Chris Christie — Obama’s ideological heir when it comes to Israel

Chris ChristieWhen Chris Christie burst upon the scene, I admired him for being willing to do what no other American politician would:  tackle the teacher’s union head on.  He was articulate and unafraid.  I still admire him for that.  But as time went by, we learned a bit more about Christie.  It began to seem that his willingness to stand up to the teacher’s union wasn’t necessarily a principled stand, but was a bully’s attack on an entity with which he didn’t wish to share power.  Conservatives were also put off by his open embrace of Barack Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a piece of over-the-top theatrics that exceeded even what a Democrat governor might be expected to do.

And worst of all, from my viewpoint, we learned — over and over and over — that, when push comes to shove, Chris Christie will always side with Islamic and Saudi interests against American interests.  At first, those stories sounded like nasty rumors.  They then piled up enough to present a picture of a man who’s made a decision about which side he prefers in the America v. Islam debate, and it’s not the side I choose.  Should you have any further doubt about that, Daniel Pipes details how Christie has bought the Palestinian “occupation” narrative hook, line, and sinker.

In other words, it looks as if any Christie presidency would be an Obama redux:  bullying, corruption, and antisemitism.  I can do without that, so Chris Christie, the man who once seemed to have so much promise, is hereby knocked off my list of potential presidential candidates.

Understanding scandals — it’s not what’s done, it’s who’s done it that counts

His Girl FridayI haven’t been much of a Chris Christie supporter lately.  In the beginning, I admired his ability to stand up to the teacher’s unions.  Since then, I’ve decided that this was less a principled position and more a reflection of a highly aggressive personality.  Outside of the unions, he’s too much of a RINO, and I’m suspicious about his Saudi ties.  He’d be a better president than Obama, but that’s a low bar.  If he ended up on top of the Republican ticket opposite Hillary, I’d vote for him, but primarily because Hillary would finish the job Obama’s done, and anything is (I think) better than that.  So that’s my view about Chris Christie.

What I want to talk about here is the scandal.  It seems that nothing has ever happened before that’s been as thrilling as the fact that a Republican governor’s employee had a nearly unspoken agreement with another of the governor’s employees that, if a Democrat mayor ticked them off, they’d use their power to create traffic havoc in his town.  (For punsters, we finally have a “toll-gate” scandal.)  A 91-year-old lady whose ambulance got stuck the traffic jam died later, and her death could be attributed to the delay.  (Only God knows for sure.)  The whole affair is nasty, unprincipled, and petty.  The employees deserved to be fired, and Christie fired them.  The media is having what Matt Drudge describes as a feeding frenzy.  Fine.  It’s their job to sell the news.

But what about a few other scandals that probably could have sold news too?

A Secretary of State, despite repeated pleas from an ambassador in one of the world’s most dangerous areas, refuses to heighten security.  The ambassador and three others die.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s diplomatic mission in a foreign country is attacked.  Four people die and unknown numbers of confidential documents vanish.  The besieged nation’s President Secretary of State speak once and then both refuse to explain their whereabouts.  Rumors are that the president went to bed early to prepare for a campaign event.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A president deputizes one of his employees to go on Sunday talk shows to explain that an attack on its diplomatic mission, which left four dead, including an ambassador, occurred because of a 10-minute YouTube video that was perceived as being uncomplimentary to Islam.  To add an air of verisimilitude to this otherwise unconvincing narrative, the administration trumps up charges to arrest the video’s maker, in what many see as a blatant attack on free speech in the service of Islam.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

An Attorney General arranges to have hundreds of guns smuggled into Mexico.  There are two theories about this, neither good. The first is that the guns were supposed to be traceable, so as to track gun and drug crime coming out of Mexico, but that the AG’s incompetent employees forgot to add the necessary electronics.  The second is that the AG deliberately released weapons into Mexico to support his anti-gun campaign.  “See,” he would say.  “We told you that our nation’s guns are despoiling the world.”  In any event, the guns with the AG’s name on them killed one of his own border agent as well as hundreds of Mexican civilians.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s troops, most notably its Marines, sweat, and bleed, and die in a terrorist-ridden town in Iraq.  Their success there helps turn a years’ long war around, paving the way for a simulacrum of democracy in a country whose people lived for decades at the mercy of a sadistic tyrant.  It’s not true democracy, but it’s close enough; people are experiencing relative freedom for the first time in their lives; and the government is relatively friendly the liberating western nation.  At the end of WWII, faced with this situation, the victorious nation stuck around for another 60+ years to hang onto that victory.  This time, though, the president walked away without a second glance and without any effort to secure hard-won gains.  Two years after the president declared, not victory, but “war over,” that same town has once again fallen to the terrorists.  The president is silent.  The media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s people learn that the government is spying on their every communication.  It started before the current president, but has escalated madly during his administration.  Even some media outlets learn that the government has been spying on their telephone calls.  One would think that this outrage would encourage them to reconsider their blind faith in the current administration.  It does not.  After a few huffs and puffs, the media does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

