Chris Christie doesn’t want to talk about the “nonsense” of his feud with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Buzzfeed reports that at the National Governors Association summer meeting being held in Wisconsin from August 1-4, Christie told a reporter who asked him about the internecine spat, “Yeah, we’re not talking about any of that stuff,” he said. “We’re here to be governor. We’re not here to talk about that kind of nonsense. You all have a good day, though.”
It seems odd that the man Paul dubbed the “King of Bacon” would be demonstrating such remarkable self-restraint when a reporter sets revenge on tee and hands him a bat.
Perhaps the answer lies less in a repentant reconsideration and more in political pragmatism, especially now that Rand Paul has reportedly taken the lead in “The Chase” for the White House in 2016.
What is “The Chase”? Creator David Catanese explains:
The start of every run establishes a leader.
And then the chase ensues.
Hence, why we’ve branded our contribution to the great horserace dialogue, THE CHASE.
It’s a running ranking system of the most likely 2016 nominees, with Clinton and Rubio starting at the top of the pack.
But there will be plenty of movement over the next 43 months and the idea at the outset is for you to help craft what running slot each candidate is in at any given moment.
On August 1, Catanese — former Politico reporter — revealed the latest news from his admittedly unscientific survey, and it won’t make Chris Christie very happy.
“Rand Paul is now the leader of the herd of Republicans who covet the 2016 GOP nomination for president,” Catanese writes, “placing the Kentucky senator at the top of The CHASE this month for the first time.”
How did Paul eclipse Christie, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, and other would-be Oval Office occupiers? Catanese says it was the events of the Summer of Paul. He reports:
• He chose to engage Chris Christie’s broadside and **at least** matched him punch for punch, yet also showcased his willingness to deescalate by proposing a beer summit. This continuing fisticuffs raised Rand’s stature and vindicated him as a mover of opinion inside the wayward Republican Party. Oh, and there’s the polling that shows R’s moving in Rand’s direction on the substance of the foreign policy fracas.
• He’s atop polls everywhere. Nationally — and fighting Marco Rubio to a virtual draw in Iowa. Conservatives are flocking towards Paul while punishing the Florida senator for his involvement in the immigration bill. Women dig him — and he’s basically performing as well against Clinton as Marco is.
• He’s owning the media cycle — becoming a ubiquitous presence on television — mostly FOX — while traversing the country — Iowa, Nevada, Tennessee — earning headlines and local chits along the way.
Christie, by the way, maintains his top-tier billing, but he has slipped into fourth in The Chase, behind frontrunner Paul, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Eight others populate Tier Two: Jeb Bush; Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; Texas Governor Rick Perry; Ohio Governor John Kasich; Senator Ted Cruz of Texas; and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. Three of them — Santorum, Perry, and Huntsman — ran for president in 2012.
Fortunately for Christie — who famously cozied up to President Obama — the Establishment media gets it and has provided the portly governor with some campaign calisthenics that will help him sprint past Paul and the others. On August 2, the Washington Post proposed the following training regimen:
1. Win big this year. The larger the margin in his reelection race in New Jersey, the more credibility he will have as the GOP candidate who can win outside of traditionally conservative strong holds.
2. Keep talking about national security, which is the biggest challenge for most governors. He struck a nerve when he bashed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who eventually cried uncle. Christie has the advantage of experience in counter-terrorism as a prosecutor. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Christie will be well-versed in the disasters she allowed to develop on her watch at the State Department.
3. Do some traveling and some listening on foreign policy, bringing in an array of advisers who are credible and respected. Starting now saves him from cramming later.
4. Lay out some conservative agenda items for the next year in Trenton, N.J., on health care, taxes and education to capitalize on his reelection and remind Republicans how effective a conservative executive can be. On the national level, he can put forth some of his successful initiatives and also crib from reformers on the national stage, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
5. Go ahead and throw some punches at national Democrats and at liberals more generally. Christie can remind the right that when it comes to pummeling adversaries there is no one tougher and more amusing. He’s taken on the teachers’ unions, now what about the radical environmentalists who are blocking domestic energy production?
7. Campaign for some Republicans in 2014, thereby getting his face out there and earning some chits from future lawmakers.
8. Lock down the Eastern corridor donors and the rest of Mitt Romney’s donor list; he’s got the ability to starve other candidates of funds and set up an effective financial team for 2016.
9. Be the grown up in the 2016 race and keep up the barrage against Washington, D.C., antics. Fostering the role of the common sense, tough-minded adult won’t take much effort considering some of the competition.
10. Make more appearances in nonpolitical media, evidencing his likability and ease with popular culture.
(Number 6 is missing in the original Post piece).
Maybe Christie should read the results of a McClatchy-Marist poll from last month before he’s convinced to sign up for campaign cardio.
According to a report on the survey, “’Unsure’” tops the field as the choice of one-fourth of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents. Among actual potential candidates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leads with 15 percent, followed closely by the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
When it comes to the prospects for rolling back the federal government’s unconstitutional surveillance or eliminating the myriad unconstitutional agencies and departments of the executive branch, there is little hope that Christie will do anything differently from the current president.
Regardless of who moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2017, the fight to restore the republic back to its constitutional foundation will remain in the states, each of which has not only the right but the responsibility to reject each and every unconstitutional act of the federal government and reestablish themselves as the bulwarks of liberty they were intended to be.
Photo of Sen. Rand Paul: AP Images