Saturday, November 9, 2013

Christie vs. The Tea Party in 2016

I admit that I am a sucker for these kinds of predictions, but I have to agree with Andrew Sullivan that a Chris Christie vs. Ted Cruz vs. Rand Paul Republican primary fight would be very entertaining.  Here is a taste of Sullivan's post:

If Christie runs, and the egomania of last night makes it all but inevitable, he will at some point have to encounter and beat a serious Tea Party candidate. It could be Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or both. It will not just be a personality battle. Christie’s positions on climate science, Medicaid expansion, gun control and immigration reform – cited by Chait – are red flags to the base Christianists and extreme libertarians. Given Christie’s temperament, I’d say it will be a very entertaining but brutal battle for the soul of the party. Christie’s embrace of Obama during Sandy, his state’s marriage equality, his Northeastern roots, and the big establishment money behind him will also polarize the elites and the base. And his political style is not exactly to pour oil on troubled waters. He’ll say something mean and nasty at some point, and it could either cement his stature or make him look very small.

I can see him trashing Paul as someone who’s never run anything and who’s a surrender monkey in foreign policy. I can also see him lambasting Cruz for his recklessness and extreme partisanship. I guess what I’m saying is that I doubt he can win the nomination without a deep and damaging divide emerging – and maybe even a third Tea Party candidate. That’s not a good starting point for a general election, however wide his appeal in the country at large.