Don’t Show All Your Cards

October 4, 2010 10:22

The Chris Christie strategy for GOP candidates.

Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard


Christie was elected governor of New Jersey last year after giving voters no more than a glimpse of his plans for the state. The reason was simple. Had he laid out his sweeping agenda of spending and tax cuts, he’d have given Democrats an inviting target.

For Republicans this year, the Christie strategy calls for making President Obama, Democrats, and their policies (jobs, spending, deficit, debt, Obamacare) the issue, while going light on the particulars of their own hopes and plans. An example is the Pledge to America issued by House Republicans. It’s more vague than specific, and properly so. It fits the strategy.

One of the biggest spurs to moving aggressively in 2011 is likely to be the newly elected class of Republican House members. There may be 60 or 70 or more of them, most elected in seats previously held by Democrats. They will make up a quarter, maybe 30 percent, of the Republican conference. They won’t be patient backbenchers. They will want to take momentous action.

Another force for boldness is John Boehner, the likely speaker in a Republican House. True, this is not Boehner’s reputation.

As chairman, Issa has promised to double the size of the committee staff and investigate the Obama administration and especially the White House. Boehner declared last week that Issa has his full backing to use subpoenas as part of his investigations. “Congress has an appropriate role under the Constitution to provide oversight of the executive branch, and I would pledge that it’s going to happen,” Boehner said.


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