Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2012 Contender: New Jersey Governor Christie, RINO?

A lot of people are talking about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a possible Republican candidate for President. And he certainly seems impressive from a distance. But with all politicians, you have to look at the whole record. The more I looked, the less I liked. You won’t like this either.

Budget BlueState
Christie’s biggest claims to conservative fame have been (1) passing a budget he claimed cut $2.56 billion in spending, without raising taxes, and (2) standing up to the unions. Not quite.

First, despite the no new taxes claim, his budget includes $250 million in new taxes. These include taxes on insurance premiums, health care, and new businesses. He’s also taxing $28 million from consumer gift cards. More importantly, he eliminated $1.3 billion in property tax refunds.

He claimed he would cut spending without resorting to gimmicks. He didn’t. In fact, the budget actually isn’t “cut” at all, spending increases by 6%. Christie claims this to be a cut based on reductions in spending the Democrats wanted to add. What’s worse, Christie told “Meet The Press”: “In New Jersey, what we did was we cut spending in every department, a 9% cut in real spending.” That’s a lie.

And despite his assurance that he would not use gimmicks, here are the gimmicks he used even to pull off this non-feat:
● He delayed the payment of $3 billion in pension payments for a couple weeks to push that spending into the next fiscal year.

● At the same time he imposed additional spending mandates on municipalities and local school boards, he eliminated $1.2 billion in municipal aid. Essentially, he pushed the need to tax to the local level. To protect taxpayers, he imposed a 2% cap on the amount municipalities can raise property taxes, but this is 2% per year. Also, because of various exemptions, this can actually be as high as 6% per year.

● His budget relies on $270 million in one-time revenue to balance, and it includes $1 billion in federal stimulus funds.
Christie also swore he would never borrow without voter approval, but he’s already borrowed $750 million without voter approval to build schools in urban districts controlled by Democrats.

As for standing up to the unions, he achieved little. To his credit though, he did require all public workers in New Jersey to pay at least 1.5% of their salaries toward their health care and prohibits part-time employees from enrolling in the state pension system. But he also claimed his budget would cut 1,200 jobs, but in November he backed off that. FYI, salaries go up automatically by 7% per year.
His ObamaCare Dance
Christie refused to allow New Jersey to join the lawsuit against ObamaCare. His ostensible reasoning was that:
“I have enough to do up here. I have to examine how this health care legislation affects the health care system in the state of New Jersey and whether or not it’s in our state’s best interests, and then I’ll decide whether we need to take any legal steps to try to protect the interests of the people of the state.”
Really? He didn't know if ObamaCare was a good thing? Interestingly, after Judge Vincent’s decision, Christie suddenly found that he always opposed ObamaCare:
“Yeah, I did not favor ObamaCare in the first place. I thought it was too big a grab by the federal government for our health care system. It should not have been voted on in the form that it was in the first place.”
This makes Christie the only conservative in the country who didn’t know if he liked ObamaCare until after Judge Vincent's decision made it look likely that ObamaCare would be struck down. Even then, Christie seems more concerned about procedure than substance.
He Favors Gun Control
Christie favors gun control, but won’t say what he supports. He has defended a strict gun control law passed by Democrat Jon Corzine, and he said this to Sean Hannity:
Christie: We have a densely populated state and there’s a big handgun problem in New Jersey. Now, I don’t support all the things that the governor supports, by a long stretch. But on certain gun control issues, looking at it from a law enforcement perspective, seeing how many police officers were killed — we have an illegal gun problem in New Jersey.

Hannity: Should every citizen in your state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one.

Christie: . . . Listen, at the end of the day, what I support are common sense laws that will allow people to protect themselves. But I also am very concerned about the safety of our police officers on the streets. Very concerned. And I want to make sure that we don’t have an abundance of guns out there.
He refused to say exactly what limits he would approve. That’s a bad sign.
He Favors Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants
Christie is on the leftist side of the illegal immigration debate. In April 2008, he stated that being in the country illegally is not a crime:
“Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime. The whole phrase of ‘illegal immigrant’ connotes that the person, by just being here, is committing a crime. . . It is not.”
He also stated that he supports a path to citizenship:
“What I support is making sure that the federal government plays each and every one of its roles: Securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and having an orderly process — whatever that process is — for people to gain citizenship. It’s a very easy issue to demagogue and I’m just not going to participate in that.”
He also attacked those of us who disagree with him as demagogues: “certain leaders around the state that have demagogued on this issue” and he called critics “ill-informed.”

