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Tags: christie | win | governor | jersey
Despite Easy Win, Christie Still at War With GOP Base

Despite Easy Win, Christie Still at War With GOP Base

By    |   Tuesday, 05 November 2013 10:24 PM

By winning Tuesday night in a landslide election for his second term as governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie moved so far to the left it may be difficult for him to win the Republican nomination for president come 2016.

The GOP governor won in one of the bluest states, where President Barack Obama beat Republican Mitt Romney by 18 points in 2012. To win, Christie had to morph close to not only blue-state values and views, but become close to Obama himself — and he did just that.

Key positions Christie has taken in New Jersey — backing Al Gore's view that global warming is "for real" and caused by humans; his public slamming of the National Rifle Association and conservatives such as GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky; his acquiescence to gay marriage — all will come back to haunt him in what likely will be a fierce Republican primary fight ahead.

Editor's Note: Gov. Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking)

Last year Christie infuriated Republicans by embracing candidate Obama when the president arrived in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, just days before the presidential election.

At that point, polls showed that momentum for Romney stopped and shifted dramatically to Obama.

Many in his own party felt Christie was giving a boost to the Democratic president at the expense of Romney. Christie also declined to invite Romney for a visit to the storm scene.

"Christie's strategy of embracing Democrats and criticizing conservative causes and figures has worked in his big re-election tonight, but in terms of his national ambitions, he's playing a dangerous game," David Pietrusza, historian and author of three best-selling books on presidential election years, told Newsmax.

"He enjoys little margin of error, having endangered his standing with his party's national right-of-center base," Pietrusza said.

During his governorship and campaign, Christie played the role of happy Republican maverick, earning kudos from shows like MSNBC's "Morning Joe," while angering some of the key constituencies of the modern Republican Party.

Chief among them is the NRA, so influential with swing voters in elections that even Democrats are loath to criticize them.

Christie has stridently attacked the Second Amendment group. He called "reprehensible" an ad run by the NRA that pictured Obama's daughters and pointed out that they attended a school protected by more than a dozen armed guards.

"I think we need to have a large, national discussion ... and gun control has to be part of it, too," Christie said in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., last December.

Christie noted that New Jersey has the second toughest gun control statutes in the country — laws the NRA has called "extreme."

Christie has also angered Christian conservatives, a group that by some estimates tallies nearly a third of Republican voters.

In August, Christie signed a law that would levy criminal penalties against parents and Christian ministers if they counsel youth to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. One couple recently filed suit against Christie, charging the law infringes on their rights as parents.

And while Christie repeatedly proclaimed opposition to same-sex marriage and vetoed a bill to legalize the unions, he surprised many conservatives when the state Supreme Court ruled to legalize gay marriage — and Christie ordered the state's acting attorney general not to appeal the decision.

"It's definitely not a profile in courage," Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, told Politico. "You've got a court in New Jersey that doesn't understand that it's supposed to be interpreting the law, not making it up out of thin air."

Christie withdrew his appeal because he doesn't think there's a likelihood of succeeding. "There's no doubt it's going to affect him" politically in a 2016 Republican primary, Brown said.

Ralph Reed, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told Newsmax that Christie "has a case to make to social conservatives."

Reed, a strategist in presidential campaigns and the first executive director of the Christian Coalition, suggested that Christie might emphasize to social conservatives that he is a faithful Roman Catholic and that he oversaw the defunding of Planned Parenthood in his state.

"I think in some ways, he'll face the same challenges that Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani faced," Gary Bauer, president of American Values and himself a former presidential hopeful, told Newsmax.

"He's a Northeastern Republican and so far no one has proven that such candidates can deliver anything in the Northeast, and they end up having a hard time appealing to the base in the Midwest and the South."

Bauer also voiced concerns about Christie putting the brakes on appealing the ruling favoring same-sex marriage because "it fits into a bigger trend that Republicans are being told to follow by the consultants — to just ignore the issue" of same sex marriage.

The New Jersey governor also made national news by calling Sen. Paul and other Libertarian Republicans "dangerous" for opposing government surveillance programs.

Editor's Note: Gov. Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking)

Garden State conservatives almost always give low marks to Christie's appointees to key positions.

His first state attorney general — an appointed position in New Jersey — was Paula Dow, a registered Democrat who took strong stands in favor of abortion and gun confiscation and said "no" to New Jersey joining in the state attorneys general lawsuit against Obamacare.

Pietrusza, the historian, offered up a comparison of Christie to a GOP moderate from a previous era.

"Christie may be on the path not of the Wendell Willkie of 1940 — who won the nomination as a liberal Republican and a fresh face — but of the Willkie of 1944 who had so alienated his party's base that he crashed and burned instantly," he said.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By winning Tuesday night in a landslide election for his second term as governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie moved so far to the left, it may be difficult for him to win the Republican nomination for president come 2016.
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 10:24 PM
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