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June 25, 2010

Newsweek Catches Christie Fever

Sort of, as they at least ponder the question of whether he's the best governor in the country. Or the worst, as they of course have to ask, too.

But they concede he's definitely the most robust and transformative.

In short, Christie is governing like a one-termer, enacting every conservative proposal he campaigned on and mounting, as Weigel puts it, "the most energetic challenge to the liberal consensus [anyone] can remember."

It's no surprise that liberal New Jerseyans are not happy with the painful sacrifices that Christie is demanding—some of my friends and relatives among them. But anyone on either side of the aisle who's fed up with our focus-grouped, winning-is-everything political culture should be watching Governor Bully closely. Christie's crusade is not about 2012 or 2016; he doesn't seem to mind being unpopular. Instead, it's about testing conservative principles against the hard stuff of reality. New Jersey's constitution endows the governor with more power than most of his counterparts, and so far Christie has not been shy about exercising it.

As a result, the Garden State has suddenly become a fascinating test case for GOP governance: can a conservative response ameliorate this fiscal crisis, at least on the state level? Can Republican leadership—as opposed to the Republican oppositionism we see in Washington—actually solve problems? If the notoriously misgoverned (and largely ungovernable) New Jersey considers itself better off in a few years' time—if businesses are moving back to the state, if unemployment is down, if the budget deficits are under control, if the balance between taxes and services is more reasonable—Chris Christie will deserve most of the credit. If not--and there's reason to think that might be the case--conservative policymaking will suffer a blow. Rarely are the battle lines so clearly drawn.

Weigel and Co. are correct, in other words, to point out that what's happening in New Jersey right now is the real deal. But it's the policy implications that are interesting, not the politics—at least for the moment.

Chris Christie

You can't stop 'm. You can only hope to contain 'm.


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posted by Ace at 10:27 AM

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