Current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spent the entire night trying to pitch himself as one of the more moderate Republican, as more Trump-like than Trump, and also very conservative. Christie got his attacks and comments in early and toward the end was only there to make up the numbers; his poor poll numbers resulted in him being on the farthest right podium which made it difficult for him to debate with some of the other candidates despite him often trying to.
When asked about his credentials as an outsider he joked that “I’m a Republican in New Jersey, I wake up every day as an outsider”, before gloating that he “vetoed more tax increases than any governor in US history”, which to a Republican crowd went down well. The only problem with boasting about that fact is that New Jersey needs to put its taxes up because, according to the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services, as of late July 2015 the state’s structural deficit was at $10.2 billion; boasting about vetoing tax rises is like an alcoholic boasting that he’d missed every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Christie’s next chance to speak came when he spoke about being the “first pro-life governor in New Jersey since Roe v. Wade”, as well as declaring that he had defunded Planned Parenthood six years ago and that he had vetoed refunding the organisation eight times. He then complained that Republicans should be criticising Hillary Clinton, not each other, and that they should all be forcing President Obama to take action to defund Planned Parenthood.
On immigration Christie pointed out that Donald Trump was full of shit when it comes to deporting 12 million undocumented immigrants by saying that a president would have to deport 15,000 people every day for two years, which is impossible given the current levels of law enforcement officers and funding. In order to seem tough on the issue he said that as president he would build a wall, use drones, take fingerprints of everybody on a visa, and use the FBI, DA and ATF to police the US-Mexican border. He also gratuitously brought up the fact that he was a United States Attorney in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, which he did later on as well but at least at that point the conversation was about terrorism. Speaking of terrorism his remarks on that issue were very limited in which he said that Bush was right to invade Afghanistan and to pass the Patriot Act, both of which are now regarded as incredibly authoritarian.
He also criticised both Trump and Fiorina by saying that the two were only concerned with their careers and that Republican politicians should stop childishly fighting, which was a guaranteed applause prompt. He later went on to say that he would “prosecute Hillary Clinton in Presidential debates”. Christie’s final appearance was on the issue of climate change in which he said, although he believes that human activity contributes to climate change, that the government shouldn’t being ruining the economy to combat it; unfortunately this is a code-phrase for ‘I believe humans contribute to climate change but I’m not going to do enough about it’.
Christie has no hope of becoming the Republican candidate and should have run in 2012, and this showed at the debate. The Republican Party’s base is now far too extreme to ever vote for Christie, especially as the one thing that marked him out as different, his ‘in your face attitude’, is now done to an even greater extreme by Donald Trump which makes the New Jersey Governor like Nelson Mandela. The mainstream media seems to say that he did well, but I don’t see how because on all issues of substance his moderate stances evaporated and he has been unable to recover the support of the base after the Bridgegate scandal in 2013.