When he and Bob McDonnell knocked The One for a loop last year on election night, I never expected Christie to emerge as the conservative rock star of the two. Not only did McDonnell have the southern cred, but his victory seemed to matter more. Yeah, granted, Christie’s state is more solidly Democratic, but you could chalk up his upset to Corzine simply being a terrible incumbent. McDonnell’s win portended something more significant, namely, returning Virginia to the red column, which in turn portended all sorts of hopeful things for purplish states this November. Fast-forward six months and what’s happened? McDonnell’s needlessly kneecapped himself with a a culture-war bludgeon while Christie’s become the darling of righty bloggers by drawing a Reaganesque line in the sand on spending. How Reaganesque? William McGurn:

What makes the battle interesting is the way Mr. Christie is throwing the old chestnuts back at his critics.

Here are a few examples, culled from his budget address, public meetings and radio appearances:

The children will be the ones to suffer from your education cuts. “The real question is, who’s for the kids, and who’s for their raises? This isn’t about the kids. Let’s dispense with that portion of the argument. Don’t let them tell you that ever again while they are reaching into your pockets.”…

Budget cuts are unfair. “The special interests have already begun to scream their favorite word—which, coincidentally, is my 9-year-old son’s favorite word when we are making him do something he knows is right but does not want to do—’unfair.’ . . . One state retiree, 49 years old, paid, over the course of his entire career, a total of $124,000 towards his retirement pension and health benefits. What will we pay him? $3.3 million in pension payments over his life, and nearly $500,000 for health care benefits—a total of $3.8 million on a $120,000 investment. Is that fair?”…

Isn’t your talk of ‘stopping the tax madness’ just another ‘Read My Lips’ promise? “[Mine is] much better than ‘Read my lips.’ I’m sorry, it’s just much better. Much stronger. . . . It’s gonna be how my governorship will rise or fall. I’m not signing a tax increase.”

If these clips from FNC are any indication, he’s dead serious about that last part. Prepare yourselves for red meat, my friends. Exit question: How long before this guy’s on the national radar screen? He’s the antithesis of a glamour politician and, needless to say, his austerity agenda is kryptonite to the left, so media coverage outside the Fox universe will be sparse.