To understand just how vacuous the moderate stance has become, consider their embrace of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. John Avlon praised the Garden State firebrand as a “Northeast Republican” with a “moderate record.” Joe Scarborough defended his accomplishments. Moderate donors pleaded with Christie to run in 2012.
Yes, Christie has offended some conservatives, most notably when he cozied up to President Obama after Hurricane Sandy. But a RINO hero? This is the governor who wooed Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney into supporting sweeping pension and health care reform. Then, when Sweeney’s Democratic legislature submitted a budget in the spirit of comity, Christie balanced it by taking his line-item veto pen and crossed out $900 million in spending. The cuts were painful and included AIDS funding, health care programs for the poor, and mental health services. Sweeney called Christie a “rotten prick” and said he “wanted to punch him in the head.” Christie was unapologetic.
Imagine if House Republicans made a move of equivalent aggression and audacity. Masticated filet mignon would fly from the horrified mouths of Washingtonians. Tablecloths would run red with spilled Merlot. Heads would be shaken and Republican Jacobins cursed. Locusts would descend on Falls Church.
Conservatives can’t even support sequestration without drawing condemnation from the center-right. But Christie cuts funding for AIDS patients and he’s the moderate Moses leading the GOP out of the electoral desert. Again, it’s pure air.