Chris Christie won't win the Republican nomination
There’s supposedly a battle going on in the Republican Party right now, between the establishment wing, most notably represented by Chris Christie, and the libertarian wing, represented by Rand Paul. Chris Christie recently criticized the supposed current streak of libertarianism in the party by saying, “I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought.” (Here’s a link to the story).
If you ask me, both major parties need more libertarianism, not less. As a libertarian-leaning person, I would take Rand Paul over Chris Christie. That’s not to say that Rand Paul is perfect. He is pro-life, while I’m pro-choice, he’s socially conservative, and he isn’t quite as libertarian on the drug issue (or at least as honest or open about it) as I would like. Whether this is “pandering’ to win an election (as some libertarians have suggested) or his genuine beliefs is anyone’s guess. I’m more inclined toward the latter explanation. In any case, I would much prefer someone like Gary Johnson leading the libertarian movement forward. His brand of moderate libertarianism without the social conservatism of the Paul’s much more closely matches my views than them. But I still think Rand Paul is preferable to Chris Christie and I would certainly vote for him if he somehow by some miracle won the nomination (which I doubt will happen anyway).
Why he won’t win
Nevertheless, I seriously doubt Chris Christie will win the nomination. In fact, I’d say it’s even less likely than Rand Paul winning the nomination for a few reasons. First, liberals are more likely to view Christie as a “reasonable” or acceptable republican than Rand Paul. A Reason Magazine post last month (link) reported that former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said on ABC News This Week that Christie would “be a very strong general election candidate” also pointing out that saying this would “probably be the kiss of death for him.” Gee, Ya’ think? Liberals on many blog posts also seem to think Christie is a “reasonable’ or more tolerable republican, while usually never saying the same thing about Rand Paul. Some liberal commentators say that nominating him is the only way the Republican Party could win in 2016. I doubt it, but if he did, I think it would mean either the destruction or significant realignment of the Republican Party.
I mean, take a look at some of Christie‘s positions. He is a supporter of gun control and has said that there are too many guns in the streets already. He said in an interview with Sean Hannity in 2009 that he supports some of the gun laws in his state New Jersey, which are among the strictest in the nation. He also said, according to ontheissues.org, that “I believe that each state should have the right to make firearms laws as they see fit. I don’t believe it’s right for the federal government to get into the middle of this…” Including the Supreme Court, Chris? So much for the Mcdonald v. City of Chicago decision that overturned Illinois’s ban on handguns. I seriously doubt Republican primary voters will be able to stomach this position. The establishment, maybe, but not primary voters. (Here is a link to his positions on gun control at ontheissues.org).
Christie also recently banned in New Jersey the extremely damaging practice of “conversion therapy’ for gays and lesbians, which attempts to “cure” them, and has said that homosexuality is not a disease (Here‘s the link). While I am in agreement with Christie on those issues (Although I’m not sure banning the practice is the best course of action) I doubt it would go over well with average Republicans.
Of course, I know that fiscal issues are ultimately more important to most voters than things like gun control and gay rights, and Christie, from what I’ve read, seems to be at least somewhat conservative on economic issues. But there are more social conservative activists in the party than fiscal conservatives (for some odd reason, and as this study cited indicates), so I think his position on these issues may be a dead end for him.
The used-car salesman politician
Of course, like almost all politicians, he’ll likely “become” more conservative as he likely gears up for a possible presidential race. Some evidence indicates Christie is shifting his position on gun control a little, (as this The Nation article indicates) and will likely do the same waffling and pandering that most other politicians do to appeal to the widest group of people possible. This is one thing that really pisses me off about politicians. They’ll pander to certain audiences and flip around their positions to win elections, to the point where we can’t tell what their ‘real’ position is on much of anything. One of the things I liked about libertarian politicians like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson is that they seemed immune to that kind of crap. They were just incredibly honest and rarely pandered to anybody, resulting in few flip flops (but more people saying they were ‘unelectable‘ for that reason). I wish more politicians were like this, even if it meant they might ‘lose.’ I guess me preferring that pols just be honest and straightforward is too much to ask for these used-car salesman. But that’s par for the course.
One final problem with Christie
Also, I think Christie’s weight and general unattractiveness would be an issue if he ever became a general election candidate. I know it’s stupid and shallow to vote based on looks, but I think people do it (i.e. Women), if often only partially. Lest you think I’m insulting women, I will say that I think men would do much the same thing (probably more) if most of our presidential candidates were women.