Christie Under Fire

 

In Iowa a few days ago, Chris Christie was challenged on his Second Amendment record. In response, the questioner found himself on the receiving end of a classic Christie barrage:

If you want to debate me, come in the top ten, run for president, and come… to Cleveland in August. [But] here’s what you’ll have to do then and what you failed to do this morning… come up with one fact, one thing I’ve done as Governor of New Jersey that’s done — anything — anything not to support the rights of legal gun owners.

As Christie points out — much in the fashion a tiger points out that it’s hungry — the questioner had a few of his facts off: Christie vetoed bans on magazines with more than 10 rounds and on .50-caliber rifles. Additionally, he’s pardoned or commuted the sentences of three otherwise-lawful citizens who found themselves charged with felonies for violating New Jersey’s draconian anti-carry laws, and is reviewing a fourth such case. As he puts it elsewhere in the exchange, he’s not “anti-gun” and puts the blame on the rapacious Democrat-controlled legislature.

With all due respect to the governor, this is rather pathetic. Christie’s political brand is a willingness to speak truth to entrenched power and to show leadership against it. I didn’t make things worse, put out some new fires, and ameliorated some of the worst abuses on a case-by-case basis is hardly a record to be particularly proud of, especially for a self-styled bullier of bullies

Consider the commutations and pardons. Later in the clip, Christie says that he and his staff are reviewing the case of Brian Fletcher. Fletcher, a North Carolina resident, was in New Jersey to repair cell towers earlier this month and found himself under felony charges when he disclosed to an officer that he had a secured firearm in his vehicle. Does Christie think such laws are good laws? Does he think it’s just for people like Fletcher, Shaneen AllenSteffon Josey-Davis, and Brian Aitken to have their fortunes and freedoms depend on — there’s really no other word for it — a boon from the governor?

As our own Charles Cooke and Kevin Williamson have argued, Christie has little to lose as governor — and much to gain as a presidential candidate — by trying to advance Second Amendment freedoms in his state, however incrementally. With yet another of these cases in the news and his poll numbers flagging, this seems like the perfect opportunity for Christie to pick a fight with his legislature.

If he doesn’t, he’s likely to find out how little “not anti-gun” means elsewhere in the country.

Update: On watching the video again, I realize that I mis-attributed the phrase “not anti-gun” to Christie. He rejects the label “anti-gun” repeatedly; for example, at 1’55” he asks “Now is that somebody who’s anti-gun and and anti-gun rights?”; about fifteen seconds later, he asks “What are your facts to back up that I’m ‘anti-gun?'” But he never actually uses the phrase “not anti-gun” to describe himself.

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  1. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Shame on you for playing into the hands of a Hillary presidency!

    — Basil Fawlty

    • #1
  2. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: As Christie points out — much in the fashion a tiger points out that it’s hungry —

    Perfect.

    • #2
  3. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    How about defending “justifiable need” all the way to the Supreme Court (and pointing out that the Court refused to hear the plaintiff’s appeal is not a good indication that you, “support the rights of legal gun owners.”)

    • #3
  4. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    It’s typical of his approach overall. He is and would be a placeholder Republican.

    Christie top ten? Ha! Only if it’s decided by size of ego.

    • #4
  5. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    If you want to debate me, come in the top ten, run for president, and come… to Cleveland in August.

    Yeah, that’s the way to gain supporters: tell your listeners they have no standing to question you.

    • #5
  6. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    DrewInWisconsin: If you want to debate me, come in the top ten, run for president, and come… to Cleveland in August. Yeah, that’s the way to gain supporters: tell your listeners they have no standing to question you.

    Hey, it works for the current Commander in Chief in the courts, why not here?

    • #6
  7. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1syRvYo0fbg

    Next we have Christie’s future tactics for dealing with questioners.

    • #7
  8. SParker Member
    SParker
    @SParker

    DrewInWisconsin:

    If you want to debate me, come in the top ten, run for president, and come… to Cleveland in August.

    Yeah, that’s the way to gain supporters: tell your listeners they have no standing to question you.

    If he’d led with that he’d have a problem.  But he didn’t.  He gave the questioner several opportunities to land a punch if he had one to throw.  The worst thing you can say about the last line is that it can be edited down to a great sound bite for evidence Christie is a big bully.

    Compare the style to the current Bully-in-Chief.  The  President’s response recently to Major Garrett’s ineptly phrased question on Iran hostages is a classic among many.  That’s how real bullying gets done.

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    If he doesn’t, he’s likely to find out how little “not anti-gun” means elsewhere in the country.

