Michael Barone says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the Real Deal — His speech to the American Enterprise Institute

Jim Sills Jim Sills 5 Comments


Michael Barone, author of the Almanac of American Politics, went to bat for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this week, after  speaking to  him at the American Enterprise Institute, where Barone is a Resident Fellow.   Barone was impressed by Christie’s candor in his AEI speech,  “Drawing on his struggles with New Jerseys public employee unions over pensions and benefits, he turned to national issues.  ‘My childrens future and your childrens future are more important than political strategy, he began. Youre going to have to raise the retirement age for Social Security. Whoa, I just said it, and Im still standing here. I did not vaporize.'”

…………..Would  Back  Primary Challenges to some GOP Incumbents

Reporting in the Washington Examiner, Barone recorded these additional Christie bombshells, ” We have to reform Medicare because it costs too much and it is going to bankrupt us. Once again lightning did not come through the windows and strike me dead. And we have to fix Medicaid because its not only bankrupting the federal government, its bankrupting every state government.

Obama, he said, was offering the candy of  American politics:  high- speed rail, plug-in cars and congressional Republicans so far havent offered much more.  If those he campaigned for dont, he said,  the next time theyll see me in their district is with my arm around their primary opponent.”

You heard right, sports fans, Chris Christie is promising to support GOP primary challengers to any New Jersey Republican members of Congress who don’t vote for real fiscal reform. After 7 years of Arnold, it is hard to imagine a GOP Governor sayting that…but Christie did, and he has the popularity in New Jersey to back it up !

Barone continues:  Washington insiders and oldtimers tend to think Republicans would be foolish to heed  Christies advice. Talking about entitlements is supposed to be the third rail of American politics.  “I dont think its fatal, Christie said. You just have to have the spine to take the lead, and if you ask for shared sacrifice and dont let people game the system, voters will respond.”

Chris Christie is saying, and doing, these things in a strongly Democratic state, willingly risking his reputation and personal future as a witness for the hard fiscal truths.  It impressed Michael Barone, and it impresses this writer as well.



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Comments 5

  1. In his “Almanac of American Politics“, Michael Barone does nothing but review the actions, not just words, of every State Governor, Senator and U.S. House member. That book, published every two years, has been the #1 authority on those subjects since it first appeared in 1972.

    So if Mike Barone is satisified Chris Christies’ actions match his rhetoric, then that is powerful evidence on behalf of the New Jersey’s Governor’s real world effectiveness.

    In the final line of Barone’s column, he writes, “Christie has been in the trenches, facing an opposition legislature, addressing fundamental issues and getting results voters like. ”

  2. All very true, Jim — in the recent past. But what to look at is what Gov. Christie is NOW proposing, and where he is caving in.

    He seems to be pandering to the voters in preference for doing the right thing on reforms. He’s losing momentum, if he has not lost it already.

    Think of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first year (“blow up the boxes”) vs. what came afterwards. The parallel is unsettling — and unsettled. Christie can still do the right thing — but he has do turn his 180 degree change into a 360 degree turn, and head back into the battle.

  3. You make some fair points, though I’ll still take Mike Barone’s seasoned judgment of Christie, over that of the NY-based reporter you cited.

    I’m not worried about Christie’s courage to do what is right, however, because his life experience is so utterly different from that of former Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarenegger.

    Before becoming Governor, Chris Christie was a tough U.S. Attorney, taking on the worst kind of violent street gangs (Double II Bloods, 45 convictions), Mafia figures, helped bust 1500 internet child pornographers, and won convictions on all 130 crooked State and local officials he charged, both Republicans and Democrats alike.

    A guy who did not back down to organized crime, murderous street gangs, or deep-seated government corruption, will not be impressed because some white collar office worker union is upset with him.

    Arnold played the Hero on film … Chris Christie is a hero in the real world.

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