A nation’s tax-collecting agency, which is it’s most feared and powerful agency, turns out to have been engaged in a systematic effort to silence all conservative and pro-Israel speech.  The timing shows that the effort was manifestly intended to disrupt the 2012 presidential election, and it may well have done so, giving a squeaker of an election to the candidate from the Democrat-party.  All people of good will, regardless of party, should be horrified by this type of partisan overreach from a nation’s most powerful agency.  The media, however, is unperturbed.  It does minimal reporting and then ignores the story.

Beginning in 2009, a president tells his people a series of bald-faced lies.  The documentary evidence shows that he knew that they were lies when he told them.  That is, it wasn’t ignorance or wishful thinking on his part.  Instead, he was running a scam.  This giant fraud begins to unravel on October 1, 2013, and with every passing day, the public learns more about the administration’s lies, incompetence, and cronyism.  This knowledge is made manifest in the most painful of ways, as millions of people lose the security of insurance plans, doctors, and hospitals, even as they are being forced to pay more money for fewer benefits.  Although the media dutifully points out the problems in the first month, by the second month, it returns to lap dog status, crowing about thousands of sign-ups, with scant attention to the fact that it’s unknown whether those who signed up have actually paid  for new policies.  The same media downplays the certain fact that more people have lost beloved policies than gained lousy ones under the new system.

Yes, I tried to keep that nation’s identity anonymous, but you’ve figured it out.  The nation in which a president and his administration, through a combination of fraud, lies, and incompetence, have caused people’s deaths, wasted military deaths, destroyed a functioning health care system, spied on its citizens, and possibly corrupted election outcomes, routinely gets a pass from the media.  Our MSM does just enough reporting to lay claim to some credibility as a “news” outlet, and then ignores as hard as possible whatever issue could hurt a Democrat president.  The whole thing is declared “over” after Jon Stewart, through selective clips, announces that Fox News is insane.  The media heaves a sigh of relief, and goes back to guarding the administration.  That system, of course, doesn’t apply when a vaguely Republican governor is tied to a traffic jam (admittedly, a malicious, unprincipled traffic jam).  In that case, the 24-hour news cycle kicks into overtime.

Looking at today’s headlines, I’d have to say that the biggest scandal of them isn’t either Christie’s toll-gate or Obama’s just-about-everything-gate.  Instead, it is the fact that we have a Democrat lap-dog media that still has the temerity to call itself a “free press.”

Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election

As is too often the case, Republicans are busy snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  Despite the fact that the Obamacare debacle has been playing out before Americans’ eyes for more than three weeks, the RNC has done absolutely nothing to capitalize on the fact.  Jonah Goldberg suggests at least sending out a letter:

If I was writing it, I would say something like, “The president vowed to you on numerous occasions (see attached document) that you could keep your insurance and that you would save money under the Affordable Care Act. This was untrue. Whether it was a well-intentioned mistake or a more deliberate deception, what the president and his party told you was flatly untrue, and we said so at the time.”

I then might go on to promise something like “the party will do everything it can, within its power, to alleviate the burden the Democrats have imposed on you and the country. We are of course limited by the fact that the president and his party control the agenda in Washington. If you think we’re due for a change, we’d love your support. If you think these changes are good for you, your family or the country, then obviously we politely disagree. If you think — as we do — that there’s got to be a better way, we hope you’ll give us a fresh look.”

That’s a nice letter.  Without condescension, it reminds voters that the Republicans predicted and tried to stop this train wreck, it offers that Republicans will do whatever is in their power to help remedy the situation, and it reminds voters that the best remedy is a Republican majority in 2014 and again in 2016.

Goldberg’s good advice notwithstanding, Republicans are silent — or, if they’re not silent, they’re still engaged in a bloody internecine war that leaves innumerable openings for Democrats to blame everyone from Cruz, to Bush, to Nixon, to generic Republicans for Obamacare.

