His Own Man?

You’ve got to like Chris Christie of New Jersey, the rebel Republican Governor who refuses to play by the Republican Party rules. In fact, you have to admire any politician these days who refuses to play by the rules of their party, though you do have to wonder about their political future. The name of the game these days is money and independent politicians have to garner a huge popular following to even keep close to those who are funded by the Big Spenders.

Governor Chris Christy

Governor Chris Christie

In any event, Christie has refused to play the roles assigned to him, first by having the gall to thank Barack Obama when he sent Federal help to the state of New Jersey after the carnage from Hurricane Sandy. (Heavens! What is the world coming to?) He was recently denied an invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference because he doesn’t mouth the strict party line on gun control: he does not oppose the state’s current laws, which, according to a 2011 scorecard from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, are the second strictest in the nation after California. (Gasp! What next?) Most recently he has indicated that he will not join a dozen other Republican governors in refusing to become involved with the Affordable Health Care Act, since that is regarded by the party faithful as a Democratic plan — despite the fact that it was initiated in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney several years ago. In any event, what Christie said in accepting Federal assistance in accordance with the Affordable Care Act was most refreshing. According to a recent HuffPost story his reasoning was as follows:

“These folks are consistently among those who need help the most — men and women who have suffered trauma in their lives, live with mental illness, rely on New Jersey’s emergency rooms for primary health care, or those citizens who lack insurance or access to treatment in other ways,” Christie said.

“These folks” are the poor who are in desperate need of health care and can’t afford it. Christie seems to be placing their needs above his own political future. Or so it would seem. If he is an astute politician, as I suppose he is, he may see the end of the stranglehold the ultra-conservative, true believing, Tea Party types have on the Republican Party and may be placing himself at the head of a group he hopes to draw from the middle ranks of the Party. It would make sense. After the recent election, the Republican Party is in shambles, divided into several unequal parts and a strong leader who emerges from the middle might well pull the party faithful with him and begin to build a new consensus. Let’s hope so for the future of our Democratic system. We need two healthy parties that will work to accommodate one another and even agree to compromise from time to time. As things now stand the two Parties are drawn up into warring camps throwing stones and accusations at one another across an ever-widening chasm.

I speculate, of course. I have no idea what Christie’s plan is. But I do admire him for giving the finger to the Powers-That-Be in the Republican Party and for doing the right thing — regardless of what his reasons might happen to be.

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8 thoughts on “His Own Man?

  1. Good post. He is one of the sanest, most practical voices in the party. That does not mean he not without warts, but who is. Hopefully, he can garner the support needed, but it is doubtful, as you note. Thanks, BTG

  2. Playamart (above) gives the parties too much credit!

    To not be invited to this CPAC seems like exactly the right place to be. They claim to be a place only for the faithful and the winners, yet they are featuring such outstanding “winners” as Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and Wayne LaPiera (Sp?) of the NRA. Seems like a great stage to avoid.

    I think Christie has the old style instincts of a true politician, and is perceptive in his actions. I’d like to believe that his level of moderation will win out by 2016.

    Good post

  3. I get the feeling that Gov Christie might be joining the Democratic party sometime in the future. Not necessarily as a result of an ideological change on the part of the governor, but because the ultra-conservative/Tea Party types in the Republican Party will force him out of the GOP. After that, his choices are, be a Democrat or run as an independent. I think he would make the switch if that happened. I would definitely welcome him with open arms. I don’t always agree with him, but I do admire his verve. What also strikes me about the governor is his pragmatism. He seems to be rarely guided by some ideological presupposition, but asks himself, what will work for the betterment of the people of New Jersey in any situation. He figures that out and goes in that direction. Its a simple game plan, its effective and it is increasingly rare in this era of divisive and confrontational politics.

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