Wednesday, September 28, 2011

They’re Cuckoo for Christie in GOP Land

Psychiatrists refer to it as dissociative identity disorder; a condition in which a person displays multiple, distinct identities or personalities, known as alter egos, each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment.  Of course, it also goes by another name: split personality.  Whichever term you prefer – the clinical and more appropriate definition or the common, less politically correct one, one thing is certain: it can be quite a debilitating disease.  You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy.  Or would you?

Looking at the Republican Party these last couple of months, it’s becoming all too obvious that the powers that be are loaded with it.  There is great concern within the Grand Old Party over the viability of the current crop of candidates vying for the nomination and the chance to dethrone emperor Obama from the Kremlin (er, White House) next year.  Hence the “Draft Christie” movement among the, how should I say it, less enthusiastic contingent of the faithful and the hopeful.

Not one to feed a neurosis, their concern is hardly without merit.  Despite the threat of a double-dip recession, only Mitt Romney has polled well against the President.  Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Ron Paul have enough baggage to star in their own Southwest Airlines commercial.  But voting for Romney, for most Republicans (particularly Tea Party Republicans) is like having to go to the prom with your sister.  You can dance with her but that’s where the fun ends if you know what I mean.

And therein lies the problem.  While conservatives may loathe Obama, they aren’t exactly fond of Romney.  That he is thought of as the prohibitive favorite drives them up the proverbial wall.  Perry was like a breath of fresh toxic air from one of his oilrigs.  A straight shooter and drinker of the Kool-Aid, he was a dream come true, until he shot off his mouth so much he made George Bush look intelligent.  Michele Bachmann is certifiable.  Not even the most ardent of conservative pollsters believes she has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning a general election.  And Ron Paul and the Godfather guy are nothing more than the half-time entertainment at the Super Bowl of the Demented. 

If only they could find someone to run who they like who doesn’t have all those skeletons in his closet; someone who is a conservative, but who could woo independent voters; someone who says and does what he believes and who isn’t afraid to tackle tough issues; but most importantly, someone who could actually win a general election against Obama without being either crazy or a phony.  Chris Christie is that candidate.

And that’s why everyone from Fox News to Ann Coultergeist is practically begging the New Jersey governor to throw his ten-gallon hat into the presidential ring.  And while my gut tells me Christie wants it, my instincts say he probably won’t do it, and for one very important reason: he really isn’t a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and he knows it.

Yes, you heard me.  The second coming of Howard Taft maybe right-of-center, but he is hardly a disciple of the Right.  Just listen to the man and you tell me, does this guy sound like anything you’ve heard coming out of the echo chamber that currently passes for the Tea Party-lead GOP?  Not even close.  Romney maybe the used-car salesman from hell, but at least he talks the talk.  Christie’s rhetoric suggests he be more likely to tell the Tea Party faithful to go F themselves as hang with them.  He’s already blasted the Sharia Law mobs as “crazy.”  Imagine what would happen the first time he was in a debate with his fellow sheep and his record was actually revealed. 

Yes, he’s been tough on unions; yes his cuts to education have hurt.  FYI, virtually every governor – Red or Blue – has had to make some painful and often draconian cuts to his or her budgets over the last two or so years.  Have you taken a good look at what’s happened on the other side of the Hudson?  Nobody’s particularly happy these days, least of all unions.  At least Christie hasn’t made the same mistake as some of his fellow GOP governors like Scott Walker or John Kasich in assuming that concessions necessarily mean obliteration.

But when you look closely at Christie’s record and, more importantly, his stances, it’s quite illuminating.  In addition to rejecting the anti-Muslim sentiment that has gripped most of his Party, he is also not a global warming denier.  This is what he said just this week about the topic.

“I’m certainly not a scientist, which is the first problem,” he said. “So I can’t claim to fully understand all of this, certainly not after just a few months of study. But when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”

Christie also supports a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, which runs counter to his Party’s base.  And then there was his decision to sit out the “Obama Care” fight and not join in with the other Republican governors filing suit against it.  Somewhere, Mark Levin was seen choking on his phlegm.  And he wasn’t alone.  Despite the endorsements of el Rushbo Limbaugh and the aforementioned Coulter, the simple fact of the matter is that Christie isn’t nearly as conservative as you might think, and certainly not as conservative as the current crop of mental defectives running are.  In deed, far from being a Reaganite, he more closely resembles a portly Nixon: moderate on some issues, conservative on others, and abrasive as all hell.   

What kind of president would he make?  Assuming he could survive the nomination process – and that’s a big if – a radically different one than any we’ve had in quite some time.  He would certainly revitalize a Republican Party that has been branded, and justifiably so, as belonging to a lunatic fringe.

Think about this.  Would the Republican Party be in this lofty position today with this current crop were it not for the worst recession to hit the nation in generations?  Would most independents even bother with the likes of a Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul or Rick Perry, not to mention Herman Cain, if the economy were on a more secure footing?  Of course not.

And while the Republican Party might still be under the control of the escapees of an insane asylum, there’s just enough sanity left in there and at News Corp. to realize the enormity of the chance that fate has dealt them this coming election.  Everybody knows full well what’s at stake and no one – not even the extremists – wants to blow it.  

Now if only the fat man from Trenton would oblige them.

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