Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told National Review today he’d be delighted to see New Jersey Governor Chris Christie win the Republican nomination for the 2016 Presidential race.
“We’re friendly, and I think extremely highly of him, and he knows I’d be delighted if he became a national candidate,” Kissinger said. “Conservatives should recognize his long-term potential.”
Kissinger’s remarks suggest he, like many in the GOP establishment, views the word “conservative” as a functional description used to identify a political base, rather than as a values-laden term that connotes a principled ideology or world view.
It’s not surprising that Republican leaders have been preoccupied with vetting “electable” candidates with lazy mass appeal, instead of finding future leaders who possess well-defined ideas – even if their conservative values aren’t all things to everyone.
Despite his camera-hostile corpulence, Christie’s giving the GOP the former. His sound bites are filled with all-inclusive, rah-rah ear candy – but they signify nothing.
From National Review:
“I’m in this business to win,” Christie told [Boston RNC members last week], to approving cheers. “For our ideas to matter, we have to win, because if we don’t win, we don’t govern, and if we don’t govern, all we do is shout into the wind.” It wasn’t an ideological overture but a pugnacious and pragmatic message directed to a group that’s tired of losing. And they loved it, and Christie, too, since he increasingly looks like the only center-right governor and national star looking hard at a 2016 campaign. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is widely believed to be leaning against it, and senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, though popular with tea-party activists, are privately viewed with wariness by the Republican donor class.
If the GOP leadership continues, like Kissinger, to long for a Chris Christie run at the White House in 2016, the Republican Party will be doubling down on a National strategy that’s gotten their insipid high-profile candidates nowhere – even as principled, values-driven Republicans continue to win statement victories as State Legislators and Governors in recent years. As ever, the National GOP is already showing signs its 2016 strategy will consist of Playing Not To Lose.