It was only yesterday that Sen. Rand Paul referred to Gov. Chris Christie as “the king of bacon” (ahem, alluding to the wasteful federal tax dollars headed to his state and often referred to as “pork,” I’m sure), after Christie had accused him of the same earlier in the day; alas, I was half-hoping this thing would escalate into Epic Rap Battles of History material before the week was out, but on the radio this morning, Paul thought it best to try and put some brakes on this thing before it starts careening out of control. Via Mediaite:
“I didn’t pick this recent fight with the governor down in New Jersey,” Paul said. “But I think the party does better if we have less infighting, so I would suggest if he wants to ratchet it down, I’m more than happy to.”
This isn’t to say Paul is done contrasting himself with what he views as more establishment Republican figures.
“I’ve been trying to help the national party to grow bigger, bring new people into it,” Paul said. “I’m the kind of candidate, if I were to be a national candidate, who says, ‘Young people, Republicans, we will protect your privacy, we do care about the internet, we do want to promote a strong national defense but a less aggressive foreign policy. I think if you see that, I think that will grow our party.”
And again on Fox News with Cavuto this afternoon, via Politico:
“With Gov. Christie it’s gotten a little too personal, so we’re ready to kiss and makeup,” the Kentucky Republican said to Fox’s Neil Cavuto. “I think it’s time to dial it down. I think we’ve got enough Democrats to attack and maybe Republicans can quit attacking Republicans.” …
“We’re going to have to patch things up. If we can sit down. I’m inviting him for a beer. Anytime he would like to come down and sit down at the pub right around the corner from the Senate and have a beer,” Paul told Cavuto. “We’ll formalize it, we’ll put it in writing but I think we could sit down and have a beer and mend things.”
“At times people have said Chris Christie has some libertarian leanings so it’s actually a little ironic that we see him criticizing libertarians in the party for libertarian influences, because some libertarians actually had high hopes that he had some libertarian leanings,” Paul added, joking that maybe they could meet on neutral ground, like Philadelphia, if necessary. “The offer to have a beer with Chris Christie stands. If he wants to break bread and see if we can find some common ground, I think it’ll help the party to not have us feuding.”
I do think it might be better to indeed put any personal animosity and back-and-forth aside, but whatever the case — this particular battle might be over, but the larger policy throwdown is just beginning. This issue is not going to go away, and indeed, will only gain momentum as 2016 approaches and the Republican party makes some serious choices. Might as well start having it out now, no?