Sunday, May 16, 2010

Giv'em Hell Christie

By now you've at least heard of New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie's exchange with the "thin-skinned reporter". If you haven't seen it, you must.

If you're a conservative, you were joined by millions of like-minded others who, when they first saw this, could be heard almost screaming, "FINALLY!" Christie's response to the transparently liberal reporter's question, as well as to his underlying premise, was aggressive and unapologetic. If he wasn't already a national GOP favorite, he soon will be, and that despite the fact that he's effectively pro-choice. ("I'm personally opposed, but....")

The more "sophisticated" members of the Republican Party, you know, those who spill more ink and fill more air time disparaging Sarah Palin than they do critiquing Barack Obama, should take a lesson from Christie's performance, as well as from the reaction it has engendered among the GOP's rank and file, not to mention the Tea Partiers.

I will concede that Christie's actual words, his delivery, and his tone were no doubt objectively superior to anything Mrs. Palin could have pulled off in a similar setting. But the Party sophisticates are wrong if they think that that is what defined his "victory" in this episode. What Christie demonstrated, what he and Palin share, and what makes them increasingly darlings of the Right, is much more basic, more primal even, than that. It is simply the willingness to fight. On the Right, temporizing politicians, even if only in tone, are dead. The stakes are too high, and everyone knows it.