There’s no doubt Governor Christie is a brawler, but is he a conservative, and does he fill a void in a field that must ultimately produce a candidate who can beat Barack Obama?
The jury is still out on both of those questions.
Christie’s famously combative personality and tough guy ripostes to hecklers and hostile media questions will no doubt appeal to those who are unhappy with Texas Governor Rick Perry’s lackluster debate performances. It remains to be seen, however, whether Jersey tough will play well in the Midwest and South where – at least in public – politics is more genteel.
While Governor Christie’s willingness to take on public employee unions and big spending state legislators of both parties is a good sign, after less than two years in the Governor’s office, Christie’s conservative bona fides have yet to be vetted and tested.
Mitt Romney served one term as Governor of Massachusetts and managed to put in place a mandatory health insurance plan at least as onerous as Obamacare. As Human Events noted in a 2005 article, Romney said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.” As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported civil unions and stringent gun laws and generally governed left-of-center. Conservatives know what they are getting with candidates like Romney and Huntsman -- it is far from clear where Christie would come down on many issues conservatives think are important.
Before jumping on the Christie bandwagon, conservatives should demand answers to a number of important questions, not the least of which is, if he is elected, who will he be bringing to Washington with him? Personnel is policy, and from our vantage point it looks like Christie’s inner circle are not movement conservatives or Tea Partiers, but long-time members of the New Jersey GOP establishment -- which does not bode well if we really want to change Washington’s business-as-usual culture.
Conservatives should also demand answers from Governor Christie on his support for gun control, his abysmal record of prosecuting immigration cases when he was U.S. Attorney, his appointment of an Islamist to the New Jersey Supreme Court, his views on global warming and the green agenda, why he campaigned for RINO Mike Castle, why he is not a party to the Obamacare litigation, and where he stands on a host of issues that simply haven’t come up in the short time he’s occupied the New Jersey Governor’s mansion.
The next president will not be Obama. This cycle it is more important than ever that we make sure Republicans nominate a reliable conservative, not just another business-as-usual Republican politician. Chris Christie may be a brawler, but there is no record showing he can be relied upon to put his formidable talents behind many key elements of the conservative agenda.