Chris Christie's Dark Vision for America

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.

Ann Romney’s speech to the Republican National Convention was supposed to be about love—the love she has for husband, and the love they hope they can share and show to the country. It was a nice riff, and would have been a great way to the end the night. Instead, it was the warm-up to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had a different message: Forget love, the only thing that matters is respect. “I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved,” said Christie, urging Republicans—and voters—to abandon the search for a candidate they like and instead choose someone who would get things done.

What’s odd is that this wasn’t a pitch for Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor didn’t make an appearance until late in the speech, and even then, he was presented in terms ludicrous to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of his political persona. Christie presented Romney as someone who will tell “hard truths” to the American people, as if it weren’t already quite apparent—to everyone—that Romney won the Republican nomination by running away from hard truths and telling everyone what they wanted to hear.

More than anything, this was a speech for Chris Christie. He extolled his record in New Jersey—without mentioning the state’s record-high 9.6 percent unemployment—while praising the bipartisan accomplishments of his administration, and promised to bring similar leadership to Washington. He was making a pitch for diminished resources and smaller hopes, with a focus on community and “shared sacrifice”:

The disciples of yesterday’s politics underestimated the will of the people. They assumed our people were selfish; that when told of the difficult problems, tough choices and complicated solutions, they would simply turn their backs, that they would decide it was every man for himself. Instead, the people of New Jersey stepped up and shared in the sacrifice.

In short, it was a manifesto for “Christie-ism”—an aggressively anti-worker conservatism that uses working-class affect and the promise of solidarity to push right-wing policies and mask a broader assault on the social safety net. It’s an approach that could take Christie to the White House. Indeed, this speech was a virtual audition for 2016 and Christie’s inevitable run for the presidency if Romney loses in November.

Of course, it should be said that, for all the focus on tough leadership and hard truths, there was little of either on display in Christie’s address. Christie hit familiar targets—government spending, public-sector unions and Democrats. He made familiar promises to fix entitlements. He said nothing about the one great Republican taboo: higher taxes on the most well-off.

With his calls for “fundamentally smaller government,” the shared sacrifice of Chris Christie (and Mitt Romney) falls entirely on the most marginal members of society: the seniors who rely on Medicaid to pay for long-term care, the students who use Pell Grants to help pay for their college education, the families who use food stamps to get by when the economy is tough, the children who can go to the dentist because the government has invested in their health and well-being.

Christie’s keynote clocked in at under 30 minutes, but his speech was representative of the rhetoric on display at the convention: Built on discredited ideas, it used a shell of substance to hide a cruel and selfish vision of America.

Comments

How are lower taxes for everyone and adressing social security and medicare which will be bankrupt in 20 years a "push for right-wing policies and mask a broader assault on the social safety net"? This is why the discourse in this country is so negative. One way or another entitlements will have to be adressed or we will be like Greece. We can have an adult conversation and try to do something responsible now or we will be forced into it and everyone will lose. Please stop with the scare tactics.

The problem with Greece is not that they have a very large debt. The problem is that Greeks do not want to do anyhting about it. They are adicted to their social welfare and do not care where the money to pay for them come from. They just want their benefits with no means to pay for them. When the Greek government announced reforms to cut those benefits, there were riots in the streets. Then there were elections which did not result in a stable government requiring a second election several weeks later which also did not produce a strong government because Greek people do not want any reductions in government spendings.
Remember all that?
What Dems are doing now in United States is conditioning American population to get adicted to government handouts so that when we become bankrupt the populace would rather relinquish their freedoms than agree to live by their means.

Yeah, just give ppi14 a magic pill so everyone can have lower taxes and social security and medicare will be fixed for everyone. The problem is there will be winners and losers in what the Republicans do. The wealthy will be winners and the eldery, poor, and sick will be losers. I have a more balanced approach. Make everyone sacrifice some to make it work. Everyone loses that way. And of course you don't get true sacrifice from the super wealthy unless you take a ton of their money. If you take $200 million from Mitt Romney, he still has $200 million left, as far as I'm concerned that's not a sacrifice at all.

Oh Jamielle - there you go again. Your opinion piece reminds me of the ostrich who kept his head in the sand and soon found himself in the water because the island had disappeared. No one wants to hear what Christie has to say because the truth is scary. There is not enough rich people or rich peoples money to continue to fund the current safety net. Positions like yours will only result in no safety net because you can be sure when the resources are gone those of us who are self sufficient will look out for ourselves first in true Darwinian fashion.

I don't see how plenty of other Western countries are doing fine while making our safety net look like crap. But put that aside for a second.

