As 2016 approaches, it appears that Chris Christie's foreign policy approach will be a noun, a verb, and 9/11. This leads him to praise government surveillance programs and President Obama, and to attack Rand Paul. In the current GOP climate, I really don't think this is going to work for him:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is ripping libertarians -- including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). -- for challenging government surveillance programs and failing to understand the dangers of terrorism.Um, let's get a fuller version of that "strain of libertarianism" quote:
"This strain of libertarianism that's going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought," the New Jersey governor said on Thursday at a Republican governors forum in Aspen, Colo. "You can name any number of people and (Paul is) one of them."
"As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought," Christie said.Very Giuliani-esque. And Christie's just getting warmed up:
"I think what we as a country have to decide is: Do we have amnesia? Because I don't," he said. "And I remember what we felt like on Sept. 12, 2001."Yet more Rudy-ism:
"These esoteric, intellectual debates -- I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won't, because that's a much tougher conversation to have," Christie said, warning that after the next terrorist attack Americans may point to "this intellectual debate."And as if Christie wasn't sure he'd done enough damage to his 2016 chances, he praised the president on foreign policy:
"President Obama has done nothing to change the policies of the Bush administration in the war on terrorism. And I mean practically nothing," he said. "And you know why? Cause they work."Things have changed in the GOP. I'm not saying that the crazy base has gone full-bore Paulbot and isolationist -- I'm saying that the baseheads' views are evolving.
Right now, the folks in the GOP base are in a bizarre place: they hate Muslims, but they also hate Obama, so there's Paul-esque anger on the right about drones and surveillance, but it's mostly about surveillance of people like themselves and the potential use of drones on Regular Americans in America. Rand Paul embodies this contradiction: his famous filibuster concerned drones, but then he went on to say that it was fine for law enforcement to use drones in hot pursuit of criminals. (I think this may have upset quite a few of his fans, but I see where he was coming from. The new view on the right is: Obama will drone you if you're a law-abiding American who has guns! That's bad -- but if you're an actual criminal, or swarthy foreigner, you're in a completely different category.)
The sweet spot for 2016 Republican candidates, I think, will be some impossible combination of neocon muscularity against them!!! and an approach to us that's tinged with libertarianism. Ted Cruz is likely to hit this sweet spot -- Cruz gave Rand Paul a lot of help in his drone filibuster, but earlier this year he delivered a speech at a gathering sponsored by David Horowitz's Freedom Center titled "Confronting the Threat of Radical Islam" -- with lots of Benghazi talk -- and he's said that "Sharia law is an enormous problem."
But I think a lot of the candidates will hit that sweet spot. Christie could have hit it. But it looks as if he'll be running in 2016 as John McCain 2008, or Rudy Giuliani 2008. That's not smart.
Here's the full Christie clip -- which I found via Matt Drudge's Twitter feed. Drudge, don't forget, is a big fan and retransmitter of what Alex Jones puts out. Drudge helps drive the conversation on the right. If Christie is going old-school neocon -- at a time when what used to be called the war on terror is associated with Obama -- Drudge is going to sic Alec Jones on Christie throughout the campaign.