Proving his rhetoric, when he was the US Attorney between 2002 and 2007, his office only prosecuted 13 cases of illegal immigration. By comparison, the Kansas US Attorney prosecuted 597 cases.
His Global Warming Dance
Christie says he’s not sure if he believes in global warming as he’s seen evidence on both sides of the issue. Yet, he supports a multi-state cap and trade scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and he put subsidies in his budget for wind and wave farms. He’s also used $65 million in future sales of pollution indulgences under the RGGI to plug the budget gap.
Judge A Man By His Friend
Finally, Christie’s appointments are truly disturbing, as these are the people who make the day to day decisions that make the state run.
● To his credit, he refused to reappoint notoriously liberal Supreme Court Justice John Wallace. So far so good, right? But this shouldn’t be that surprising, governors always appoint people of their own ideology to sit on courts. Here’s the catch. Christie has said nothing about the Senate Democrats’ refusal to conduct confirmation hearings until 2012, or about the selection of a reliable liberal to fill the seat temporarily.

● He appointed liberal Democrat Paula Dow as Attorney General of New Jersey.

● He appointed a global warming enthusiast as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.

● He appointed an ObamaCare supporter as Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services.

● He tried to appoint a Kinseyan (sexual perversion advocacy, masquerading as science) as Director of the Department of Children and Families.

● He fired the only conservative he had in his cabinet (Brett Schundler, his Commissioner of Education) for failing to grab Stimulus money which Christie had previously promised he would not accept.
This ain’t conservatism.


Zilla said...

Not just a RINO but also something FAR worse: Christie is a dhimmi.
I discuss that troubling fact in a post about a disturbing trend in the GOP here:

T_Rav said...

(bangs head on desk)

So what I'm taking away from this, on top of Mitch Daniels backing down yesterday, is that we have no one to run under that "fiscal conservative" banner being talked about recently. Great.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this tips

Tam said...

Good to know, and so disappointing. It just goes to show how we must be aware and take responsibility to find out who these people really are. Thanks for doing the hard work for me! And, *sigh*. I'm still holding out hopes for Allen West...

StanH said...

In New Jersey perhaps he’s what passes for a conservative? I’ve been reading tidbits about Christie since his emergence on the scene after defeating the wacko Corzine. This is a great list in one place, and seems pretty damming. Knowing this I was alarmed to hear Ann Coulter, someone I admire greatly, whose conservative credentials IMO are beyond dispute, stated something to the effect, that if Christie doesn’t run against Barry, we’re doomed to another four with his magnificence…huh?! Great read Andrew, perhaps this needs to get too Ann? The RINO herd is growing.

Tennessee Jed said...

That is an extremely important post, Andrew. I cannot think of anywhere else that we have seen this kind of information. Everybody has a core fundamental issue that ranks #1 with them. In my case, it is fiscal sanity (fiscal conservatism if you prefer.) For me, it ranks first, second, and third.

Needless to say, this is disturbing, and I will also admit I am fundamentally a political pragmatist. That is, I do get the notion of politics as the art of the possible. However, the mood of the country is such that we can and should insist on real reform right now. The fact that the public is behind us on this indicates we have been able to get the facts out to the people and they are seeing past the main stream spin.

I'd say the one guy who has shown the most spunk so far is Ryan. The jury is out for Wagner in Wisconsin. I thought Krauthammer offered a good way out for Wagner last night. Strip out the give backs from the bill and pass just the part that takes away collective bargaining rights. Once that is done, it takes away the rationale for the "flee baggers" to stay out.

CrispyRice said...

Wow and yikes. Thanks for the information, Andrew.

I'm banging head along with T-Rav. Who are we left with??

And also? Taxing gift cards?? Huh? Those don't get you out of sales tax when you use 'em.

BevfromNYC said...

Apparently in Wisconsin they don't need a quorum to vote on bills that don't involve money. It would be a hoot if they cut the healthcare/pension issue out and just voted on the collective bargaining. They may be forced to to get over the empass. The Dems have already vowed to stay away until this goes away. I bet if they signaled this what they will do, the Dems will hightail it back to Wisconsin on a rocket ship! What a freakin' circus...

Oh, btw, StanH is right. Christie is what parades as a conservative in the Northeast. Which makes it difficult to use that 80/20 rule to decide who to vote for. And actually, our new NY Gov Cuomo is looking more like a conservative than Christie. If we're going to have to have a RINO, maybe we can convince Cuomo to switch parties!

Joel Farnham said...


I first heard about Christie's leanings right after he endorsed Mike Castle. Mike Castle(Longtime RINO) was defeated in a Senate Delaware Primary by a flawed tea party candidate, Christine O'Donnell. One endorsement, does not a RINO make.

However, to me, when I found out he was not going to intervene with a probably illegal draconian New Jersey Gun Law. That made me check out Christie's bonefides. To Christies's credit, he commuted the man's sentence. Commuted not pardoned. And Christie waited until Dec 21, 2010.