You, Mark Crawford, might now be self-sufficient. But let's be clear that you didn't "build that". You inherited the socialization in which your human capital was able to develop and flourish. You might be on top of the hill, looking around and thinking yourself a free man. But your freedom was bought and paid for by the society - the family, the friends, the neighbors, the teachers, the community - you were lucky enough to have been raised in.

So while you're busy going Galt, just try and remember that your lack of humility embarrasses that which you never created to begin with.

"With his calls for “fundamentally smaller government,” the shared sacrifice of Chris Christie (and Mitt Romney) falls entirely on the most marginal members of society: the seniors who rely on Medicaid to pay for long-term care, the students who use Pell Grants to help pay for their college education, the families who use food stamps to get by when the economy is tough, the children who can go to the dentist because the government has invested in their health and well-being."

Uh, why didn't those "seniors" prepare for their own "senior" years, buying the right kinds of insurance early on, when it was cheap, and saving their money? Where are the parents of those kids going to college on other peoples' dimes? Why didn't they save up for their kids' educations? And if they couldn't afford to do that, why did they have kids they couldn't afford to raise properly? Why didn't those people living on food stamps paid for by other people save their money for the times when "the economy is tough?" Why didn't the parents of the kids going to the dentist at other peoples' expense get the right kind of insurance to cover it?

Being irresponsible and improvident should never be an excuse for getting a free ride at everyone else's expense.

"He said nothing about the one great Republican taboo: higher taxes on the most well-off."

Why should " the most well-off" be soaked to pay the bills of the irresponsible, the improvident, and the indolent?

Because this is a Democracy and 50% of us want it that way. Soak the rich. Love it or leave it a$$#hole

And for over three hundred years, over 50% of us thought it was okay to screw blacks. Mob rule doesn't make things right.

The Republican Party still believes it is okay to screw African-Americans. Check out the black voter suppression acts passed by Republican legislatures. That might explain why in some polls Romney receives literally 0 support among African Americans. The three African Americans who are considering voting for him are all speaking at the Republican convention.

If you're referring to the various voter ID measures, anyone too dumb to get some kind of ID is patently too dumb to cast a rational ballot.

It has nothing to with being smart or dumb. In a lot of places they are making it extremely difficult for people to get IDs, including requiring that they provide birth certificates. How many people have their birth certificates handy? Clearly the purpose of these laws is to suppress voting by traditional Democratic constituencies.

Seriously, the highest tax rate was over 90 % for decades, then it lowered to 70 and it was still 50 when Reagan lowered it to 39.6. Then Bush 43 lowered it to 35. The entire Republican party is about the lowering of taxes on the wealthy. That is their moral objective. So don't pretend that this country doesn't have a long history of taxing the super rich. Why change something that worked so well in the 20's, 30's, 40's ,50's and 60's.

Maybe it was changed because it didn't work? As far as that goes, the amount of tax money collected from your loved 90% rate was almost nothing. It would be like having a 90% tax rate now on all income over tens of millions of dollars. You Obama worshipers aren't asking for a high rate on high income, you want a high rate on moderate income. So we fight.

My question is, what is the philosophical justification for demanding that some pay more in taxes than others for the exact same government to which we're all equally subject? Are the "super rich" forced to pay more for having the oil changed in their cars? Of course not. So why are they forced to pay more for that collection of services called "government?"

Since you think the rich and the poor should be taxed the same, I imagine you agree that the rich should not enjoy a lower tax rate for capital gains, dividends, and carried interest.

Actually, I can't see any justification for taxing income at all, regardless of source.

We're all equally American citizens; we should all pay taxes equally. Not equal rates, equal dollars. I've never heard any philosophical objection to that suggestion--they only objection ever offered is that "the rich have more money." So what? The rich don't get better roads or better fire departments or a better Defence Department. They get nothing more for the taxes demanded of them than people who pay no taxes at all. That's simply not fair.

The rich don't get more? You think the poor get equal police protection? You think the Defense Department exists to protect the poor? The rich don't benefit more from the commerce that uses public roads and other infrastructure?

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

Dark visions? Is this Obama lackey nuts? Most hard working Americans probably found Christie refreshing. He did win in a deep blue state, talking just the way he did last night. So for socialists, like this writer, but the times, they are achanging!

We're sick of Obama and all those who make excuses for his failures.

Sure what he said was refreshing, but would he be able to tell wealthy people no. Sorry no tax cut for you, we can't be cutting your taxes with a huge debt and bills to pay.

Sure what he said was refreshing, but would he be able to tell wealthy people no. Sorry no tax cut for you, we can't be cutting your taxes with a huge debt and bills to pay.

Sorry the writing error, but you get my point. Too bad this site doesn't allow editing.

Here is a short entertaining cartoon I found that talks about what Mormons believe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGFAph3lWqw

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