I agree with the basic premise of Charles Blow's latest column -- that it would be a bad thing if Chris Christie wins the 2016 presidential election, and not primarily because of Bridgegate. But when Blow endeavors to explain why Christie shouldn't win, it's as if he's all but forgotten what Christie has done as governor:
... the focus on the scandal has taken too much of the focus off the meat of the matter: that for many progressives, this must be a continuity election.Really, Charles? You want to tell people of a progressive bent that Christie is a bad choice, and the best you can come up with is that he's a moderate on some issues and "unsettlingly ambiguous" on others? How about conservative? How about right-wing?
Chris Christie and candidates like him should frighten progressives not because some deem him charming but because he's a shifter. He has built a reputation on being a straight-shooter, but he has a track record as a needle-threader.
There are some issues on which one could argue that Christie is a moderate, but on others he's unsettlingly ambiguous, vacillating between extremes.
For instance, he used to favor abortion rights, now he's anti-abortion. He believes in exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, but also supports parental notification and a 24-hour waiting period.
And, although he doesn’t believe that homosexuality is a sin and believes "people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual," he doesn't support same-sex marriage. In fact, Christie vetoed a same-sex marriage bill in the state in 2012. Last year a judge ruled that the state must allow same-sex marriages.
As for immigration, this is how the editorial board of The Star-Ledger put it in December:
"... When the governor was seeking the Latino vote weeks ago, he assured advocates he'd support New Jersey's version of this bill. But now that he's been re-elected with 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, he's backpedaling....”
Instead of rooting for a bridge to drag Christie under, progressives must focus without deviation on the issues that cry out for continuity in 2016....
Have you completely forgotten his first term?
Have you forgotten the slashing of government workers' pensions (and the demonization of those workers), which is now being followed up with the pursuit of additional attacks on pensions? Have you forgotten about the cancellation of a high-speed rail project, or New Jersey's withdrawal from the multi-state Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which happened a few months after Christie met with David Koch? Have you forgotten that in 2010 Christie cut $1 billion is state education aid but handed out $2.3 billion in business tax breaks in his first three years as governor?
Really, Charles? The Obama hug and the Springsteen talk and the recent nice-guy act have flushed all this from your memory? (Though when I look around the "liberal media," it seems as if you're not alone in this.)
Christie did all that in a blue state is with a Democratic-majority legislature (albeit a round-heeled one). What would he do as president with a GOP House and (quite possibly) a GOP Senate?
Christie is not "ambiguous," except on a few social issues. We know what kind of president he'd be: a Republican president. That should be enough to put progressives on high alert.