Last night, 60 Minutes, while coyly keeping both Hillary’s and Obama’s names out of the story, revealed what conservatives have long known about Benghazi:  it was a carefully planned al Qaeda attack; al Qaeda warned everyone and his mother that it would take place; embassy security in Benghazi was a joke; the administration had been told repeatedly about the attack and about the security situation; and the administration did precisely nothing before or during the attack.

Now that 60 Minutes has broken the wall of silence, this should be a headline story in every paper and on every TV show in the land.  But of course it’s not.  And with the exception of Lindsey Graham, who’s doing some huffing and puffing, Republicans are sitting there with their thumbs in their mouths.

John McCain is going one step further, and praising Hillary to high Heaven.  (Could it be that McCain is being Machiavellian here?  One could argue that McCain hasn’t abandoned the idea of running for president in 2016.  He wants an opponent who will be easy to beat and, with the Benghazi albatross around her neck, McCain thinks she’s that opponent.  Did I just hear you say that’s an insanely stupid idea that gives McCain too much credit?  I think you’re right.  Forget I ever said it.)

We tend to see the Democrats as winning through lies, chicanery, media manipulation, and outright fraud (not to mention the whole IRS thing).  I do think, though, that we have to acknowledge that it’s not just that the Democrats win elections.  The Republicans lose elections.

McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012 were both abysmal candidates under any standards.  This isn’t to say whether they would have been good or bad presidents (although I suspect either would have been significantly better than Obama).  The problem began and ended with their campaigns:  both were boring speakers; both were flat-footed debaters; both were utterly incapable of articulating core conservative values that bind together everyone from libertarians to the fading Reagan Democrat coalition; both failed to recognize the internet’s importance in their campaigns; and both were afraid to get their hands dirty in dealing with a black man (although McCain has always been happy to fight his own political family).

My feeling now is that if Chris Christie or Ted Cruz throw their hats into the ring, and if they can survive the inevitable circular firing squad from fellow Republicans fighting in the primaries, one or the other will top the ticket.  This has nothing to do with whether they’ll be good presidents (although I’m sure each would be substantially better than anyone the Democrats dredge up).  Both, however, will be good candidates.  Unlike McCain and Romney — and unlike Obama, Hillary, and Warren — these guys are so fast on their feet that they can wow people by giving extemporaneous speeches without teleprompters and notes, and they’ll never fall into “um” or “uh” land the way Obama, McCain, and Romney did.  Debates will be enjoyable blood baths, with the Democrats doing the (rhetorical) bleeding.

When it comes to articulating a conservative position, Cruz will have the edge over Christie.  Christie has proven that, for the most part, his conservative beliefs begin and end with defanging the unions.  I respect that, I really do, but it’s going to leave him rudderless and speechless when it comes to articulating ideas that can actually win people over to something grander than union bashing.

Both will have to tone down their arrogance.  Unlike Obama, who floated through life on an affirmative action cloud, both these men are indeed smarter than most people, and they have the resumes to prove it — not just jobs obtained, but actual accomplishments.  Since the media will not be able to portray them as idiots, as it did with George Bush and John McCain, it will have to go the Romney route with both:  they’re evil plutocrats, a la Snidely Whiplash, just dreaming of ways to tie the American people to some foul capitalist railway track to let them die.  Since both tend to be arrogant, they’re going to have to find some humility, or else this media charge will stick and destroy them.

Significantly, they’re both guys who live for the fight. Christie’s going to have a bit of a hard time overcoming his bromance with Obama, but Cruz is going to come out swinging, and will take no prisoners regardless which Democrat ends up representing that ticket.

The fact that both Christie and Cruz are lawyers is disappointing. It would be splendid to see someone other than a lawyer in the White House. As an ex-military guy, Allen West would be a delightful addition to the presidential roster, but I just don’t see it happening. I think the world of him, I admire his principles, I believe he’s a fighter, and he’s a good speaker, but even by the low standards Obama set, a two-year tenure in the House probably isn’t going to convince the American people to elect West president.

Do you have predictions for 2016?  I know it’s a long time away, but it’s worth thinking about now, both because it’s a pleasant diversion from depressing headlines and because the headlines about Obamacare, Benghazi, and the economy are tarnishing the Democrat brand.

