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February 16, 2011

Chris Christie Livestream: "It's Time To Do Big Things"

In just five minutes he's supposed to take the stage at a sold-out AEI conference. It can be seen here.

The topic? Taking on federal spending as he's done in New Jersey. It sounds like he's going to be a spokesman for entitlement reform, but maybe I'm overreading it.

Like Christie himself, the message he’ll deliver Wednesday at the conservative American Enterprise Institute is unorthodox and straightforward: he accuses both parties, Democrats and Republicans alike, of “timidity” in the face of the coming fiscal calamity.

“It’s hard, but it can be dealt with,” Christie said of his speech, previewed for POLITICO, which will focus on his battles with the state’s teachers unions. “I’m a little mystified as to why they’re not doing it, on either side. Because what we’ve shown in New Jersey is that the public is hungry for this.”

Coulter... continues making the case for Christie -- and she doesn't care if he's running or not. It doesn't matter if he wants to run, she says -- the country needs him, period.

I like how she thinks. Not necessarily about Christie (who really does not seem to be running, or even willing to consider it), but her basic point that we can't do what we did in 2008 and eliminate stronger candidates due to imagined deviations from orthodoxy -- that is how John McCain wound up winning. Not because of "RINOs" (RINOs wanted either Giuliani or Romney), but because any strong candidate was disqualified for this or that and we were left with the guy who on paper was supposedly a conservative but we all knew wasn't.

"There You Go:" "We have to reform Social Security because it's bankrupting us. We have to reform Medicare because it's bankrupting us. We have to reform Medicaid because not only is it bankrupting the federal government it's bankrupting every state government. I just said these things and lightning didn't come through the window and strike me dead. There you go."

Talks about "studying an issue" is government-talk for "letting an unsustainable program die due to natural causes (bankruptcy) because we don't want our fingerprints on it because we don't want to be seen as murdering it."

These are close paraphrases; it's not exact.

Talks up Andrew Cuomo, at a 77% popularity rating, even though all he talks about is cutting including popular entitlements. Says politicians are thinking the in the past and not grasping that the situation has changed.

Hear, Hear: "I love when people talk about American exceptionalism (sort of sarcastic tone). The idea of American exceptionalism must include the idea that we have the courage to do the right thing, not just that that because we're exceptional we trust that everything will work out for us."

I sort of sniped at that idea -- American exceptionalism as meaningless pablum flattery, as opposed to a call to actually be exceptional -- like yesterday.

It reminds me of Michael Keaton's speech near the end of Gung Ho, where he says, basically, the last three speeches I gave you were all this flattery about being the best workers in the world, but guess what? You want the truth? We're getting our asses handed to us and if we want to be the Great American Labor Force again we have to go out there and be that, and stop just saying we are.

Absolutely Rules Out Presidential Run: "I'm not stupid. I see the opportunity. But that's not a good enough reason to run, the opportunity."

Good, But Deceptive, Answer on the ObamaCare Lawsuit: Remember when Giuliani was sniped as saying nothing but "9/11," a verb and a noun?

Well Christie's doing this with the fiscal issue.

His answer on ObamaCare: He wants New Jersey to be free rider on this; he wants the New Jersey taxpayer to get the benefit of the decision ("if it's unconstitutional in Alabama, Florida, and Virginia it's unconstitutional in New Jersey") without having to pay money he doesn't have to fight the suit.

This is a pleasing answer but it is bunk. He could have joined the suit for almost no money; other states would have covered him. They wanted Christie on board even if New Jersey didn't contribute anything except Christie's imprimatur. (This is speculation, not fact, but it is undoubtedly correct.)

The real reason? Because he's already in a big fight over a matter he's all-in on and he's in a liberal, Obama-voting state as it is. He doesn't need the political damage from it while he's trying to rally support for the one thing he can definitely change. Plus, when this started, the whole suit seemed unlikely to succeed -- it is STILL unlikely, but has gone from longshot to underdog.

It's a cute answer, but it's false. I do not hold that against him; clever dishonesty must be in a politician's skill set.

He does make it clear he opposes ObamaCare and says "It's no secret I'm not a fan." He lists various things he doesn't like about it, including straight-jacketing governors with fresh mandates.

Slams Obama's SOTU For Cowardice. "I was hoping he would stand up and challenge me, and say 'Now is the time we must fix these problems.'"

Makes a joke about Obama's laundry list and notes that many of them are "good things," like high speed internet access -- "No one says, you know what, I wish my internet was slower." But these things do not exist in a vaccuum; they must be viewed comparatively.

He doesn't elaborate on that but that is a crucial, crucial point for Republicans to make and everytime they don't make it they lose. Republicans must always present this as a choice -- would you like $40 billion in spending for high speed internet access now, or would you like your children relieved of $100 billion of debt (initial cost plus interest)? Or would you like $40 billion to go to our nation's solvency?"

He didn't lampshade it like that, and he should have. Every Republican, always, should play the comparison of goods game. Sure, high speed rail is good. But would you rather have high speed rail or your children to have a functioning, vibrant economy in which they can actually get a job?

Always, always go into specifics on these stupid spending initiatives. Don't just talk about blocking spending; talk in concrete terms about what is being LOST when we spend our way to oblivion.

Overall: It is really, really too bad Christie is not running. He is a very effective spokesman. He has something crucial, too: Even though I know he is a politician and I know he therefore deceives for political gain and even though I know he plays to the camera for YouTube videos -- he seems like he's not running for anything. He seems like he's just hear to tell you the facts and not bullshit you at all.

Combine that sort of personal profile with his obvious total command of the higher-brain math and budget issues, and you've really got something.

You've got authority. Which is ultimately what "gravitas" is. Authority, command.

Ah well. I guess we're jacked for 2016. Christie/Rubio (or Rubio/Christie; who cares?).

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posted by Ace at 12:58 PM

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