About a year ago, New Jersey governor Chris Christie seemed to be getting a lot of great press after his work helping his home state get over the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Competent and charismatic, many Republicans, especially those who were more moderate, hoped that he would be the GOP’s saving grace after their major setback during the 2012 Presidential Election. But since the Washington Bridge scandal, Christie lost a whole lot of face. On the news and social media, people referred to him as a “thug”, and many went as far as to compare the governor to Tony Soprano, the corrupt mafia boss from HBO’s “The Sopranos”. It seemed like Christie had completely fallen from grace. However, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday, Christie received a warm reception as he spoke.
There is not enough getting done in Washington, according to Christie. The Democrat-Republican bickering has seriously damaged any sort of progress, yet Republicans are doing a lot of great work at the state level. Tea Party Republicans have been pushing for a more confrontational approach in Washington, yet Christie has urged the GOP to try a different approach, and to possibly cooperate with Democrats to tackle the issue, rather than focus on the agenda of the party.
One of the main points in Christie’s speech was that the GOP needs to start talking about what they support, instead of what they oppose. The Republican Party, according to Christie, can’t let the media define who they are and what they stand for. He points out that in spite of what media outlets claim, Republicans are much more tolerant and open about different political views than the Democrats. For example, the GOP is much more inclined to accept candidates that are pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage, in spite of the Republican Party’s official stance on those issues. On the other hand, the Democrats have never been welcoming to pro-life or anti-gay marriage politicians. In the words of Christie, “they’re the party of intolerance, not us”.
Despite the scandal, it seems like the Governor of New Jersey hasn’t given up hope yet for the 2016 Presidential Election. If he wants to go that route, however, he’s going to have some stiff competition. A lot of Republicans have been hesitant to support Christie, between the recent scandal and his political views, which many consider to not be “conservative enough”. In addition, a lot of hard hitters in the Republican Party have expressed interest in running for President in the 2016 Presidential Election, such as Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan, both of whom would pose a great challenge for the New Jersey governor.