Politico is reporting that Barack Obama may have laid an “entitlement trap” for Republicans by not addressing entitlement reform in his budget. It was a gift” for Democrats reports Politico. “[I]n their view, the setting of a political trap for a Republican Party divided between conservatives pushing for major changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and a GOP leadership wary of the political peril of tinkering with Americans’ retirement security.”
There is clearly some concern in certain Republican circles over taking on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security no matter how ugly the fiscal implications of those programs are. They are such emotional issues, so easily demagogued by the big government crowd, that they’re political kryptonite in a lot of ways.
But New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is not only saying that Republicans can’t back down, he’s threatening to turn on Republicans who don’t take action. Christie was in DC today speaking at the American Enterprise Institute and, as is his wont, had some tough words to say:
This afternoon at the American Enterprise Institute, New Jersey governor Chris Christie said he wants House Republicans to “put up or shut up” on entitlement reform and had a message for those candidates he campaigned for in 2010: “If the people who I campaigned for don’t stand up and do the right thing, the next time they’ll see me in their district [it will be] with my arm around their primary opponent,” Christie said. “Because you asked me to put my reputation on the line for you based on a promise that you were going to deal with these hard issues.”
You can watch Christie’s whole speech at AEI (it’s both funny and engaging and well worth watching), but here’s a couple of clips of Christie talking about Social Security specifically. His point boils down, as he says at point, “you can’t fix these problems if you don’t talk about them.”
My favorite part of his speech was his describing how he dealt with the threat of a government shut down in New Jersey in response to his refusal to raise taxes (watch it to the end):
Christie has a gift for cutting through the tiresome, childish rhetoric about government spending cuts and striking at the heart of the matter. But before anyone suggests that this high-profile speech in DC today means Christie is running for President, he still says he’s not.
He says he may need to kill himself to prove to people that he’s not running.
I’ll close with this video that’s actually kind of old of Christie responding to a mother asking why the schools can’t help her son with his dyslexia. Christie’s proves why he may be the best communicator conservatives have right now: