Chris Christie: RINO-Tough

February 16th, 2011 at 11:04 am David Frum | 34 Comments |

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You won’t read these words often at FrumForum, but Mark Levin makes an important point today, if only indirectly.

Critiquing Ann Coulter’s cheer-leading for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Levin demands on his Facebook page:

When will my dear friend Ann start to address the substantive problems with Christie’s actual positions or are we going to get another year of “only Christie can win” fortune cookie logic? Does she support his positions on: gun control, amnesty, the appointment of an Islamist to the bench, the green agenda, his campaigning for Mike Castle, his MIA on health care litigation, etc.; and how does she think this would energize the base outside of New Jersey?  Has the Tea Party even in NJ been pushing for his candidacy?  No.  Yes, he’s solid in his YouTube battles with teachers and his efforts to try and address NJ’s budget problems, the outcome of which have yet to be determined. But the federal government is a vast enterprise that requires a solid conservative at the helm, especially now.

Levin is right: Chris Christie is not a Tea Party conservative. He’s a tough, budget-balancing Republican Northeastern governor with little interest in battles over the gold standard and abortion. From my point of view, that’s all to Christie’s credit. But as Levin says, it makes no ideological sense for Ann Coulter to tout Christie. So why has Coulter taken this view? I’m guessing that part of the answer is that Christie has invested the effort to court Coulter. In the same way, an important part of the reason for Levin’s skepticism, as Levin candidly confesses, is Christie’s post-election snubbing of Levin:

Whenever I raise questions about Christie I usually get a few people saying he’s too busy being governor to address all these issues. Then how can you promote him for president?  Can he not walk and chew gum at the same time?  That’s a minimal qualification for president.  And he’s constantly doing friendly national media interviews. He’s in Washington all the time.  He campaigned all over the country for RINOs.  He just refuses to address these issues — that is, he refuses to address issues that expose his weaknesses to conservatives.  We tried to get him on my show but he’s always “busy.” He can’t call into the program from his car?

But there’s more at work here than vanity.

A left-wing friend of mine jokes that conservatives are “the party of affect”: meaning that conservatives tend to care much more how a politician speaks than what a candidate says. Christie almost perfectly exemplifies this rule. If he were a soft-spoken, conciliatory Northeastern budget-balancer, he’d be dismissed as a Bill Weld/Mike Castle RINO. But instead, he’s an-in-your-face confrontationalist. So he can favor handgun control and still be the Coulter choice for president. Just so long as he’s rude about it.

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34 Comments so far ↓

  • ottovbvs

    Actually there’s a fair amount of RINO in Christie’s approach to budget cutting, he’s been lifting some taxes and fees in the state, notably those on property. He’s not a viable candidate for president but he has a big ego and likes being touted as a presidential prospect so he puts himself about. And yep, Republicans have a weakness for big mouths.

  • Cforchange

    Call Christe the “Northern Strategy”. Yankees are impatient and prefer the real and direct method of communication. These voices will gain power because the message is sensible and for the most part this citizen demographic has not been living above it’s means.

    Of course the leader who directly confronts the giant problem of entitlements will be deemed rude as this person will disrupt an income stream for most likely the majority. We won’t need a Christie but a military leader who can manage the street chaos that will break out and demand respect while doing so.

  • midcon

    I am keeping an eye on Christie’s actions and his results in NJ. Whether he has future potential depends on his performance. He does have one thing going for him – he does not seem to be a GOP whack job and having him called “RINO” makes him attractive to many folks. He won’t run in 2012 (if he runs at all). So we will have to see what he becomes and how he does.

  • moderategoper

    The tantalizing beauty of a Mark Levin’s text resides precisely in this ability to attribute any crisis of State to its nefarious indulgences. The current economic meltdown, for instance, should not be blamed on the psychotic greed of Wall Street, but on the State’s deranged need to throw money at the poor and undeserving ~ Steve Almond of Salon

  • politicalfan

    A RINO is needed to compete with the President. The far right has painted him as a far left liberal. There you go, your wish has been granted. I don’t think that people wanted the idea of far left and I definitely do not think that a far right will have a chance at winning. They can win ‘mid-term’ but how many people define into the social conservative thinking?

