Rand Paul surrendered. He ran the risk of opening an intraparty debate that needs to be had. Chris Christie, a real conservative who is willing to go off the ideological track, is not to be messed with. He is willing to call out those that are much more intellectually dishonest than he is. Rand Paul and the pseudo-conservative Libertarians could not allow the debate to go there. Rand Paul did what he had to do. He surrendered and asked Chris Christie to a beer summit.
So how did this Republican feud get started? A few days ago, Christie said that there was a strain of Libertarianism on both the left and the right that opposes the NSA surveillance program. He then used the standard 9/11 defense of the program. Rand Paul responded by implying that was a cheap shot and accused Christie of having the “gimme, gimme, gimme” disease, always wanting from the government. Christie responded that New Jersey gives much more to the U.S. Treasury than it gets back and by contrast Kentucky gets back much more than they put in. Rand Paul attempted to imply that their two military bases were the reasons, not realizing that New Jersey has 8 military bases. Continuing the discussion for Rand Paul was pointless. He was beaten. It turns out that Kentucky, Rand Paul’s state, is in fact the “gimme, gimme, gimme” state, the welfare state. Chris Christie cracked that door.
Jump below the fold for the full story about Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and what it all means for 2016.
The chart below is quite illuminating. Texas is the only red state that gets back less than it sends to Washington. Of course Texas' wealth of natural resources can hide a lot of its intrinsic dysfunction.
The above chart and many others have been circulating over the internet for years. They are modified as new data becomes available. One would think that every time a red state politician started grandstanding about smaller government, the mainstream media would ask them if they realized their stance was disproportionately harming their states. In fact, the chart demonstrates a particular pathology that is systemic mostly with red states. One must wonder why the mainstream media’s objective journalists do not feel compelled to investigate this reality with in depth reporting and specials.
Rand Paul inadvertently opened that door for debate. Most importantly, since the argument was made by a Republican to a Republican it runs the risk of being heard by Republicans. Had these facts been articulated by Democrats or liberals, no one on the right would be listening to them or be receptive of learning the fact that Kentucky, as well as all but one red state, are very dependent on the federal government.
Conventional wisdom by most in the mainstream media and other talking heads is that Chris Christie cannot make it out of a Republican primary because he is not conservative enough. Some believe his acceptance of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion was one of the nails in his presidential coffin.
Christie has already earned his conservative bona fides. He cancelled a much-needed tunnel project. He lambasted unions even as some unions endorsed him likely for political reasons. He has revived his tax cut proposal that gives most of its benefits to the top 1 percent. He attacked the Supreme Court decision for ruling that key parts of DOMA were unconstitutional.
If Christie decides to run for president, he will win the Republican primary. He is a conservative and made the minimal political moves in a Blue State to remain so. He is willing to defend his policies even if he has to destroy the false narratives of his red state rivals. He will make them the fake conservatives for preaching small government even as they are on the dole. He will spin his acceptance of Obamacare Medicaid expansion as a fiscally responsible move on a bill that had conservative origins. Christie will use the social-welfare red state reality and make any additional austerity proposed by the right-wingers an attack on the red state middle class. He will make himself the only adult in the room.
Republicans want the White House. They have lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections. 2016 is likely the last election they can win without revamping their party. While the far right claims that the party is not sufficiently to the Right, most Republicans know better. If they were willing to elect Mitt Romney, the governor that actually passed Massachusetts’ version of Obamacare, they surely would be willing to elect Christie who uses it to benefit his indigent (and make money for insurance companies, hospitals, and drug makers).
Ultimately the real question is, can Chris Christie beat Hillary Clinton? As a blue state conservative Republican who uses his brashness when questioned to deflect from the actual policies, as a mainstream media darling, and as a recipient of poor mainstream media scrutiny and in depth analysis, the answer is yes. If Hillary Clinton is tied to Bill Clinton and a narrative is constructed with his Glass Steagall sin, the answer is yes.
If, however, the country buys into two tenets Hillary will win. If the country believes the truth that governance by testosterone has been a failure to the middle class and that conservative policies by Republicans and Democrats alike decimated the middle class, then Hillary Clinton will win.
The exuberance of many that assume that because of demographic changes a Republican cannot win the presidency is false. A Republican like Gov. Chris Christie can.