New Jersey Governor is still running for the Presidency even though he isn’t the establishment’s choice, he isn’t the far-right’s choice, and his persona as a straight-talking north-eastern Republican has been overshadowed by Donald Trump’s success. Christie’s poll numbers were barely enough to get him on the stage and will not win the nomination. But, for the sake of fairness, let’s analyse what the Governor said.
Christie’s first contribution came on the topic of terrorism in which he claimed that because of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton “everywhere is a target”. I don’t support all of Obama’s policies when it comes to tackling terrorism but to say that the terrorist threat to the United States is all Obama and Clinton’s fault is ludicrous. Once again the Governor played the 9/11 card, and then said that “we need a President and a Cabinet who recognise that their first priority is to protect the United States”. This is a strange statement because it implies that Obama and his Cabinet don’t care about national security, which is obviously not true.
The New Jersey Governor’s next comments, unsurprisingly, brought up 9/11 again. He did however make a point about experience which was an appeal to the Republican electorate asking them whether they wanted somebody with executive experience or Senators arguing over which bill they prefer. This was clearly an insult toward Paul, Rubio, and Cruz, all of whom had been arguing the proceeding minutes, however nobody had pointed out to Christie that he wasn’t the only Governor or former Governor on the stage.
Christie went on to complain that many Senators on the stage that were railing against military cuts had been in the Senate whilst they were going on. This is technically true however Rubio and Cruz both have stated that they want to increase military spending, thus making any criticism of them from neo-Conservatives totally irrelevant. Even Rand Paul, who has often said that he wants to cut the military budget, said that he may want to increase military spending.
On ISIS Christie asserted that the group was created because of the persecution of Sunnis by Iran and Assad. This is really not true. Sunnis have been persecuted in the Syrian Civil War and Iran, however it has been widely reported that ISIS was formed by two things specifically; Saddam Hussein’s Baathist generals who want power back, and an off-shoot of Al-Qaeda who wanted to establish an Islamic caliphate. The people that have subsequently joined ISIS have done for many different reasons, including persecution, but to say that the persecution of Sunnis in two countries was the reason for its formation is simply false.
The Governor was asked a direct question about whether he would shoot down a Russia plane if it had entered Syrian airspace when a no-fly zone had been brought in. His answer was, bluntly, “yes”. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul pointed out, accurately, that this would point out to World War Three and called this move “reckless”. In a successful way of moving the conversation away from his own terrible policy, Christie said that Obama was a “feckless weakling” to much applause.
Christie’s final contribution was in relation to cyber attacks. He said that the US should more aggressively fight back against Chinese cyber attacks by giving the Chinese people information about how corrupt the Chinese government is. Although attempting to fight the Chinese government by appealing to the people is an interesting strategy, I doubt that such activities would stop Chinese. The reason for this is that the Chinese government have suppressed dissent in places like Hong Kong and domestically behind the Great Firewall. I would assume that the hubris of the Chinese government is such that they would be confident that they could repel any attempt by the US to spread information.
To conclude Governor Christie had to come out swinging to get himself noticed by enough people to get his name higher on the list of establishment candidates. Unfortunately this is impossible. The establishment GOP think that Marco Rubio can appeal to Latinos much better than any other of the moderate candidates. Furthermore, anybody who found Chris Christie’s persona to be refreshing would have now have had this demand met but outsiders like Trump or Fiorina. Christie cannot win and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the next candidates to drop out in order to allow the moderates to coalesce around one candidate.