Lowry: Rebranding Christie as GOP's Bill Clinton Takes Agenda

Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 04:20 AM

By Elliot Jager

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If Chris Christie is to bring Republicans the same renewal Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton delivered for Democrats, he needs to articulate a conservative reform agenda, National Review editor Rich Lowry writes in Politico
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Clinton promoted a centrist philosophy to move Democrats away from the left.

In his victory speech following his re-election Tuesday, New Jersey's Republican governor seemed to be addressing a national audience. "Tonight, a dispirited America, angry with their dysfunctional government in Washington, looks to New Jersey to say 'Is what I thinks happening really happening? Are people really coming together?'"

Christie demonstrated he can reach beyond the GOP base to win in a state Barack Obama carried in 2012.

Pulling Latinos, African Americans, women, and a wide demographic swath of New Jersey voters does not automatically translate to the national level.

"On that score, I'd invoke ancient Scottish law and say the verdict is not proven," writes Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

"What Clinton had that Christie evidently lacks is a well-thought-out approach to his party's predicament," writes Lowry.

Clinton offered a new centrist philosophy and public-policy proposals.

"For Christie to capitalize on the opportunity he has created for himself, he will need a conservative reform agenda," writes Lowry.

Kavon Nikrad, a political blogger
, believes an apt comparison is between Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Both were U.S. Attorneys, built political careers based on support from a wide array of voters, and drew admiration for their handling of a crisis.  

Both, too, are viewed warily by the ideologically driven Republican base. Giuliani never convinced them he was pro-life. Christie will have to do better.

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