Chris Christie's Pro-Life Spiel At "Faith & Freedom" Conference Proves He Still Wants The White House
"Forget Bridgegate, I'm pro-life!" seems to be Chris Christie's latest motto in what appears to be an impending bid for the White House. Christie, who clearly understands that he'll need to get on the ultra-conservative bandwagon and insist Chris Christie is as anti-abortion as they come in order to see his name on backyard signs in 2016. So, now, Christie's running like crazy to the right and reaffirming his fierce conservatism at this weekend's Faith And Freedom event. Smart move, Christie.
The Republicans, the party who just ousted one of the most conservative members of their party, Eric Cantor, for just not being conservative enough, certainly won't take a wishy washy fiscally-conservative-socially-liberal candidate to Washington, and Christie knows it. Seriously, if Cantor, the man who refused to give disaster relief to his own state because it wouldn't balance the budget, couldn't get himself another term as the House Majority Leader, Chris Christie is going to do some major conservative rebranding to get himself taken seriously as a Republican.
And that's just what he's doing with his latest speech at the Road To Majority convention, organized by the Ralph Reed-founded Faith And Freedom Coalition. Members of the religious right are hardly Chris Christie's electoral base, as he managed to win the governorship of liberal New Jersey by playing a relatively centrist card and staying quiet on social issues. But now, it's not just New Jersey Christie will need to win should he run in 2016.
"Every life is a gift from God that's precious and must be protected," Christie announced at the convention, and further reiterated his stance of being "pro-life after you leave the womb" as well. Said Christie,
From the womb until natural death, we need to be there even for those who stumble and fall, to be there to lift them up. To me that’s the true meaning, the complete meaning, of being pro-life.
Of course, for the GOP, helping those who stumble and fall does not include providing adequate healthcare, welfare, food stamps, or other social programs that are meant, as Christie says, "to lift them up." Christie himself voted against a bill to increase the minimum wage and also blasted Obamacare as a "failed federal program," but who's keeping track, right Chris? Rather than pointing to the GOP's growing reputation as the party fighting the war for poverty, Christie instead emphasized his own policies on drug reform, education, and crime.
These moves certainly suggest that Christie has his eye on 2016, and while he was largely considered the frontrunner before the George Washington Bridge scandal, Bridgegate has certainly affected some voters' perceptions of the governor. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 17 percent of Americans viewed Christie favorably, while 32 percent saw him negatively.
In another poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, only 10 percent of respondents said they hoped that Christie would run for president. Even more damning for Christie, this poll found that no demographic or ideological group placed Christie at the top of their presidential hopeful list.
As such, it seems that Christie is now doing everything he can to show voters that he is the reincarnation of George W. Bush that the nation needs. And to be successful, he's going to have to come down hard on the right side of issues like climate change, gun control, and gay marriage. After all, this is the man who once believed things like, "Climate change is real," gay marriage isn't evil (it was legalized in New Jersey last year), and that gun control "can be" used to curb violence. Not very conservative stances for a party that elected Ted Cruz, the man who believed that Obama wanted to kidnap him.
While Christie was certainly measured in his pro-life statements on Friday, they certainly represent an increased willingness to display himself as a Republican for American conservatives, not a moderate for New Jersey liberals. And just like Mitt Romney before him, who left his moderate positions in the dust when he took off on the campaign trail, it seems that Chris Christie's transformation into a conservative talking head has just begun.