Author: Rory B. Bellows
Star Ledger Columnist Paul Mulshine makes a forceful case that New Jersey conservatives are being sold down the river by Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie.
Mulshine always generates consternation among Republican Party figures because he is the most vocal and visible conservative in New Jersey media. He has never been, and nor should he ever be, a cheerleader for the Republican Party. He is a principled advocate for the conservative movement, which is not the same thing as the Republican Party.
As a conservative, Mulshine is correct to be outraged by the policy positions staked out by Christie. His endorsement of the Obama Regime’s energy policy flies in the face of not only conservative thought, but sound economic and market principles. The left has planted their flag with these absurd alternative energy fantasies. If these technologies were practical, the private sector would be all over them and they would not require massive government favortism in the form of subsidies to be viable.
The Republican party is supposed to be grounded in realism. Let the Democrats preach about utopian fantasies that government will create, the Republican Party are the grown ups who know fantasy land rubbish when they see it and are responsible stewards of the tax payer dollar. Christie backing Obama’s energy plan is pure pie-in-the sky idealism that all things are possible and that ideas should not be judged on their practicality, but rather on how they make us feel and how noble the goals they seek to accomplish are.
If the Republican Party is ever to make a comeback it is going to not be based on moderating principles but in (re)embracing realism and prudence. The Bush Adminstration abandoned the realism camp abroad, with the adventure in Iraq, and domestically with massive government interventions in the form of No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D. Christie is rejecting prudence and realism for fantasy not only with his backing of Obama’s energy proposal, but also with his promise to cut the state income tax and increase property tax rebates. As Mulshine points out, this is impossible. The income tax funds property tax rebates. You cannot decrease one and increase the other. Making promises with no ability to pay for them is exactly the course George Bush took the Republican Party down with the Medicare presicription drug entitlement and it is the same thing Republicans are rightly thrashing Obama for with his proposal to socialize medicine.
The base of the Democratic Party in New Jersey is depressed. Polling shows that Obama will have no impact in the race. Chris Christie does not need to pander to democratic constituencies in order to win this election. What he needs to do is offer a realistic alternative to Corzine. New Jerseyans want property tax relief, not rebates. Property tax relief can easily be delivered by moving away from affordable housing and allocating school funding equally. These ideas can be sold in practical, non-idelogical terms based on the simple fact that the Abbot School funding program and affordable housing policies have not worked. Everyone knows they have driven up property taxes. The Christie campaign is worried about being labeled too far to the right. Fine. There is a conservative philosophical argument against these programs but Chrisite does not have to go there. The numbers tell the story.
We have had 8 long years, at the state and national level, of idealists, both Republican and Democrat as captains of the ships of state. We have suffered mightly for turning our backs away from prudent thinking with our country engages in endless conflicts abroad, a collapsed housing bubble and an economy in tatters due excessive borrowing by both government and consumers.
Friedrich Hayek famously dedicated The Road to Serfdom to the socialists of all parties. I dedicate this post to the idealists of all parties.