed for the past two years? THAT Chris Christie?
Not according to our facts and figures and the time has come to set the record straight.
Gov. Christie basks in the conservative limelight partly because the opposition party has veered so sharply to the left nationwide that it makes moderates and RINOs in the center look conservative by comparison. In a center-right country blighted by liberalism, people are hungry for true conservatism and to that end, Mr. Christie delivered the rhetoric: he talks a tough conservative ball game and is adept at crafting excellent soundbites for the television cameras. Translating those soundbites into actual policies, however, is an entirely different matter as we will explore in much greater detail throughout this series.
Christie’s popularity as a conservative can also be attributed to the echo-chamber effect of numerous conservative media pundits who are, for the most part, unaware of his actual record and take it upon themselves to promote him as a stalwart conservative for strategic political reasons. Like the electorate at large, these pundits hunger for conservative leadership at the top of the Republican Party, and of course the election of an ostensibly conservative Republican in Blue-State New Jersey lends powerful credence to the ‘Conservative Ascendancy’ narrative. Lately, however, the ‘image is everything’ myth that Christie has cultivated with carefully parsed rhetoric is beginning to unravel. The pundits who do their homework - like Mark Levin here and here - are catching up to the fact that Christie’s policies belie his rhetoric.
As it happens, many of Gov. Christie’s cheerleaders live outside of the Garden State and for the most part haven’t a clue to what really is going on here. If you are among that number - or even if you are a resident of New Jersey - we urge you to read this article first: it outlines in detail just how this state became a politico-economic basket case and who is responsible. During the primary and throughout the general gubernatorial campaign, Mr. Christie repeatedly pointed to myriad failures of previous administrations as the rationale for electing him Governor. Instead of a substantive or detailed plan of action for restoring the economy of the state, he offered vague generalities (”cut taxes across the board,” “eliminate wasteful spending,” etc.) and a torrent of conservative platitudes.
Other Christie supporters vaguely reference his tough talking stance on issues near and dear to the conservative heart while a (somewhat) informed few will refer you to the governor’s recent “Reform New Jersey” tour, based largely on the list of promises covering state finances, education, energy, ethics, cities and jobs that he posted on his website during the primary and general campaigns last year - promises that had about as much substance in 2009 as Barack Obama’s vague assurance of ‘Hope and Change’ did a year earlier.
To be sure, there were things he said and did that lend him a plausible conservative veneer - including the now famous YouTube videos in which he faces down an angry educrat at a town hall meeting and gives what-for to a snotty reporter at a press conference. He declined to re-appoint notoriously liberal state Supreme Court Justice John Wallace; he secured passage in the state legislature of a budget that he claimed cut spending by over $2 billion without raising taxes; he signed several health and pension benefits reform bills into law (including legislation requiring all public workers in New Jersey to pay at least 1.5 percent of their salaries toward their health care); he banned part-time employees from enrolling in the state pension system; he also secured a 2 % cap on property tax increases and just recently canceled the ARC Tunnel project for lack of funds.
On the other hand, there exists a growing list of words and deeds that cast him in anything but a conservative light:
- His budget passed only after three conservative Republicans were bullied into voting for it and the savings achieved in the budget were done at the expense of new taxes, new fees, federal Stimulus funds and accounting gimmicks; the 2% property tax cap will actually cause taxes to skyrocket; he has yet to propose the “across the board” tax cuts he promised as a candidate; the budget actually INCREASES state expenditures by 6% and the number of staff in the Governor’s office making $100,000 per year increases by ten;
- His confrontation with the unions is pure Kabuki theater with nothing accomplished but acrimony; he has yet to lay off a single state employee and his proposed 2011 state worker reduction plan is little more than window dressing;
- He has populated his cabinet with notorious liberals while firing the only true conservative - after slandering him;
- He has endorsed notorious RINO candidates in the 2010 mid-term election while avoiding (with one notable exception) contact with conservative candidates;
- He supports a multi-state Cap & Trade scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and is so committed to Cap & Trade that he used funds raised from RGGI’s carbon auctions to help balance the budget; he has directed that state funds be appropriated to subsidize “green” technology ventures such as off-shore windmills;
- He has refused to join other state attorneys-general in a joint lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare while accepting federal funds for the implementation of a similar program on a statewide level;
- He is on record saying that he does not believe illegal aliens are here illegally; he has indicated that he supports amnesty for illegals; he generally favors strict gun control and he supports construction of the Ground Zero Mosque even as he condemns those who oppose it.
In this multi-part series we will address all of these issues with specificity and abundant documentation. So buckle in and - if you are a member of the “Christie-for-President-in-2012″ fan club - prepare to be awakened by some very inconvenient truths.
In Part 1 - which will appear tomorrow - we will examine the myth that Gov. Christie opposes the re-distribution of wealth in New Jersey and balanced the budget without gimmicks or tax increases.
Here are links to all the articles in this series:
How New Jersey Lost Its Mojo
Introduction to the Christie Conservative Myth
Part 1 - Budget Myths
Part 2 - Unions and State Employees
Part 3 - Conservative Appointees
Part 4 - Political Endorsements
Part 5 - Cap & Trade and “Green Technology”
Part 6 - Gov. Christie and Obamacare
Part 7 - Illegal Aliens, Gun Control and the GZ Mosque
Part 8 - A Conservative Myth Exposed