This particular law is one of those tricky liberal laws that interfere with the ability to transport a gun. It is one which sounds good, but really isn't. Also this case was pursued with religious fervor.

The upshot, Christie could have told the DA to stop pestering this man. Christie could have pardoned this man. Christie could have done a number of things that would show he was conservative.

Christie's endorsement of Castle can be considered one dot. The way Christie dealt with Aiken's conviction in New Jersey is another dot. Taken together these point to RINOland. Andrew, your article confirms it.

BevfromNYC said...

Crispy, the gift card issue is about how one taxes rebate cards and manufacturers coupons. It's very complicated and basically they are trying to extract more money for customers getting a break on price from manufacturers.

Gee, I want to be paid by the state to sit in an windowless room for 5.8 hours a day and think of fun ways to tax people. It'd be fun!

Joel Farnham said...


Please. Not Cuomo. We aren't ever that hard up.

T_Rav said...

Bev, if you weren't already aware, Walker's also followed through on the suggestion some people were making a couple days ago, and cutting off the direct deposit payments to the absent Dems. And the GOP's hustling all sorts of legislation through committee, since there's no opposition to stand in their way. Note to Democrats: Running away from the legislative process has consequences.

AndrewPrice said...

Zilla, Thanks I'll check that out. I'm not sure what a dhimmi is, but I'll look. Here's your link by the way:


AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I don't know. There are more people out there.

I'll tell you honestly, that I had high hopes for Christie before I started researching this. He struck me as a very solid conservative. But as I always said, I never looked into his record, just his the rhetoric we saw at places like youtube.

When I started looking into this, my first thought was "oh, I've reached a Christie-Hater website." But then I saw similar things at other places -- all New Jersey based conservative sites. I was actually truly stunned to see a lot of this.

Is it possible he could turn things around? Sure, I guess. But unless he shows a solid record of actual conservatism, I'm not interested.

Next up, Mitch Daniels.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, You're welcome.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, You're welcome. And I know exactly how you feel. I've been pretty excited about Christie based on what I'd heard on the radio and the television. I was honestly shocked to find all of this.

You're absolutely right that we need to look into people's records -- or we get our own Obama, who looked great in the suit (if you're on the left), but turned out to be a farce.

I am even willing to make allowances for the fact that it's difficult to govern to the right in a place like New Jersey. But Christie seems to go out of his way to do pro-leftist things where he doesn't need to (like appointments).

Also, I had the same reaction you did, I kept thinking about Allen West.

CrispyRice said...

Bev - ohhh. I know at Costco, you get taxed on the price prior to any coupons or rebates they add to it. I've never really noticed at the grocery store if taxes (on taxable items, as food is not taxable here) are pre or post coupons. Hmmm.

I've also heard that people are getting 1099s from banks when they are signing up with bonuses. Like the "Sign up and we'll give you 20,000 airline frequent flyer miles" or "$200 cash back when you make an initial deposit of $1000" or whatever. Apparently that is going as income to the people. That's a different issue, but still not something I would have expected.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Stan! I don't doubt that this is what passes for conservative in New Jersey, the real question is what would he do at the national level? Would be remain the "New Jersey Conservative" or would he be a real conservative? I tend to think what you see is what you get.

In terms of Coulter, I don't know why she's been pro-Christie. It could be that she saw the same thing I did initially, which I liked a lot, and just never looked deeper?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree. The real winners in politics are the people who achieve what is possible, rather than making theatrical "give me principles or give me death" stands. But part of that also involves moving what is possible closer to your ultimate goal.

That's where Reagan was so brilliant, he took everything he could get and he simultaneously moved what he could get further and further to the right.

What troubles me about Christie (or any governor) is not that they've done the isolated bad thing -- that's going to happen because state politics is much more practical than principled. What troubles me is that he's passed up the chances to do things he could have done, and he seems to be happy surrounding himself with people who want the opposite of what I believed he stood for.

Basically, it sounds like New Jersey was ready to accept so much more conservatism, but he decided not only not to offer it, but to actively offer more leftism. At a time like this, when even liberal places are willing to consider capitalism and free market solutions, that's unforgivable.

Now I don't know if the rest of his term might not be better and I'm certainly willing to give him the chance. But this is not a great start.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I felt the same way. I was expecting to find a few bad things -- he is the governor of a liberal state, after all. But this was pretty incredible and pretty damning. The New Jersey sites I found were all saying, "we really don't get why everyone else thinks he's a conservative."

On the gift cards, it's probably a pretty easy thing to tax because the person who buys it isn't the same person who pays the tax when they spend it?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Sadly, that's been my observation too in the Northeast. I've met a lot of "conservatives" when I went to school up there who believed in pretty nothing I did. That's why I'm always leery of Republicans who come from up there.

In terms of Wisconsin, I've heard Walker talk about passing the provision separately (as well as passing all kinds of other laws while the Democrats are out of town). But then the president of their Senate said they wouldn't do that. So I'm not sure what they're going to do. I hope they turn this against the Dems and just start passing things left and right!

AndrewPrice said...

Oh, and by the way, Zogby had an interesting poll today that shows that the public supports Walker in Wisconsin: LINK

The poll itself also said that 53% of the public think the government should have the right to eliminate collective bargaining and something like 2/3 of the public say that public sector salaries need to be cut.

Unknown said...

Andrew: More than anything, I think this proves what we've been saying since we started this blog. Before we start anointing future Presidential candidates, let's see what they do as opposed to what they say. Christie is probably as good as anything that could be expected in New Jersey. And let's not forget the mad rush to make Scott Brown the anointed one after he won the "Kennedy" Senate seat. And Brown is probably the best Taxachusetts can expect. But what's good enough for New Jersey and Massachusetts (and California) is not good enough for the nation.

Time will tell, and acts will prove. I'm still feeling pretty good about Daniels, Jindal and a select few others. They each have their flaws, but overall they have good records of performance. And as I have often reminded people, the perfect is the enemy of the good.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Bev, I don't know much about Cuomo, wanna do an article on him at some point?

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I read about that case and I was pretty disturbed that he didn't step in to stop it or pardon the man. Also, his AG (Paula Dow) fervently defended Corzine's gun law, which again they didn't have to do. In fact, New Jersey has a long history of the AG's not defending laws the governor doesn't like.

What's even more troubling than the Castle thing (which I can understand), is that he never endorsed any conservatives anywhere. I kept looking for other people he endorsed but I found no instances where he spoke out for Tea Party people or the Jim DeMint's of the world.

Like you, I think these are simply dots. No one has a perfect record or career, and we always need to be mindful of that and that he's governing a liberal state. BUT, this record seems to go way beyond that well into RINO land. When a politician doesn't even do the things he's capable of doing, that tells us something about his true mindset. It should be automatic that he appoints conservatives and handles issues that are within his discretion in conservative ways. But he seems to have gone the other way.

I hope people catch onto this before we all carry him into the White House only to discover that we just elected a young John McCain!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's insane -- they're trying to tax you for NOT PAYING FULL price. That's an nonsales tax.

Why not tax us for not using health care. . . oh, wait, somebody just tried that.

Unbelievable! This opens a whole world of horrible possibilities. I see you didn't buy a car this year, and you didn't eat all of your vegetables, and what's this I hear about you not working two jobs? You are gonna owe so much non-tax! Grrrrr.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I am loving what's going on in Wisconsin. I think I mentioned somewhere the other day, last week I didn't even know there was a Republican governor in Wisconsin, this week he's teaching a master class in how to beat the Democrats.

(Hey, by the way, I meant to ask -- what are you studying?)

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Welcome to the future where everything will taxed.

I am really amazed that they have found a way to tax you on discounts. That's NOT a sale tax! That's an UN-sales tax... a NON-sales tax. That's a fantasy tax. Grrrrr.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Yep. This shows that we need to consider whole careers, not partial careers and just rhetoric. Brown is a great example of that. He seemed great when he was elected, but he's disappointed a good deal since.

I'm working on the Daniels thing. I hope he turns out better than Christie. I honestly did not expect to find this.

Joel Farnham said...


Some of this I found out at Hot Air and Mark Levin.

What mostly settled it for me?
It is a non-thing really. Christie isn't vilified like other conservatives. He isn't deeply hated by liberals. There isn't article after article demonizing him.

Paraphrasing Rush, check out who the left isn't attacking in your group. Chances are he or she is a RINO. The left attacks the people it fears the most. It doesn't attack people who for the most part are lefties.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel and Bev, I wouldn't endorse Cuomo for our side, but I still would be interested in hearing more about what's going on.

J said...

This is disappointing. Thanks. J.

AndrewPrice said...

J, Thanks! And welcome.

Joel Farnham said...


I don't care about Cuomo. I don't like him and wish he would leave politics.

I would like Bev to write about the new medical condition. Sidewalk rage. It is peculiar to New York, but I suppose it can happen any where else.


Is there a new commission to study this? How is the Medical Community, especially the Pschiatrists, reacting to this new and probably not covered by ObamaCare syndrome? Can a Doctor sign off a patient as sick if he/she experiences Sidewalk Rage, either as the recipient or the conveyor of it?

These questions and more are burning in my mind. Are there rest areas to help with this? Is it communicable? Is in covered in the Americans with Disabilities act? Just what is the President and Congress doing about this? ;-)

Ed said...

I have to admit I'm not surprised. I just don't see the northeast producing a serious conservative. I am surprised Ann Coulter didn't mention this. In fact, reading this, I think Romney might be more conservative than Christie. I don't know though. Are you planning to do all the contenders?

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I've honestly never heard of this, but I am intrigued! LOL! I think I've felt that, at least I'm pretty sure I've felt that. Yeah, that explains all of my prior misbehaviors!

(On Cuomo, my interest is purely based on the fact he'll probably become a Democratic contender for President in the future, so it wouldn't be bad to start keeping track of him.)

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I'm thinking about it. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea, at least with the secondary guys that we don't know much about. In fact, now that I think about it, this could probably be a pretty useful series. Hmmm.

BevfromNYC said...

You know, maybe I will combine my next NY installment and write about sidewalk rage (SWR) against Cuomo!

Okay, I admit I get a touch of the SWR sometimes especially during the summer with all the tourists milling about downtown during lunchtime. Though I would NEVER say or do anything to one of our treasured tourists, I really, really WANT to.

Youse guys arh so slooowwww. What's up wit dat, ay?! We got places tah go an' people tah see! We're IMPORTANT PEOPLE here in NYC! Grrrrrr.{{{breath...ooooohhhhmmm}}}

People ambling while talking on their cellphones too.

My favorite one was the woman in the revolving door working on her IPad who expected the person behind her (me) to push the door for her while she typed away oblivious to everyone. I got in and stood there without pushing waiting for her to run into the door. She did and it was pretty funny...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's hilarious! I can picture the woman just standing there waiting too.

Tourists always were a bit of an issue in DC too (just ask Harry Reid!), especially on the roads. But once you got away from the Mall, it wasn't a big deal... unless they came in massive numbers for a protest or something. Then, as you NY/NY types say, fahgetaboutit!

Joel Farnham said...


I saw that article and couldn't resist.

I was stationed there in New York at the Coast Guard Training center Governors Island going to my "A" school. I found that New Yorkers aren't as mean as they are made out to be. Strangely enough, Alaskans are meaner and far more insular.

Here is another thing, New Yorkers are highly focused on their careers and slow-walkers are interfering with that. Getting annoyed with slow people is normal.

One more thing I did notice is that most New Yorkers talk about going to the West Coast, but never go.

I won't go back, not because it is bad, but because I would never leave again.

Ed said...

You don't know tourists until you visit Vegas. Tourists in Vegas think they own the place. At least in NYC and DC they know they're visiting.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I found New Yorkers kind of strange. Very focused and very fast, that's for sure -- not at all like southerners, but not as nasty or aggressive as Philadelphians.

I recall having conversations with several New Yorkers who actually thought I had to live on a farm because I came from Colorado, and one woman asked me (true story) "what do you do about the Indians?" She thought they still road horses and harassed people. She was actually quite proud of having never been west of the Hudson.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I would say that's Vegas's fault. They bill the place as a playground of sin, so it's probably too much to ask people to respect the place too.

AndrewPrice said...

UPDATE: In the article and in Joel's comment we mention that Christie could have refused to defend Corzine's gun control law, but he instead defended it zealously. Prior Democratic New Jersey governors have in the past done exactly this.

And now, so has Obama, who just now announced that they would not be defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which is being challenged on Constitutional grounds.

I'm not saying this isn't a dangerous precedent, but it shows what Christie could have done.

Unknown said...

Short story. When I was sojourning in NYC, I encountered what I thought of as perpetual rudeness. They say that when you arrive in NYC, you're "folks." If you survive for a year, you're a New Yorker. Sure enough, I came to recognize that New Yorkers aren't rude, they're just in a hurry and don't waste time with niceties the rest of us are used to.

Fast forward forty years. I was having a conversation with a New Yorker. After it became apparent that we were going to get along, he asked if he could pose a personal question. "Sure." So he asked me why San Franciscans are so rude. Unfortunately, I had just taken a big sip of coffee, and I'll never be welcome at the Palace Tea Room again.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, San Francisan's rude? Pshaw!

Seriously though, people in Washington DC are rude. Trust me, they are really angry and veeeeeery self-important. That's why most people begin to hate the city after a year or two.

BevfromNYC said...

New Yorkers like to be thought of as rude, so that when one of us is nice, people are genuinely surprised, but then, no one is disappointed if they're mugged or beaten up either! It's kind of like naming Greenland for the icy island and Iceland for the greenish island.

