“A year ago Chris Christie was sworn in as the new governor. He immediately faced a $10.7 billion deficit and catastrophic debt projections. State and local taxes were already high, so that if he raised them he’d send people racing out of the state. So Mr. Christie came up with a plan. He asked the state’s powerful teachers union for two things: a one-year pay freeze—not a cut—and a modest 1.5% contribution to their benefit packages.
“The teachers union went to war. They said, ‘Christie is trying to kill the unions,’ so they tried to kill him politically. They spent millions on ads trying to take him down.
“And it backfired. They didn’t kill him, they made him. Chris Christie is a national figure now because the teachers union decided, in an epic political drama in which arithmetic is the predominant fact, to ignore the math.”
“Generally I’m a fan of the YouTube-friendly governor of New Jersey, but in this clip I think he’s getting a little bit out of control…
“The problem, of course, isn’t that Chris Christie wouldn’t do a great job if he went toe-to-toe in a collective bargaining battle with New Jersey’s government unions. I have no doubt that he would. He cares about the taxpayers a great deal more than he cares about the unions he’s always ripping on. The problem arises when a Democratic governor, whose party gets substantial campaign donations and manpower to stir up unrest, wage street campaigns, etc from the government unions, also sits across from those same unions at the bargaining table to decide on their benefits and pay packages. There’s a built-in conflict of interest there, and no one at the table is really representing the taxpayers who have to pay for everything the government unions get. Also, not all GOP governors are created equal: For every one Chris Christie who relishes the fight with the government unions, there are probably 10 weaker GOP govs who fear the fight because they lack the backbone for the politics of it all. So they give in to the unions without much of a fight, leaving the taxpayer to pick up the tab. The entire process is inherently unfair to the non-unionized taxpayer.”
“Why is Chris Christie the heartthrob of the radio right, while Daniels is suddenly an intolerable RINO? Christie is not more conservative than Daniels, and arguably even less so. Christie told the Newark Star-Ledger that while personally pro-life, he won’t use his office to ‘shove that down people’s throats.’ He supports New Jersey’s restrictive gun laws. And like Daniels, he has decided it’s tough enough to face his public-sector unions that he does not need to start an unrelated fight over right-to-work with private-sector unions. Yet the most acid-tongued of all right-wing commentators, Ann Coulter, has championed a Christie candidacy, asserting that if he declines to run, ‘Romney will be our nominee and we’ll lose.’
“The difference is this: talk radio is not much interested in the substance of a politician’s views or the reasons for decisions. Talk radio wants a confrontational style, and unlike the soft-spoken Daniels, the fierce Christie meets the test. The rule seems to be: it’s OK to be a Republican moderate – provided you are belligerent enough about it.”