Sunday, January 06, 2013

Chris Christie Versus the GOP Base

Chris Christie remains an aberration in today's Republican Party - he's more or less sane and concerned about all the citizens he represents - which could bode ill for his presidential ambitions if he has them.  In addition to his sanity and seeming concern for all New Jersey residents, Christie's other big faults in the eyes of the Christofascists and Tea Party clowns are that he (i) is in touch with objective reality and (ii) doesn't suffer fools well and doesn't hold his tongue be it going after the Congressional GOP on a delayed vote on Hurricane Sandy relief to lambasting Christofascists who were upset that he nominated a gay and a non-Christian to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  In short, Christie is a throw back in some ways to what the GOP once represented before the Christofascist and their equally insane and hate filled Tea Party cousins took over the GOP base.  A piece in Politico looks at the growing tension between Christie and the growing number of nutcases within the Republican Party.  Here are excerpts:

For several minutes this week, Chris Christie was a party of one.  A day after House GOP leadership unexpectedly tabled a bill that would provide $60 billion in post-Hurricane Sandy aid to New York and New Jersey, Christie stood at a press conference in the Trenton statehouse and decried the “selfishness” and “duplicity” at play, adding: “There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering. The House majority and their speaker, John Boehner.”

It was vintage Christie — and then some — as he recounted how his calls to Boehner went unanswered, and it articulated clearly a frustration with a dysfunctional Washington system that polls show most Americans share. But it laid stark just how divergent the needs of his reelection bid in New Jersey are from the realities of a potential presidential run in a party that’s tacked hard right not just on social issues but on spending and deficit reduction.

Local media and elected officials, along with some national pundits, heaped praise on the governor, who spoke with characteristic bluntness  .  .  .  .  Still, Christie hit some headwinds nationally from conservatives — including Christie fans — who thought he may have gone overboard hitting an already-diminished national Republican brand. On the party’s right flank, some telegraphed a clear sentiment that Christie’s straight-talking truth teller act had worn on them.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page writers, who typically swoon over the bombastic governor, warned him Friday against competing to become “the next Charlie Crist.”

Christie, who has strong national name recognition, media and donor appeal, could play the role of Republican modernizer in the coming years — someone to help a party damaged among swaths of the changing electorate. But he would have to survive a primary first, and despite all the talk of change, the GOP is so far showing few signs of making transformations after 2012.

“I think everything that he has done since Hurricane Sandy has helped his reelection effort, but at the same time damaged his appeal to the people who determine who the Republican nominee will be in 2016 — Republican activists,” said former Iowa Republican Party Executive Director Craig Robinson

“He doesn’t give a s—- what people think,” said one source close to the Republican governor, referring to the reactions both inside and outside of Washington to Christie’s “shame on you” press conference. He is focused on how people perform in their jobs, the source said, and Congress was holding aid hostage over a parliamentary battle.

It is far too early to say what the GOP — riven with internal strife, weakened by the prevalence of outside interest groups and coming off a terrible national cycle — will want from a nominee in four years, or whether anything that’s happened this week will stick the way people are trying to suggest it will.

A bill that costs $60 billion, earmarked for one of the wealthier areas of the country, has left a bad taste in the mouths of some fiscal conservatives.  But there is precedent for disaster aid spending — Hurricane Katrina, which hit while George W. Bush was president, for instance, people close to Christie note. They also point out that Christie’s calling card in his first year in New Jersey was curtailing state pension costs.

“I don’t think he’s really occupying any space within the Republican Party right now, especially after railing against Republican leaders in Congress,” Robinson added. “Gov. Christie is doing a great job of being apolitical, which will help him win reelection in New Jersey, but being apolitical gets one nowhere nationally.”

I for one hope that Christie keeps speaking out and calling things as they really are.  Yes, the delusional base of the Republican Party will not be happy with him, but it is only through such individuals that there is any chance that the GOP can be reclaimed by rational, thinking people.  Right now the GOP is a morass of ignorance embracing bigots, religious fanatics and racists. Just because the truth isn't popular, it doesn't mean it is still not the truth.

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