I would say the meanest city I've ever been to was Philadelphia - you know, The City of Brotherly Love. Yes, that one.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, what am I studying? Well, if you mean professionally, then anything and everything that people in the Department of History are supposed to study, most of it of marginal value. Specifically, I'm into European intellectual history of the past few centuries, which for me means tracing the development of the various ideologies/"isms"--naturally, socialism especially, along with nationalism, liberalism, and a host of other stuff. Honestly, in some ways I'm closer to political philosophy than history per se, but that is, officially, what I do.

Notawonk said...

andrew: mea culpa! as soon as i saw that there was an exploratory committee for the presidency, i thought, "but, you just gave your word that you weren't even considering it." and then i wanted to slap something.

wth is wrong with these dudes?!

to all politicians: WE ARE LISTENING AND WATCHING.

that alone should make them straighten up and fly right (i just channeled my father)

nugent-walker is looking better and better...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Yep, that's my take on Phili too. Not a happy place.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I've studied history, politics and philosophy on my own, not through college. I enjoy them a great deal, but I doubt very much that I would enjoy them in a modern university -- too much advocating rather than educating.

Do you enjoy it?

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Me too - mea culpa. I admit that I was starting to like Christie a lot. So I figured it would be a good idea to look into his record. Imagine my surprise! Blech.

Why is it so hard to find a real conservative?

Writer X said...

This is disturbing. Clearly we need to look more carefully. Perhaps he should stay governor.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Yeah, that was my thought. I was all excited about him too. I assure you that I was pretty shocked when I found this and very disappointed.

DUQ said...

Wow. Thanks for putting that together for us. I didn't know what to think before. I liked what I heard, but it didn't sound to substantive. This puts the nail in that coffin.

Please do the other contenders, maybe that will help us find someone?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I'll see what I can do. It's not always easy to hunt down people's records (as strange as that may sound). But I'll put together what I can. Maybe one a week or something like that.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I do enjoy it, even though I regularly feel guilty over contributing my person to the glut of liberal-arts degrees who have absolutely no practical skills. There is certainly a great deal of advocating, which is especially irritating as it's of the "soft" kind, but if you can look past that, you do often find a lot of fascinating stuff. That's why I still enjoy it.

History, politics, and philosophy are very much the proper combination, in my opinion. Otherwise you have nothing but a string of names and dates without any context. Also, it helps me understand the development and nature of these ideologies we have to deal with today, which is just as important to figure out where all this crap is coming from. It's definitely worth studying.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I'm glad you're enjoying it! I liked some parts of college, but not others. Law school stunk.

I've always felt that history actually should be taught by breaking it down, not in the eras they use (like "Victorian Era") but by breaking it down by then-current philosophy. And by philosophy I mean both the philosophers like Mills and Plato, but also religious thinkers, economic thinkers and political thinkers. That's what really reflects what was going on in society at the time.

I know why it's easier to teach it by picking the dates of kings and queens and wars, but those really are only a reflection of events that were already well underway at that point. And if we're being honest, the ideas of the eras are what influence us today, not a particular war or monarch.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I agree with you. Practically, though, it's often more convenient for the professors to divide it into eras, so as to give their students an easier time learning it. For a lot of reasons, though, even this doesn't really work, and the sad fact is that our students haven't really learned anything by the end of the semester.

However, another part of the problem is that not many professors think the way you do. Some are wrapped up in Marxist or social history; others spend too much time analyzing everything in terms of race or gender. These are major concerns for a lot of historians today; I personally view them as irrelevant. Either they get wrapped up in trivial information--we don't really need to know spousal relations in Marseille in the 1640s, if you want my honest opinion--or they insist on viewing everything through the lens of a particular viewpoint. In the case of the people I know, this tends to be some form of oppression--of women, of the poor, of some other PC group--always at the hands of white males. And they don't focus on the stuff you and I think they should be focusing on, because they can't or won't conceive of history in that fashion: philosophies should never be analyzed on their own terms, but instead dissected for the hidden agendas of the people who created them. Which is understandable, up to a point; but eventually it renders us unable to search for objective truth in the past. Which, of course, is the real problem: they don't believe in such things as objective truth of any kind, unless it's that white men are racist.

As you can see, I have a lot of opinions on this. There are a ton of problems with the historical discipline, many of them deep-seated with the discipline itself; thinking about these keeps me up when I think about the career I've chosen.

T_Rav said...

Hmm, it would seem my comment disappeared. Okay, I guess it'll turn up eventually.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I think our spam filter hates you. I'm not sure why. Actually, it's Google's spam filter and we can't turn it off -- or I would in a minute. I think that's also what's causing the comment numbers not to add up.

