Dispatches from San Juan by the blogger known as Teddy Roosevelt
I have long suspected it but recent events confirm it. Governor Christie is not a conservative. He is a pragmatist who has embraced some conservative ideas because he sees that they will solve problems he has identified.
I say this because a true conservative would not come up with a grand plan to save the Atlantic City gambling industry by a virtual State takeover. No a true conservative would tell the Casinos to tough it out. Learn to compete or close. A true conservative would sell the assets of the Sports Authority and disband it. A true conservative would get the State out of the Xanadu fiasco even at a loss. This is because a true conservative understands that the proper role of government does not include involvement in these types of ventures. A true conservative has a very restricted view of the role of government. A pragmatist still believes that with the right idea the government can fix the problem.
That a politician that claims to be a conservative is really a pragmatist is not an unusual occurrence. Even the stoutest Conservative sometimes slips into pragmatism. I have yet to meet anyone or read of any historical person who is ideologically pure as new fallen snow. For instance Assemblywomen Casagrande, who I generally admire, has consistently fought for the State to prop up the horse racing industry in various ways because she thinks having a horse racing industry is a good idea. In reality the market place should make that determination. Although, in fairness, most of her proposals lean towards a deregulation of sorts. I would also point out that there is much I do admire about the Governor. I particularly like his honesty about where he stands and his self assured attitude. He is certainly a better Governor then a lot of the alternatives. I just wish his ideological tendencies where stronger
While I would rather have a pragmatist then a liberal ideologue the problem with pragmatists is they sometimes think that a liberal idea, such as subsidizing a failing industry, is a practical idea. The benefit of a strong ideological grounding (at least the right one) is that it makes you step back and say is this really a good idea instead of saying later on, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I think one day we will look back on the Governors plan and many who support it will say it seemed like a good idea at the time. A believe a better approach is to stop digging and climb out of the hole. Let the casinos either figure out how to fill it or get swallowed by it. Either way I think the tax paying residents of this state will be better off in the long run because as a conservative I believe government is rarely the best answer.