He unnerved fiscal conservatives by saying that the hurricane recovery would probably require higher taxes, because “there’s no magic money tree.” He came out against the National Rifle Association’s plan to have gun-wielding guards in schools, saying, “You don’t want to make this an armed camp for kids.”
Earlier, after conservatives criticized his appointment of a Muslim judge, he took on these “bigots” for their “gaze of intolerance.” And on immigration, he called for an “orderly process” to legalize immigrants and he criticized those who “demagogue.”
Certainly, Christie is no liberal, but his State of the State speech was full of policy prescriptions that conservatives might label big government: “We’ve requested the federal government to pay 100 percent of the costs of the significant debris removal . . . We have secured $20 million from the Federal Highway Administration . . . We have worked with the Small Business Administration to secure nearly $189 million in loans.”
Christie also bragged about “implementing the toughest fertilizer law in America,” fighting insurers’ “excessive deductibles” and “investing the largest amount of state aid to education in New Jersey history.” He said “both Republicans and Democrats” would make sure the state got its full federal payout for the storm.
“You see,” he told the legislators, “some things are above politics.”
It’s a lesson that could help the national Republican Party loosen the tea party’s death grip.