Fortunately, I get e-mails when something is declared spam, so I can make it publish.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, that's cool. It may be because I don't have a Google account, or it could just be because I have no luck with computers at all. When the machines inevitably launch the uprising, I'll be one of the first casualties. Anyway, I see my post up now, so no worries.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Tell me about it!

I think you're right, though I would be less diplomatic. I think they teach in the existing eras because (1) that's what everyone else has done and they aren't bright enough to re-think what's been done. I see this all the time where supposedly smart people (lawyers, professors, etc.) have zero big picture ability and just mindlessly fall into existing patterns -- it usually takes a visionary to change things.... after much struggling against the elite who think they know better but are really covering up their own inadequacies. And (2) they are more concerned with the minutia you mention.

I have no dog in that fight, i.e. I'm not trying to protect a phony department nor am I blinded by bad political beliefs, so for me it's more a matter of seeing everything and realizing what the true organizing principles are. In the case of human experience, it's our intellectual development. There is absolutely a direct relationship between the prevailing philosophies of the time and the actions that took place. I could probably even re-outline history if I spent some time on it.

On the second point, I ran into exactly what you're talking about throughout college -- professors and students who saw the world through a particular (pathetic) prism, such as repression theory. In a classic example, I had the misfortune of being in a Shakespeare class with two womyn who were from the gender studies department. Did you know that every single female character in everything Shakespeare wrote was a lesbian? Yep, it's true because these two little chickies believed it to be, and asy atheistic-being was their witness, they were gonna prove that to the rest of us.

They learned nothing about the beauty, wit, depth of Shakespeare because all they wanted to see was lesbians. Interestingly, they even saw characters like Lady MacBeth as an oppressed lesbian, even though she completely dominates her husband. Sad.

But that's the long way to say that I think you're completely right that these people want to recast the past in terms of their particular pet peeve.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Don't worry about the rise of the machines, they'll be running on something Google or Microsoft made and they'll crash pretty quickly. :-)

In terms of having problems, you're not alone. We've had some people (with accounts) who have told us they can't sign in. Blogger has many problems.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, good to know I shouldn't worry too much about machine dominance :-)

In terms of the trivia historians study anymore, this is one of those things I think is an inevitable outcome of the modern profession. The problem is, people who choose this line of work are expected to contribute to the profession overall--it's still got some of that medieval guild spirit to it. And the regular way to contribute is by producing some original research and publishing it; in other words, showing you've got the talent for unearthing evidence and adding to the store of knowledge. Unfortunately, what we also have to contend with is the fact that the number of history graduates, as with every other college discipline, is exploding, because everyone thinks they need to go to college and get all the education they can, even though it does little to secure a high-paying or even very useful job. So with so many new Ph.D.'s trying to prove themselves, every sub-field of history has pretty much had everything relevant said about it already, and that's been the case for a while. But because of the need to be "original," the newbies have to do SOMETHING. Hence the unearthing of so much trivia which is more interesting than educational. In this light, I think fields like gender studies in history are an inevitable development, because what else are the "womyn" you mentioned going to do?


T_Rav said...


I don't know if it's possible for an entire field of study to collapse in on itself, but for this and other reasons, I think history would be the first to do so. The number of graduating Ph.D.'s, for example, has reached the point that there's no longer a job market for them--increasingly they're having to take positions at the community college level, and there are efforts to extend the culture there as well by requiring the professors there to publish their research. I wouldn't be surprised if that tier starts to bloat in the same way before long.

Beyond these matters is the problem, as you said, of what's being neglected in the field. I feel that history ought to cover big themes such as the conflict of order and liberty, which has surely defined the modern world for most of us. More personally, I think man's relation to God, and how that relationship has shaped his efforts to build the social order, ought to be of equal importance, but that's even less in vogue.

Luckily, there are a whole range of historians/political philosophers from the past century who have covered these same questions, and who did a lot to shape my opinions before I got into the blogging thing. Based on their writings, I've had it vaguely in mind to sketch a history of some of the modern ideological movements--not for the History Department, because they'd hate it--when I have time. But a grad student's work is never done.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I've actually discussed that very point with different people in the past.

In history and its offshoots in particular, the pressure to come up with something new is leading to intellectual dishonesty in two ways.

First, it forces you to "find" something original, whether it's there or not. That encourages people to basically push ideas they know aren't true, but which they think they can sell. That discredits the whole profession because it's become a profession of liars and peddlers of dishonest theories.

Secondly, it leads to an explosion of ideas like "Washington was gay" and "Shakespeare was secretly a Martian, if you read his texts backwards in pig latin" because that's the easiest way to get through the magic door. That further discredits these fields because it makes the public think that all of the modern research is garbage.

