As impeccable as his delivery was Tuesday night, Chris Christie’s keynote speech to the Republican National Convention needs to be read as much as seen.
The New Jersey governor masterfully, and forcefully, presented the nation’s daunting financial challenges – this generation’s imperative – with no sugar coating, insisting we’re adult enough to be told the truth by those who would lead us.
We hope he’s right. His own experience shows he may be: Christie is the Republican governor of a largely Democratic state who managed to work with the loyal opposition to tackle deficits and labor union intransigence that others said would be impossible to take on.
“They rewarded politicians who led instead of politicians who pandered,” Christie said of the people of New Jersey.
This is the Mitt Romney gamble – reason over emotion – that he put on the table when he chose budget hawk Paul Ryan, congressman of Wisconsin, as his running mate. Tuesday, Christie doubled down on that bet, made on behalf of the better nature of Americans.
Fans and foes alike might have expected Christie’s keynote to be more of an attack on the incumbent president’s indefensible record. Instead, Christie attacked our problems – most urgently, federal overspending with no end in sight that doesn’t involve a cliff.
Typically, liberal pundits decried Christie’s “nasty, mean” truth-telling much as an adolescent might complain about the rules at home. But facts are stubborn things. While Democrats want to be popular by dancing around the numbers – they haven’t even passed a budget in three years, as the federal debt has exploded – Romney, Paul, Christie and the new Republican Party have chosen to stand up to the hard choices we must make, including reforming Medicare and Social Security to save them for future generations.
The response of the Demagogic Party and its lapdogs in the media is to bark and howl to scare voters. What the Demagogues won’t tell you is that they have no plan to save the entitlement programs from imminent collapse. They just want to be in charge when it happens.
It’s a delicate message to bear, but Christie did it with aplomb and a fierce earnestness we hope will galvanize Americans into doing what’s necessary to save America.
“We need politicians to care more about doing something and less about being something,” Christie said. “I have faith in us. I know we can be the men and women our country calls on us to be.”
We’ll learn in a mere couple of months whether that faith is well-placed.