Saturday, March 2, 2013

Christie's "Snub" by CPAC is Unwarranted

Republican Governor Chris Christie, once a conservative star, has recently fallen on the outs with the group. His embrace of Obama immediately after Superstorm Sandy, which conservatives erroneously believe was responsible for Romney's defeat, was one reason. Then, Christie publicly upbraided House Republicans, and Boehner in particular, for stalling a vote on Obama's $60 billion in Sandy aid. And, the other day, in his State of the State address, Christie announced that he would expand Medicaid in accordance with ObamaCare, which will mean hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money for the state, at least in the short term.

This all culminated in what many have called a "snub" by the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), which passed over Christie when announcing its speaker list for its annual conference.

In Christie Snubbed by CPAC, a Badge of Honor, The NJ Star-Ledger lauded Christie for not toeing the conservative line. The editors said, among other things, that 

The polls tells us that New Jerseyans love Gov. Chris Christie, even though they disagree with him on a range of issues, from the minimum wage to gay marriage. One reason is that he is not a bobblehead partisan who spouts the predictable lines every time his button is pushed. This man speaks his mind.
I left these comments:

"a bobblehead partisan who spouts the predictable lines every time his button is pushed. "

Interesting phrase. That's an apt description of almost every Democrat I know of, because the Democrat Party cleaves unwaveringly to its underlying collectivist/egalitarian ideology. What Leftists fear is an opposition that just as consistently adheres to an opposing ideology, so they sneer at any hint of such opposition. 

That aside, Christie was right to take the Medicaid expansion for the same reason I collect Social Security benefits even though I oppose the program; restitution. For 46 working years, my money was seized from me against my will, to the tune of some $700,000 in SS taxes and foregone investment returns. This was wrong. But I had no choice but to pay it, under threat of physical force; arrest for tax evasion, fines, and jail. So, just as I would be entitled to get my money back from a Bernie Madoff or some street thug, so I am entitled to collect the promised benefits. As long as I am forced into a program, I have a right to fully participate in it.

Likewise, New Jersey taxpayers send much more money in tax loot to Washington than they get back in federal largess. The Medicaid expansion is a means of restitution for that injustice.  (The same logic applies to Sandy aid.) Christie was right to take the Fed dollars related to Medicaid, especially in light of the fact that he refused the ObamaCare exchanges and explicitly opposes ObamaCare. 

Christie is a very mixed bag, at least as governor. It's hard to tell from his policies what his core political convictions are, if he has any. But, conservatives should not fault Christie on Medicaid and Sandy aid. 

Christie, as I said, has played it close to the vest on core convictions. He has done some very disappointing things, like advancing alternative energy subsidies and vetoing of a surrogate motherhood bill. On the other hand, he supports universal, tax credit based school choice, has adamantly refused to raise taxes and pushed through some decreases and supports others, and reigned in spending and public employee benefits, and pulled his state out of a regional cap-and-trade scheme. On other issues, particularly social issues, Christie has punted. For example, he opposed a gay marriage bill. But instead of taking a stand, he instead said the voters should decide in a public referendum. Likewise, he vetoed a minimum wage increase--but not because he opposes minimum wage laws, but on the grounds that the proposed increase was to large.

On balance, I believe Christie's ideological compass points toward the Right. It must be remembered that Christie is governor of a very blue state with a very democratic legislature. If and when he runs for president, I suspect we will see the true ideological colors of Chris Christie emerge.

As a side note, here is my reply to beezerker, who wrote:

Kudos to the SL Board for pointing out the obvious: The GOP now is run by extremists. And while I disagree with Christie on a number of issues, at least he is sane.

beezerker; Exactly what do you mean by "extremist?" If the word has any valid political use, it means consistent adherence to a set of fundamental political principles. By that definition, the only extremist party is the Democrat Party, which cleaves unwaveringly to its underlying collectivist/egalitarian ideology, at least in regards to political economy. As a general rule, Democrats support only policies that advance the ball towards their core socialist beliefs. Where, exactly, is the Republicans' "extremism?" Almost all conservatives and Republicans support the welfare state, and are content to quibble of the fiscal details while paying only lip service to individualism/free markets.

Related Reading:

Is Governor Christie Winning NJ's Public School War?

Governor Christie Rattles New Jersey's Welfare State

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