Not to mention that this atomization of history is pointless at best. It's like studying only 20 seconds in a film. You may find it fascinating, but it's hardly useful to anyone. And by missing the other 100 minutes, you've effectively missed all of the things that give that 20 seconds meaning.


AndrewPrice said...

In terms or religion being out of favor, that's true and that's evidence of how corrupt academia has become. And I don't mean that it's corrupt not to believe in Christianity, I mean it's corrupt to deny what is clearly the single biggest motivator in West history. Almost every major event in the past 2000 years has been influenced by the then-prevailing views (pro and con) on Christianity. Everything from things done in the name of Christianity like the Crusades to subtler influences like Einstein's resistance to the Big Bang Theory because he saw it as Christian dogma, to Christian principles tempering laizze faire capitalism in the US.

Yet, there is a large group of academics who want all mention of Christianity expunged from history. But to pretend that Christianity is irrelevant is completely intellectually dishonest. It's also useless, like studying the Soviet Union without ever mentioning communism. What's the point to that? And why should you trust the judgment of anyone who would try?

T_Rav said...

Andrew, it's completely idiotic, but also a common phenomenon. For example, a recent development with history textbooks is to replace the dating system B.C./A.D. with B.C.E./C.E., standing for "Before the Common Era" and "Common Era," respectively. So, instead of saying that Socrates died in the year 399 BC, we now say that he died in the year 399 BCE. This is stupid for obvious reasons--what's the point of taking Christ out of the dating system if you're still going to use His birth as the reference point--but regardless, it's difficult to find a recent textbook which doesn't use this new system. I don't care, though; no matter what the Department says, when I get to the point where I can teach a class, I'm going to ignore it and use the normal designation. I'm not about to engage in intellectual laziness for the sake of being PC.

All of which is why, when I get my Ph.D. and blow out of here, I plan to avoid the big research universities like the plague and find a small, out of the way college, preferably religious-affiliated, where I can just teach during the day, have a life outside the school, and in general not have my head shoved so far up my #%$@.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Good plan!

I've heard about this C.E. thing, and you're right it's stupid. Even more than that, it's petty. If Christ is the reference point, then it doesn't matter if we call it BC/AD (which everyone knows) or CE or BCE, which is very clunky. It reminds me of Harry Potter, calling Voledmort "he who shall not be named."

Also, let me point out a further bit of stupidity. For all the talk about European racism and excessive focus on Europe, the call this "the common Era" implies that everyone else is working on a Christ-centric calendar. China and the East would disagree with that. So basically, to be PC, they've created a time scale that is even more Eurocentric (and therefore un-PC) than the old one.

They are asses.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, Andrew!

Christie also thinks the ground zero mosque (the backers of which are Hamas supporters) is no big deal, and has implied that those who are against it are Islamophobes or bigots.

Furthermore, Christie is yet another Republican that thinks Islam is the "religion of peace."
And he actually listens to pro-Hamas, terrorist apologist. Sharia loving group CAIR's propaganda (unlike Allen West who recently devastated a CAIR protester's disinformation and lies at one of his town halls :^)).

Christie is a huge disappointment.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

For my fellow Col. West fans here's the link:

Col. West vs CAIR troll

I can see why the men who served under Col. West love him so much. :^)

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, Thanks! And that's true about the Ground Zero Mosque. I probably should have included that too, but I didn't. My mistake.

He's definitely said that it's no big deal and he's attacked the people who are concerned about it. What's more, his defense of the mosque wasn't even based on something like Constitutional principles of right of religion or whatever, but was based on "it's not that big of a deal." That's just more bad judgment on his part.

He is a real disappointment. When I first saw him, I was impressed. It wasn't until I started looking into him for this article that I saw the light.

FYI -- I love Allen West! He's great! Thanks for the link!

Notawonk said...

linking this article on 3/7/11. thanks for doing the heavy lifting!

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome Patti! Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

Chris Christie also appointed a Sharia/Islamist to the NJ judicial bench. I am never surprised by the people who are proclaimed to be conservatives, such as Anne Coulter. Sean Hannity and many others, start chanting and cheering for people like Chris Christie of whom, they know nothing about. They did the same thing for Scott Brown of MA. and even G.W. Bush, and now some of them are beginning the same chants for Jeb Bush.

The ignorance of the public is hard to believe or understand, but the ignorance of the media hypsters and hustlers is self induced. They also do it for personal financial gain.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, That never surprises me either. They latch onto the story of the moment and never bother to really look into it.

And you're right about them latching onto Bush at the moment. That's just incredible to me. The rest of his family was a disaster and he's proven to be a moderate in almost everything he's done. So why in the world should we think he's going to suddenly become a conservative?

Notawonk said...

linking on 9/28/11!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti!

I'm actually writing about this tomorrow morning.

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