If one subscribes to the common political wisdom of the mainstream pundits, there is only one Republican who has anything resembling a chance of beating Hillary Clinton in 2016, and that person is New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Why? Because he's a moderate Republican.
Apparently, this pronouncement of moderation is arrived at not by studying something as painfully wonky as policy or voting records, but by the politician's ability to glibly banter with the Daily Show's Jon Stewart and be self-effacing and funny.
Take John McCain. Please. There was a time when we were constantly assured that the Arizona senator was a "maverick," that he bravely bucked his party's hardline policies and was really a moderate. Even Democrats were saying they'd vote for him. Sure, he talked about campaign finance reform and immigration, but this moderate tag was really due in large part to his Daily Show appearances, where it was obvious that Stewart had a man-crush on the elderly ex-POW. And because McCain could ad lib and be charming, in a reptilian sort of way, no one seemed to notice that he was one of the most conservative senators in the country. In fact, in 2010, McCain's conservative voting record received the highest score, matched by two other known moderates, Jim DeMint and John Cornyn. But his voting record was always among the most conservative.
Now the media has dubbed Governor Christie the new Straight-Talker, the new Moderate Republican. He's brash, aggressive, impolitic, easily angered, funny and nothing at all like Mitch McConnell, which in any universe is a huge plus. Not only that, he recently approved medical marijuana for seriously ill children and banned gay conversion therapy. Right before he vetoed a ban on .50 caliber sniper rifles that can pierce kevlar from a mile away. Yes, a mile. But he vetoed it moderately.
Christie also just moderately endorsed fellow Republican and Tea Party darling Steve Lonegan in his race against juggernaut Newark mayor, Cory Booker. Lonegan, it may be remembered, agreed with fellow Bagger Rand Paul that Hurricane Sandy aid was "over the top." And being a member in good standing of the Tea Party, he is also anti-union, anti-choice, anti-gun safety legislation, anti-marriage equality, anti-etc., anti-etc., anti-etc.
But back to moderate Chris Christie. He very moderately desires to cut taxes for the wealthiest in New Jersey while moderately fucking the poorest in his state. This he has moderately done already to great effect. He moderately supports the failed austerity model. He moderately opposes a woman's constitutional right to choose. He moderately vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood and equal pay for women. He moderately opposes gay marriage and gun control legislation. He moderately despises unions, especially the one for teachers, who he has a particularly moderate loathing for and 10,000 of which he moderately cut in his first year. He moderately opposes Obamacare and moderately vetoed the Medicaid expansion bill. He moderately and famously vetoed federal funding for the tunnel project and now moderately presides over some of the highest unemployment in the country, while moderately watching private sector jobs leave the state like moderately wet rats.
Yes Governor Chris Christie is a moderate. The same way Senator Ted Cruz is a moderate Tea Party member, because he doesn't wear a tricorn hat festooned with tea bags.
©2013 Kona Lowell