From Great Republican Hope To Big Fat Dope: The Chris Christie Story

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
Font Size:

Let’s hope Chris Christie got something really nice from Donald Trump in return for selling his soul.

The New Jersey governor based his 2016 presidential campaign on the dire need for entitlement reform.

“We need a campaign of big ideas and hard truths and real opportunity for the America people,” he said in July declaring his candidacy for president. “We need to fix a broken entitlement system that is bankrupting our country.”

“We have candidates that say we cannot confront, because if we do we’ll be lying and stealing from the American people,” he went on. “Let me fill everyone else in, the lying and stealing has already happened. The horse is already out of the barn. We’ve got to get it back in and you can only do it by force.”

Christie would ultimately focus his long-shot campaign in New Hampshire, where he was unabashed about the need to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to avert a crisis precipitated by the $80 trillion in unfunded liabilities embedded in those programs over the coming decades.

Indeed, his campaign echoed a theme he has been discussing for many years.

“Let me suggest to you that what game is being played down here is irresponsible and it’s dangerous,” Christie said in an electrifying speech to the American Enterprise Institute in February 2011, around the time conservatives were urging him to enter the 2012 Republican presidential race because his tough stand on entitlement reform. “We need to say these things and we need to say them out loud. When we say were cutting spending, when we say everything is on the table, when we say we mean entitlement programs, we should be specific.”

“If we’re not honest about these things, on the state level about pensions and benefits and on the federal level about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, we are on the path to ruin,” he went on, after laying out some of his proposals.

Fast forward to February 26, 2016. Just a few weeks after dropping out of a presidential race where he was describing the urgent need to fix our entitlement programs, Christie endorsed a candidate for president who is totally and completely against any kind of entitlement reform.

“People have been paying in for years. They’re gonna cut Social Security. They’re gonna cut Medicare. They’re gonna cut Medicaid,” Trump said last year on Fox News about Republican candidates pledging to reform America’s entitlement programs to get them on a sustainable path. “I’m the one saying that’s saying I’m not gonna do that!”

So by endorsing Trump, Christie also seems to have endorsed — in his words — “the path to ruin.”

[dcquiz] Now Christie will probably claim he will try to bring Trump around on issues that are important to him. But Trump has been ironclad on not fixing America’s entitlement programs. Perhaps this is only a gambit to be discarded by the billionaire frontrunner if he is elected, along with some of his other politically convenient promises. But for Christie to endorse someone vocally opposed to his signature issue when there are other candidates still fighting for the nomination who believe, like him, that entitlement reform is necessary is a betrayal of everything he was supposed to stand for.

In the span of half a decade, the New Jersey governor has gone from the great Republican hope to a big disgusting dope.

Follow Jamie on Twitter

Jamie Weinstein