    Iowa is the first state I’ve lived in where gun shops advertise on the radio. “Not anti-gun” is about as firm a stance as “not a card-carrying member of the Communist Party.”

    • #9
  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    SILENCE, PEASANT!

    • #10
  11. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    I can already see the campaign commercial:

    “Hello gun owners, I’m Chris Christie.  When I took office as governor of New Jersey, it really sucked to be a gun owner here.  Gun owners were essentially treated as public enemies.  But under my leadership, it hasn’t gotten any worse.  So elect me president and I can do for America what I’ve done for New Jersey.”

    Or the bumper sticker:

    Christie 2016: With any luck things won’t get worse.

    • #11
  12. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    OK, so what that he could actually do has he failed to do?

    (Not rhetorical. I am asking. I did not see in the comments a specific action he could have taken to improve things.)

    • #12
  13. Funeral Guy Inactive
    Funeral Guy
    @FuneralGuy

    “Not anti-gun”. Can you get any lamer than that? And those three people he magnanimously sprung from jail? Think of the hell they went through until the the big, tough “not anti-gun” governor finally got around to them. Christie is yet another reason the Republican base is so angry. If it isn’t an issue important to the Republican establishment (i.e. Untrammeled immigration) he really doesn’t care. “Not anti-gun”. What a joke.

    • #13
  14. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @TonyRyan

    I thought he sounded quite reasonable and fair dues to him for looking his questioner in the eye and answering to his face.

    Surely the fact that Christie doesn’t just sweep his hand over a situation like a King and say “release the peasant” because in his opinion its the right thing to do is a good thing? Isn’t he the governor of the entire state and not just some of the people in that state? Do people really think he can just dump on a legal system without risking creating some dangerous legal precedents?

    I’m not from the US so I have no voting stake here but when Republicans attack their own like this you are pretty much asking for Clinton in 2016. Instead of having someone like Christie who you might agree with 60% of the time you’ll run him down and end up getting a POTUS you agree with less than 15% of the time. That seems kind of dumb.

    • #14
  15. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Funeral Guy: “Not anti-gun”. Can you get any lamer than that? And those three people he magnanimously sprung from jail?

    A slight correction:

    On watching the video again, I realize that I mis-attributed the phrase “not anti-gun” to Christie. He rejects the label “anti-gun” repeatedly; for example, at 1’55″ he asks “Now is that somebody who’s anti-gun and and anti-gun rights?”; about fifteen seconds later, he asks “What are your facts to back up that I’m ‘anti-gun?’” But he never actually uses the phrase “not anti-gun” to describe himself. 

    • #15
  16. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Tony Ryan:I’m not from the US so I have no voting stake here but when Republicans attack their own like this you are pretty much asking for Clinton in 2016. Instead of having someone like Christie who you might agree with 60% of the time you’ll run him down and end up getting a POTUS you agree with less than 15% of the time. That seems kind of dumb.

    If the primaries and national convention where done and Christie were the nominee, you’d have a point.  But we’ve got ever a dozen candidates right now.  This is the time to compare and contrast their strengths and weaknesses.

    • #16
  17. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Tony Ryan: Surely the fact that Christie doesn’t just sweep his hand over a situation like a King and say “release the peasant” because in his opinion its the right thing to do is a good thing?

    Well, he does have the power to unilaterally pardon and commute sentences and — while he hasn’t been as fast at that as I’d like on this subject — he’s done the right thing in the end.

    My problem is that Christie has never — to my knowledge — so much as lifted a finger to actually move New Jersey’s laws in the direction of sanity: i.e., away from charging people with felonies for carrying lawfully-acquired weapons into New Jersey, often in ignorance of its unusual laws on the matter. It’s telling that Allen, Josey-Davis, and Fletcher all got into trouble because they told the police officer they were speaking with that they had a weapon on them (Aitken’s circumstances were similar).

    Now, Christie can’t make it happen all by himself, but absolutely can get in front of a microphone and say that the law as it currently stands is unjust and it’s both wasteful and immoral for the state to treat otherwise lawful citizens as dangerous criminals this way. Moreover, it’s probably unconstitutional, post-Heller.

    • #17
  18. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Randy Weivoda:

    Tony Ryan:I’m not from the US so I have no voting stake here but when Republicans attack their own like this you are pretty much asking for Clinton in 2016. Instead of having someone like Christie who you might agree with 60% of the time you’ll run him down and end up getting a POTUS you agree with less than 15% of the time. That seems kind of dumb.

    If the primaries and national convention where done and Christie were the nominee, you’d have a point. But we’ve got ever a dozen candidates right now. This is the time to compare and contrast their strengths and weaknesses.