Assuming that the Republicans can stop fighting each other and start riding the anti-Democrat wave, what should they do?  And who would you like to see getting groomed for the 2016 White House?

How far is too far when it comes to attacking primary candidates? *UPDATED*

As the primary season heats up, here’s a good question to ask:  If we want to end the primary season with a viable political candidate to face off against Barack Obama, are there limits limits to the nature of the attacks that bloggers launch against the Republican candidates during this primary season?

My take is that it is very important for us to learn as many facts as possible about the candidates, whether we’re learning good things or bad.  However, I’m not yet ready to leap up and castigate any candidate as the devil incarnate.  (Even Ron Paul, whom I would not like to see win, can be challenged through facts, not hyperbolic insults.)

As we learned in 2008, there are no perfect Republican candidates.  Unfortunately, the other lesson we’ve learned in the last 2.5 years is that Obama is a perfectly scary Democrat president/candidate.  This means that, when the Republican primary ends, we need the last Republican candidate still standing to have the strength to face off against Obama.  If we inflict too many wounds against our own people, the primary winner may be so weakened, s/he cannot win the final, presidential battle.  Further, if s/he’s bleeding badly from the ideological wounds we inflict, Independents will shy away, as they will almost certainly be incapable of discerning between the wounds inflicted during internecine conflict from the type of fatal flaws that spell death at the presidential polls.

As of today, I can easily say yucky things about every one of the Republicans now seeking office (especially Ron Paul):

(1) Michele Bachmann has no more executive experience than Obama did at this stage in the game, and we all rightly predicted that he was grossly unprepared for high executive office;

(2) Paul Ryan, should he weigh in, will also lack that experience, plus he’s got a geeky quality that might not play well in the media;

(3) Mitt Romney has the RomneyCare albatross and all the charm (and good looks) of a Ken doll;

(4) Ron Paul takes libertarianism to an inhuman extreme that includes jettisoning the nation of Israel and supporting Iran’s quest for nuclear arms;

(5) Rick Perry tried to strong-arm Gardasil, whether because of fear of cancer, ties with Merck, power lust, or something else, plus he’s kind of smarmy;

(6) Chris Christie, should he weigh in, has sharia ties, offends people with his outspokeness, and will have to fight the fat-taboo that governs in America.

And on and on and on.  (Please note that, with the exception of Ron Paul, who seriously rubs me the wrong way, I can just as easily say a whole lot of good things about the candidates and potential candidates listed above.)

The fact is, nobody makes it very far in political office without chutzpah, arrogance, a touch of insanity, and a whole lot of compromising.  The only people who don’t make mistakes are those who don’t do anything at all.  Being an inert lump doesn’t get one far, especially politically.

My current candidate of choice is the William Buckley candidate — the one who can win.  There is no Churchill on the horizon and even Churchill, a politician I admire with something approaching ferocity, had his disastrous qualities and made horrible decisions that resulted in uncounted deaths.  He was, nevertheless, a leader, and his core values were the right ones, especially during a time when those values were so desperately important to the survival of the Western world.

Let’s definitely get all the facts on the table.  Good, bad, in-between, whatever.  If you have opinions, by all means advance them.  But sheath the long knives.  The last candidate standing has to be in sufficiently good health to take on a sitting president with a war chest that’s reached historic proportions.  Too much blood-letting in the lead-up to the big campaign will leave him (or her) supine and helpless.  (Not to mention that the MSM will happily recycle, only with longer knives, the worst arguments made against the Republican who makes it through the primary gauntlet.)

Having blathered on here, let me say something about conservatives in the main:  As the cheerful, neat, polite Tea Party rallies showed, ours is a surprisingly congenial political party.  While we may disagree with each other, we do so with civility and respect.  Our core values revolve around personal integrity and love for country.  Debate enriches, rather than demeans.  It is within that spirit that conservatives should be analyzing, challenging and supporting the Republican candidates.  If we bring out the long knives now, we run the risk of presenting the nation with a bleeding carcass as the official Republican candidate.

UPDATE:  Rob Miller, at JoshuaPundit, expands on my point.  As always, when I read something I writes, I smack my forehead and think “I wish I’d said that.”

UPDATE II:  The Razor weighs in too.  He opens with the excellent point that we’d better get everything out on the table now, before the MSM does it for us.  I agree with that entirely.  My only suggestion is that our tone should be one of inquiry, not one of long-knives attack.

