Republican Party

Chris Christie Hammers Rand Paul As He Defends President Obama

We all wondered what would happen to the Republican Party after 2012: would it collapse, would it reinvent itself, would it grasp cognitive dissonance to its breast like a baby it’s blanket? The latter seems to have been the most popular response, but lately, the Republican Party has become interesting again.

Why? The looming shadow of 2016 of course, a year to which the GOP has attached a religious significance.

Republicans continue scrambling to position themselves for the next presidential election and hawkish Republicans are pushing back at the libertarian branch of the Republican Party – at least where defense spending is concerned.

In case you missed it, on Thursday, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) said Rand Paul (R-KY) is dangerous because libertarians don’t understand the danger of terrorism. Speaking at a Republican governors forum at the Aspen Institute in Aspen Colorado, Christie opined:

This strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought. You can name any number of people and (Paul is) one of them.

Christie brought up 9/11:

These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have.

“The next attack that comes, that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are going to be looking back on the people having this intellectual debate and wondering whether they put …” He let his voice trail off.

Rand Paul’s response to all this is that Chris Christie needs a new dictionary. Doug Stafford, one of Paul’s senior advisers, said in a statement to Politico:

If Gov. Christie believes the constitutional rights and the privacy of all Americans is ‘esoteric’, he either needs a new dictionary, or he needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years. Defending America and fighting terrorism is the concern of all Americans, especially Sen. Paul. But it can and must be done in keeping with our Constitution and while protecting the freedoms that make America exceptional.

By Friday, Paul was suggesting Christie was pulling a Charlie Crist, and changing parties.

Christian nationalist Paul then started tweeting, pressing his counter-attack, in the process revealing his incomplete understanding of what the U.S. Constitution means:

You would think imposing a theocracy on the democracy established by that Constitution is unconstitutional, too. You know, the First Amendment and all….

But hey, Christian nationalists have only an incomplete understanding of the Bible too. What’s an ignorant, white trash bigot going to do?

Other Paul tweets on Friday kept up the pressure:

And on Facebook, Paul said, “Chris Christie thinks freedom is dangerous. What’s dangerous is a foreign policy that borrows from China to pay people who burn our flag in Egypt.”

Ouch. I guess Christie really got him riled up.

Look at the next couple of tweets:

And because Chistie says he is championing the victims of 9/11:

Significantly, Christie hasn’t bothered to respond.

Ironically, Paul is echoing Obama’s rhetoric here by championing freedom with principles. But what is also interesting, is that while attacking Paul, Christie, having already had the president’s back in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, defended Obama – again, at least where foreign policy is concerned.

Of course, what Christie said lines up well with the progressive take on Obama’s foreign policy and NSA surveillance, in that it is a continuation somehow of that of the Bush administration:

President Obama has done nothing to change the policies of the Bush administration in the war on terrorism. And I mean practically nothing. And you know why? Cause they work.

Christie says the proof is in the pudding,

I want to say that I think both the way President Bush conducted himself and the way President Obama has conducted himself in the main on those types of decisions hasn’t been different because they were right, and because we haven’t had another one of those attacks that cost thousands and thousands of lives.

Christie is an interesting guy, a far more complex individual than Rand Paul, the man he is attacking. He is unusual in that he does not toe the doctrinaire line, a line so narrow today that to stray but a tiny bit means not only treason against the United States but to spit in the face of God.

Christie doesn’t seem to care. And he’s crazy like a fox. He no doubt understands that by going his own way, he is providing the only real alternative to the batsh*t crazy wing of the Republican Party – Christian nationalists, Tea Party extremists, and religious zealots. Without having to be very reasonable at all, he comes across as a moderate.

And let’s face it, sanity is a very attractive trait. He no doubt also understands just how unpopular Congress has become, in large part due to Republican extremism, and how unhappy Republicans are with their own party. Of all the potential Republican candidates for president, Chris Christie can get the moderate and independent votes that eluded the perpetually befogged and insincere Mitt Romney.

And Christie picked a good time to strike: Besides libertarianism reflecting a deep rift in the GOP, as David Grant noted at the Christian Science Monitor, Rand Paul hired a white supremacist, Virginia’s AG wants to ban sodomy between married couples, and Ted Cruz is cross-hugging Christian extremists in Iowa, and Rick Perry is engaging in total war on Texas women.

What better time to jump into the middle of the road, or at least as close to it as any Republican has been willing to get lately. Chris Christie is positioning himself as the man to beat in 2016.

As I said, crazy like a fox.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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