    Seems like the economy is where the C in conservative should be addressed. However, in time of high unemployment etc. the line is fine. Go back to moderates with fiscal conservative know-how. (Not that I am biased or anything)!

  • moderategoper

    Could Mark Levin run and win the Presidency or NJ Governorship??

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  • Saladdin

    Nice try David, but I think you’re wrong here. I think Christie’s myriad YouTube appearances attacking unions has led to this idea that he’s a union busting republican. As long as that’s the image the Christie folks want out there, then the Ann Coulters of the world will rejoice because that’s more important than anything else.

  • TerryF98

    Well Christie sure has the weight of a Rhino. And the aggressive bullying tactic of a coward, a bit like a hyena in that respect.

  • Russnet

    So is your left-wing friend joking or not? Tough times demand tough talk. I don’t see ideological fault lines dissolving in 2012. If Christie wants the presidency he should stay the course and not cater to the talk radio demographic.

    RINO to me is and always has been an offensive term. At some point those who bemoan RINO the loudest (j’accuse!) might find the need for their own tent, thereby inversely regaining by the very exclusion they sought a home for their absolute(ly pugnacious) moral and philosophical superiority.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    Christie is NOT going to run for President. He has been adamant about that. He knows he doesn’t stand a chance in hell, Americans will not elect a clinically obese man as President anymore. Why would he want to be forced to answer questions about his weight and health at every news conference?

  • jerseychix

    Chris Christie: Raised my taxes

    Chris Christie: Refuses to take on double dipping state workers that are bankrupting the state

    Chris Christie: Refuses to hear of consolidating towns

    Chris Christie: Not getting rid of redundant superintendents, but the classroom aids have got to go!

    Chris Christie: Engaged in shenanigans so that the teachers unions wouldn’t look good and we wouldn’t get any Race to the Top money

  • nickthap

    Christie is smart. His approach will go down a lot better than that Walker dude’s approach in Wisconsin.

  • Rob_654

    Christie would have a tough time getting a Presidential nomination unless he goes crazy Right like Pawlenty has as he would be hard pressed to the Republican voters who come out to vote unless he starts hitting the Far Right Social Talking Points his Far Right opponents will hit him with being a RINO and that will be a tough sell for Christie to overcome.

    But even if somehow Christie runs and gets the nomination – he will have to lose weight.

    Physical appearance is very important when running for President (when was the last time we had a fat President?) .

    And – he may sound impressive when he has the mic in his hand and he is arguing with teachers, and other regular folks – but going up against a pro like Obama may well expose weaknesses in his ability to argue points and when someone who is touted as being so good (from youtube clips arguing against rookies) is in a real dogfight with a pro – they sometimes don’t look so good and the image shatters.

  • midcon

    Wait a minute jerseychix. Give the a chance. He just took office about 13 months right? I don’t expect him to perform miracles and given that I can’t even pump my own gas in NJ, I would say he has an awfully big hill to climb. You’re criticisms are fair but don’t you think they are premature? Maybe next year?

  • solikemybeth

    Jerseychix – that’s pretty much what I’m hearing from my relatives back home.

    Midcon – I think he should get as much time as Obama got – about a week after taking office before the criticism started IIRC? And Christie’s only got a state to fix, not a nation.

    As someone who spent 30+ years in NJ, every time I see Christie I just sigh. Just because you’re from NJ, you don’t have to be the living, breathing epitome of every bad stereotype of its residents.

  • midcon

    Well, speaking for myself, I will the guy a chance, the same as I am giving Obama a chance. I am and equal opportunity chance giver. Of course that because as an independent, I call no party master. So I’ll wait and see what he does.

    But – all seriousness aside – you are right, he does seem to be the epitome of a stereotype. I can’t help but think of the Soprano’s show when I see him.

  • WillyP

    oh otto is back. where did he go?

    chris christie seems like a one trick pony to me. so he can attack the teachers unions… how brave.

    meanwhile, levin’s list of transgressions (most importantly, for they need a leader, are healthcare, amnesty, and the green agenda) paints him for what he really, truly is… a RINO.

