Chris Christie Wows GOP Convention
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blew the delegates away with a well delivered speech that may well have been the opening salvo of the 2016 campaign. He reminds me in many ways of both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton with his ability to speak to the people rather than down to them. He also is able to avoid the awkward “reading off a teleprompter” face and instead give you the impression he’s just talking to you.
His speech began with a discussion of his background in a way that allowed him to connect with the entire room, he wasn’t so much speaking about himself but rather allowing each delegate (and each viewer at home) to subconsciously substitute themselves in the story, as it was a background common enough to most of us.
He then drew on this background to take his mother’s long given advice and apply it to the campaign saying
The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting — but that respect could grow into real, lasting love.
Now, of course, she was talking about women.
But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever.
I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.
Citing the fact that the founding fathers had often worried about the power of the desire to be loved to overcome the need to do what is right he proclaimed
Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say “yes,” rather than to say no when “no” is what’s required.
In recent years, we as a country have too often chosen the same path.
It’s been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues. And we’ve stood silently by and let them get away with it.
But tonight, I say enough.
I say, together, let’s make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.
Urging the crowd to focus on the need to do what is right he reminded me of President Kennedy proclaiming that we did the things needed to go to the moon not because they are easy but because they are hard. He cited the example of what has happened in New Jersey where the people gathered together to start to solve the problems that needed to be solved and make some of the sacrifices that needed to be made.
Seeking to contrast between Democrats and Republicans he declared that the GOP was more willing to tell the truth about things, even when the news was not good. Discussing the issue of entitlements he said
With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of government.
They believe that the American people don’t want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government.
They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them.
We believe in telling seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements.
We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren.
Seniors are not selfish.
Regarding education and the issues of teachers and teacher’s unions he said
We believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed to put students first so that America can compete.
Teachers don’t teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children.
We believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what’s best for our nation’s future – demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.
They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense.
They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children.
They believe in teacher’s unions.
We believe in teachers.
In calling for new leadership he took on President Obama directly, stating that he was too tied to opinion polls and focus groups. He told the President that “leaders don’t follow polls, real leaders change them”
Looking back at the example of the Greatest Generation and their ability to overcome both the depression and the Second World War he called for a new great generation, challenging the crowd by saying
I think tonight of the Greatest Generation.
We look back and marvel at their courage – overcoming the Great Depression, fighting Nazi tyranny, standing up for freedom around the world.
Now it’s our time to answer history’s call.
For make no mistake, every generation will be judged and so will we.
What will our children and grandchildren say of us? Will they say we buried our heads in the sand, we assuaged ourselves with the creature comforts we’ve acquired, that our problems were too big and we were too small, that someone else should make a difference because we can’t?
Or will they say we stood up and made the tough choices needed to preserve our way of life?
He went on to speak of the need for a new American Century saying
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children and grandchildren to have to read in a history book what it was like to live in an American Century.
I don’t want their only inheritance to be an enormous government that has overtaxed, overspent and over-borrowed a great people into second-class citizenship.
I want them to live in a second American Century.
A second American Century of strong economic growth where those who are willing to work hard will have good paying jobs to support their families and reach their dreams.
A second American Century where real American exceptionalism is not a political punch line, but is evident to everyone in the world just by watching the way our government conducts its business and everyday Americans live their lives.
A second American Century where our military is strong, our values are sure, our work ethic is unmatched and our Constitution remains a model for anyone in the world struggling for liberty
Whether you agree with his politics or not it is certainly a goal we can all share.
The coming days will bring speeches in both Tampa and Charlotte and there will certainly be many dull ones and a few eloquent ones.
But I cannot help but to wonder if we just heard the best one