Skip to comments.Fringe party not Christie's cup of tea [He's no conservative, folks]
Posted on 10/05/2010 3:08:36 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
There's a better chance of seeing Governor Christie mingling with President Obama at the private dinner reception in Cresskill on Wednesday than finding him on stage with Sarah Palin or any other Tea Party gathering, for that matter.
The pugnacious, rant-and-ramble governor may sound like a Tea Party activist from time to time, and Glen Beck may be smitten with a severe case of political man-love, but in reality Christie wants as little to do with them as possible. He prefers the high ground of the GOP establishment, perched at a safe distance from the roiling Tea Party tide.
That preference was made clear Monday, when a Christie spokesman signaled that the administration will probably not file a lawsuit to block Obama's health care reforms, a top Tea Party priority. Attorneys general in 20 other states have already done so.
"Litigation is not always the best course," said Michael Drewniak, Christie's press secretary. "We want to do what's in the best interests of New Jersey residents. That is not to say that, if conditions or circumstances warrant, we would not resort to litigation."
That answer doesn't come as a complete shock Christie showed little enthusiasm for jumping into the anti-Obamacare scrum after the president signed the historic reforms into law in March. Christie said he would calmly dispatch his attorney general and Health Department commissioner to sift through the law and wait for their recommendation.
But it was clear from his body language and tone Christie was stalling. He was letting the hot air slowly fizzle out of the Tea Party Express tires, which have had limited traction on the New Jersey landscape, anyway.
Critics, such as Steve Lonegan, president of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group that pressed Christie to join the lawsuit with a petition signed by 10,000 people, said he was "very disappointed" and said it belies Christie's reputation as a "conservative icon." Jeffrey Weingarten, a leading Tea Party activist from Clifton, said he was "mystified," given Christie's other high-profile steps to rein in government spending.
"It is a very unpopular law," Weingarten said. "People, even now, are realizing that this is not going to drive down insurance policies."
But that fact is, the decision is consistent with Christie's avoidance of the loose-knit coalition Tea Party activists. As a candidate last year, Christie publicly disinvited Palin from joining him on the campaign trail. His warning to the GOP officials not to "paint all of Islam" with the broad brush of terrorism in their opposition to a proposed Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero struck a careful, centrist departure from Palin and Newt Gingrich.
Christie and his surrogates also backed Delaware Senate candidate Rep. Mike Castle, the moderate Republican who was clobbered by Tea Party challenger Christine O'Donnell.
There are exceptions. Christie did headline a fund-raiser for Anna Little, the Tea Party-backed upstart who captured the GOP nomination for the 6th Congressional District contest, stunning wealthy publisher Diane Gooch in a razor-thin primary victory. Little's campaign website includes a picture of Little standing next to Christie. And Christie has also thrown a few high-profile sops to the party's right wing his cutting of $7.5 million in funding for family planning centers and other health care programs, a move cheered by antiabortion groups.
But Christie also knows that Jersey is a state whose heart beats at a moderate, tolerant rhythm and Christie is well aware that it would be politically untenable to stand in the way of a law providing the promised benefits from health reform especially when they are not being paid out of the state treasury.
The first installment of Obama's health care took effect in August, when $141 million was made available for some 21,000 people in New Jersey who have preexisting health problems like cancer or diabetes. While New Jersey law mandates coverage for these conditions, the cost can be prohibitive. Obama's reforms could stake New Jersey to increased Medicaid funding, money that any governor managing a cash-starved budget is not likely to casually dismiss.
His decision also reflects fear that the unruly, quasi-libertarian Tea Party will become the identity of the GOP establishment, or as in Castle's case, prevent the establishment-backed candidates from winning.
In that view, the Tea Party is a threat to the GOP's return to national dominance. And there is no advantage in getting too chummy with a fringe group if Christie does indeed harbor ambitions for national office.
The better play is to co-opt their anger and donor lists without committing to their cause. Dissolve their tentative structure by absorbing their anger.
Rail against public employee unions, throw politically acceptable sops their way, and bask in the glow of Glenn Beck's tributes just don't sign onto their lawsuits.
Where does this dope think the money is coming from? A magical chest?
Unfortunatly you have to do this to surivive in politics. Jersey is still too liberal to be tea party stronghold. It may come around in ten years but until then in order to maintain his seat he has to pander to liberals from time to time.
Look, something has got to give in the Northeast. How long will people accept liberalism disguised as moderation and as long as it's being promoted by Republicans?
“Fringe group” No, no bias there. /s
Oh well. Another Northeast RINO, what can you do?
oh right, stay away from the NE
I live here and the answer is until the system breaks down and the rest of the country is swarmed with them trying to find work. They’ll set up shop elsewhere in the country and still not learn.
He’s starting to resemble one of Sarah’s bendy straws.
I love his fierce voice on the teacher’s unions and the public employee’s unions, but sheesh, he’s not for repealing obamacare?
Another Rockefeller Republican, like Giuliani or Romney.
I have been jumping up and down trying to tell people this only to get flamed time after time.....folks wake up...
CHRISTIE IS NOT A CONSERVATIVE!
He endorsed Castle in Delaware.
I think sometimes you have to pick your battles. Of course I am disappointed in the choice made, but I am not going to condemn completely someone for lack of action. Especially when there is no promise that action would be fruitful.
It’s New Jersey. Christie is simply the (R) wing of the mafia party.
He rode the tea party wave just like Scott brown. He really shouldn’t insult the people who elected him.
That's right! We need to toss him out on his ear and bring back Corzine. That's the ticket.
Never said that. Just don’t call him wait his is not. It will serve to further confuse.
wait = what...
If you’re in politics and want to actually get things done you pick your battles and don’t get diverted into side issues. Reagan did. And now Christie’s trying to do the same. He’s never going to satisfy some people, but he may end up being a good governor for his state.
What a dumb article. Christie has already proven himself a conservative as he tries to reign in spending in New Jersey.
So spending is the only issue? There have been liberals that weren’t for big spending, but they still weren’t conservatives.