The Republican Party may be better poised to win the presidency in 2016 than in 2012. None of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates is a standout who excites voters or the GOP base. A recent poll showed President Obama losing reelection in a one-on-one showdown against a generic Republican. The problem is that that generic Republican is an idealized Republican. Obama polls much better once actual Republican names and faces are put in that spot. Moreover, Obama’s RealClearPolitics average approval ranking somehow, despite all the dreadful economic news, remains in the high 40-percent range, from where it rarely dips.
Again, it doesn’t look good for Republicans in 2012.
As for 2016, however, the situation for Republicans looks better, with a rising crop of GOP stars ranging from Marco Rubio in the Senate to Paul Ryan in the House to governors like Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie. Among these particular Republicans, all happen to be pro-life Roman Catholics. And the most interesting among them might be Chris Christie, who right now faces an important test that will go a long way in solidifying the long-term support of pro-lifers.
For the record, Christie has been terrific not only on abortion but in holding the line in trying to stop the insanity that is New Jersey’s fiscal situation. In New Jersey, the teachers’ unions and public-sector unions—in an unholy alliance with Democrats in the state legislature—have literally bankrupted the state. It’s nothing short of scandalous. And Gov. Christie has been remarkable in standing up to them. His recent answer to a constituent on where he sends his children to school ought to be etched into marble at the base of the Washington Monument as a splendid civics lesson for our time. (Click here to watch.)
Thus, we figured we could count on Christie to veto any attempts by the state’s liberal Democrats—many of which are “pro-choice Catholics” in this heavily Catholic state—to fund Planned Parenthood. And he hasn’t disappointed. Not only would we expect Christie to oppose taxpayer subsidies of Planned Parenthood from a moral point of view but especially from a fiscal standpoint. It’s nothing short of ludicrous that any bankrupt government—or any government at all—would channel citizens’ hard-earned dollars to an annual bailout of the nation’s largest abortion provider. That is not a legitimate function of government. Only in legislatures and executive branches dominated by Democrats has this kind of moral/fiscal madness been able to flourish unhindered. Or until recently, that is.
Now, with the election of Republicans to key positions in legislatures in North Carolina, Indiana, and Kansas, and to governorships in Indiana and Kansas, Planned Parenthood has been defunded in those states—or, at least, is hopefully in the process of being defunded, as the Obama administration challenges those attempts at defunding. (North Carolina has a Democrat governor, which means, as a Democrat governor usually does, that the governor supports Planned Parenthood funding and is generally atrocious in protecting unborn life.)
Christie repeatedly has done the right thing on Planned Parenthood. Earlier this month, and for the second time, he vetoed funding for “family planning services.” Democrats reacted with predictable horror, as if life and death were at stake. (Gee, I guess it is.) As LifeNews.com reports,
Democrats in the state legislature are using a special legislative session to attempt to override Christie’s veto. Few things seem to mobilize Democrats more than efforts to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider.
That Christie would deprive such an organization of $7.5 million from the pockets of New Jersey taxpayers is—in the mind of New Jersey’s Democrats—patently outrageous. How could Chris Christie be so cruel and vulgar? Does the man have fangs protruding from his mouth?
The New Jersey Senate voted 26 to 13 to restore funding to this organization founded by racial-eugenicist Margaret Sanger. (Interestingly, it was in New Jersey that Sanger gave her 1926 speech to the KKK.) Every single Democrat in New Jersey’ Senate voted for Planned Parenthood funding. Two liberal Republicans, Diane Allen and Jennifer Beck, joined them.
Chris Christie needs to stand firm. He should speak to New Jersey’s Planned Parenthood Democrats in the same way he has spoken to New Jersey’s teachers’ union Democrats—with color, conviction, and courage. He has spoken intelligently and courageously on so many issues. This is another critical issue where he needs to continue fighting the good fight. Many of us around the nation are watching, and we’re thinking not merely about New Jersey in 2011 but America in 2016.
Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.