    Beat me to it.

    Also, I want Christie to do the right thing here, and he’s got a perfect opportunity to do so.

    • #18
  19. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Chris Christie has never been involved or charged in the killing of a gun. So there’s that.

    • #19
  20. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    I’m no Christie fan, but to his point, can someone name something he’s done contrary to gun rights?

    • #20
  21. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Tommy De Seno:I’m no Christie fan, but to his point, can someone name something he’s done contrary to gun rights?

    Shot off his mouth.

    I’m here all week, folks.

    • #21
  22. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Tommy De Seno:I’m no Christie fan, but to his point, can someone name something he’s done contrary to gun rights?

    I’m not aware of anything directly contrary.

    But when you’re the two-term governor of one of the states with the worst gun laws during a period of renewed recognition for gun rights and you’re record is a few commutations/pardons and some vetoes, I’m supremely unimpressed.

    • #22
  23. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Still not a Christie fan, I don’t like the tone he takes with people,  but he wins the point here.

    This guy tried to paint him as anti-gun.  Christie countered that he vetoed all the gun restrictions that came to his desk, has pard0ned 3 people who were otherwise guilty because the laws are draconian in NJ and has another under consideration (and he’s right  – that questioner is not considering the awesome power it is for a chief executive to keep thwarting the law through pardons).

    And he didn’t cut this guy off.  Over 5 minutes he repeatedly offered the guy to come up with one fact that he is anti-gun and the guy could give nothing to support his own premise.

    Objectively, from a guy who is not a fan of Christie, he won this round.

    • #23
  24. Bkelley14 Inactive
    Bkelley14
    @Bkelley14

    I saw Christie on Bret Baier last week and on another show (can’t remember). I thought he was great! Is he a RINO? I guess. But he’s a very, very smart Donald Trump type– blustery, combative, feisty, smart as a whip. If people are backing Trump, then why not Christie, who actually has some conservative cred (e.g. pro-life) and more smarts and political experience than Trump?

    • #24
  25. Butters Inactive
    Butters
    @CommodoreBTC

    you only need two words to describe Christie on guns: Carol Bowne

    contrast the way Christie treats hecklers to the way Cruz engages code pink protesters with class

    • #25
  26. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Commodore BTC:contrast the way Christie treats hecklers to the way Cruz engages code pink protesters with class

    See, I actually don’t have a big problem with Christie’s presentation on this and I think he’s right to defend his record against some clear misstatements of fact (it’s worth noting that the guy who asked him the questions seemed to be a pretty good sport about it, too).

    I just don’t think Christie’s record here, as he presents it, is very impressive.

    • #26
  27. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Commodore BTC:you only need two words to describe Christie on guns: Carol Bowne

    contrast the way Christie treats hecklers to the way Cruz engages code pink protesters with class

    Y’mean he didn’t even raise his voice?

    RINO.

    • #27
  28. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    I just don’t think Christie’s record here, as he presents it, is very impressive.

    Other than veto all the gun restrictions that come before him, and thwart the bad laws with pardons (which is extraordinary relief – he is literally putting himself above the will of the people made clear through their representatives) –  what can a Republican Governor with a Democrat, anti-gun legislature do?

    What would he have to do to impress you?

    • #28
  29. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Tommy De Seno:What would he have to do to impress you?

    Short version: stop being reactive on this issue, start trying to advance the matter.

    Longer version:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Tony Ryan: Surely the fact that Christie doesn’t just sweep his hand over a situation like a King and say “release the peasant” because in his opinion its the right thing.

    My problem is that Christie has never — to my knowledge — so much as lifted a finger to actually move New Jersey’s laws in the direction of sanity: i.e., away from charging people with felonies for carrying lawfully-acquired weapons into New Jersey, often in ignorance of its unusual laws on the matter. It’s telling that Allen, Josey-Davis, and Fletcher all got into trouble because they told the police officer they were speaking with that they had a weapon on them (Aitken’s circumstances were similar).

    Now, Christie can’t make it happen all by himself, but absolutely can get in front of a microphone and say that the law as it currently stands is unjust and it’s both wasteful and immoral for the state to treat otherwise lawful citizens as dangerous criminals this way. Moreover, it’s probably unconstitutional, post-Heller.

    • #29
  30. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Christie makes a heckuva point re: the state legislature. See the damage incurred by the city-state of Sacramento for example.

    This is why you will never hear a negative word from me about former Governor Jeb Bush and House Speaker Marco Rubio. They accomplished great things together for the state of Florida.

    • #30
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