Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crist and Christie: Not Reagans.

Two Republican Governors with amusingly similar names have been hit with charges that they are not Ronald Reagan.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is under fire from local conservatives for not being a local conservative. Tom Waits look-a-like Paul Mulshine argues here that by not firing government workers, talking about zero-based budgeting and acknowledging global warming, Christie is acting more like Jimmy Carter than Ronald Reagan. Scanning his other posts, it seems Mulshine is also frustrated with the ideological impurity of the American Spectator and Rush Limbaugh.

In Florida, Governor Charlie Crist met with his insurgent competition for the GOP senate nomination, Marco Rubio, in a nationally televised debate. A suspect moderate, Crist was compelled to confirm four times that he would not run as an independent were his campaign to crumple before the primary. Rubio responded with the insinuation that even to be questioned was proof of disloyalty:
If I may, the governor likes to call himself a Reagan Republican. I don't ever recall Reagan being questioned about running as an independent.
Lightning quick, and possibly not helping his case, Crist countered:
Actually, Reagan was a Democrat before he was a Republican...So if you want to talk about Reagan, let's talk about him.
Disappointingly, the candidates did not go on to discuss the Gipper, save for Rubio's bland echo of the 1980 slogan - "Are you better off than you were four years ago"? Crist might have pointed out that Reagan had been asked to run as an independent (or Conservative Party) opponent to Nixon in 1972 by the Young Americans for Freedom. He shut them up, of course, but speculation about his possible break with the party was hardly absent then, or in 1976. The situation is clear, though. When once the right-wing was seen at odds with the mainstream party, now it is the relative moderate who is expected to make the break. In Florida, anyway, if not in New York.

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