    • jakester

      I really don’t understand what RINO means? I tried to fit it into “not a talk radio brainwashed reactionary know nothing living in the past” but that doesn’t seem to work.

  • Traveler

    Sorry about cross posting from the other Christie thread. This simultaneous posting of entirely overlapping threads is silly. Especially with the reply option now. So the following is edited in response to comments here.

    Christie has drawn a line in the sand and gone after unfunded spending and union bastions, while still being a libertarian as to abortion rights, gay marriage, gun control etc. Jerseychix, I totally agree he could go after the state unions as well, especially after what we saw in Wisconsin today.

    He is a also fashioning himself into a big time environmentalist. He sees the simple math. If his most valuable real estate tax base tanks because the water is too polluted, this is not a good thing. So you wouldn’t believe what is going on. I know a little, but can say less, because I have my own irons in that fire. Folks behind the scenes sense a larger agenda.

    So if this guy successfully triangulates independents like me, watch out. I think BO has the stuff, both in substance and tactics, but Christie is by far a more worthwhile opponent that the rest of the refuglicans combined. Question is, do they actually let a tough RINO bully them around? There will be a very interesting political dance to be played here. But no way the teabaggers will let him through. They will kill him, which is fine- he’ll go back to NJ, get reelected if he performs sensibly, and then 2016 is ripe. Meanwhile the teabag circle jerk will come to its final fruition in the debacle of 2012 with what ever asshole that refuglicans finally select being totally rejected. David’s Waterloo will finally come true.

    • jakester

      I have no problem with him supporting strong enviro measures out of rational self interest (real estate profits and values). If that is what it takes to convince most people to support that stuff, or that they will have less of a chance of getting emphysema or cancer, so much the better

  • jakester

    Levin is a total clown. He supports stupid reactionary pretty faces like O’Donnell and Palin but slams someone who actually has not only experience but some brains.

    Go to his website, and he still has on the top how he and his clown chorus at nominated Rush Limbaugh for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007!

    • WillyP

      i, for one, wish we could get a bike trail enthusiast to run for office. what do you say, jake?

      • jakester

        Why not, maybe I can nominate Chuck Norris for the Nobel Peace Prize and put that on the masthead of my websites for the next four years too? Then everyone would know what a major geek I was.

      • jakester

        I am sure, as poor as I would be as a candidate , I could do better than some piggish, abusive right wing fanatic who is so driven by his repressed sexuality and reactionary mindset that he imagines that three of the most ignorant women in politics are intelligent and would make good leaders. Just the grating sound of that man’s voice, and his incessant bullying is enough to drive away all but the most deluded and irrational

  • rockstar

    Jeez, It’d be nice to see a christian in the race for a change…wouldn’t it?

  • rockstar

    Well, yeah, who doesn’t want bike trails?

  • lilmanny

    Looks ethnic, doesn’t hate the gays, doesn’t hate the mooslims, doesn’t hate Barry Hussein (once said good things about him), doesn’t appear with Saint Sarah….not gonna happen.

  • midcon

    I bet when Willy was in Toronto and got sick he didn’t turn his nose up at the Canadian health care. Willy is probably as much of a RINO as Christie.

    • WillyP

      Err, I never lived in Toronto… and I only once went to see a medical doctor while living in Montreal, and it was for vaccinations before travel.

      If I did live in Toronto, and if I was sick, would you expect me to decline medical attention out of principle? Yes, let’s see, here I am with pneumonia, lungs filled with mucus, but nope… would rather die than seek refuge in socialized medicine. Sorry I’m not sure you’re too connected with reality midcon. Seeking to preserve my own life would not make me a RINO.

      Then again, idiotic, spurious charges are what muddle-headed thinkers offer when confronted with brilliant, clear-headed, and highly intelligent political commentary.

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  • MikeGSP

    FACTS about Christie’s budget from Americans for Prosperity-New Jersey:

    The Christie is a Conservative Myth:

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