My dream candidate

I was amusing myself imagining a dream candidate, one that would attract a lot of crossover votes.  I came up with this political personality:

And this physical image:

I would so vote for this man.  Of course, because I’m not quite that shallow, I would vote in a second for Christie even if he didn’t look like Keanu.  But it would certainly be nice if he did….

What helps is that Keanu keeps his mouth shut:  he doesn’t bloviate about politics and the environment.  He does his job and goes home.  It’s the same reason I like Brendan Fraser.  They keep the fantasy alive by allowing me to impose my values on their appealing screen personalities, without spewing forth venom and stupidity on a regular basis.

“If you’re a normal, thinking, breathing human being….”

New Jersey missed out on $300 million in federal “Race to the Top” education funds.  It turns out that the state DOE filled out the application wrong.  But before you start ripping Chris Christie for government mismanagement, check out his masterful, and simultaneous, acceptance of responsibility and attack against the feds:

His approach, by the way, has “good lawyer technique” written all over it.

Pyramid schemes — so simple even a child can understand them

Today, I told my children, who are 11 and 12, about pyramid schemes.  Since it’s always easiest for me to focus on people, I started my story with the first famous American pyramid schemer:  Charles Ponzi, who gave his name to the whole racket.

I explained the Ponzi scheme to the kids in the simplest of terms, using very easy math:  I told them that Ponzi promised his first investors that, if they gave him their money, he would give them double that amount back.  (I actually don’t know if he promised to double the money, but it was an easy concept for the kids to grasp.)  Excited by the prospective of money for nothing, these people readily handed their money to Ponzi.  They were the first tier of investors.

Ponzi then went out and found a larger number of investors, who also gave him their money.  These were the second tier of investors.  He took the money he received from the second tier, and gave it to the first tier.  The first tier was very happy.  Having done nothing, they nevertheless doubled their investment.  Many of them came back for more, reinvesting their money, and joining the third tier of investors.  With the money from that third tier, Ponzi paid off, big time, to the second tier.

This went on quite happily for a while, I told the kids, but then something inevitable happened:  Ponzi stopped finding a sufficient number of new investors whose fresh funds could pay off his old investors.  Since Ponzi was just moving money around — he was not providing a service or creating goods — the only thing that kept the money flowing was fresh blood.

So, I asked my attentive little audience, what happened then?  My 12 year old was quick with a reply:  “The whole system collapsed.”  Smart child.

Before I was even able to go on from them, my 11 year old, eyes suddenly widening, announced, “That’s like what the government does.  It takes money from people who work, and gives it to people who don’t work.”   Really smart child.

(By the way, I am absolutely not making this up.  That’s the story I told, and that is verbatim how my children responded, no editing, no augmenting.)

I leave you with a replay of Chris Christie, who speaks about the Day of Reckoning that will be inevitable unless we sharply turn away from the Progressive government’s giant Ponzi scheme:

Oh, I have one more “by the way,” apropos Gov. Chris Christie.  As you know, I believe lots of uninformed Americans voted for Obama, not because of his qualifications, but because they were swept away by the rapture of voting for the first black president.  I also read somewhere that a candidate in Texas is running, not on her actual qualifications for the job, but on her promise to the voters that, if they vote for her, she’ll be the first transgendered whatever it is she’s running for.

I mean, honestly, the way the media frames elections lately, the most important thing is to push the identity politics side of someone’s candidacy as the primary consideration, trumping all other matters.  So how about all of us starting a campaign for Chris Christie, promising Americans that, if he wins, he’ll be the first rotund president in the 21st Century, and the first since William Howard Taft?

After all, considering how badly people of weight are treated in America, it seems to me that Christie is already well on his way to wearing the victim moniker so beloved of the press.  The only problem, of course, is that Christie might, just might, be offended by victim/identity politics status, and might actually want to run on issues and competency.

“The day of reckoning is here”

I posted earlier today about Great Men, and how they look at the waves heading their way and decide to leap athwart those waves and drive them in certain directions.  Chris Christie is one of those men.  He truly has the capacity for greatness:

Please note his sense, his morality, his decency, his coherence, his humility, and his intellectual honesty, and contrast it with the flat, emotion-free, blame-filled, hopeless aspect Obama presented in his first Oval Office address.  One man is surfing the wave, the other is on the beach, trying to avoid getting drowned (and to Hell with the rest of us).