In a series of posts titled “What price Christie?” we have watched with great admiration the arguments presented by Governor Chris Christie to the people of New Jersey concerning the need to get a grip on state spending and taxation. We have seized on the dramatic videos in which Governor Christie makes his case, but we have done so without placing them in the context of the political battles in which he is engaged. In his current cover story on Governor Christie, National Review’s Daniel Foster supplies the missing context while NR supplies the attention-grabbing cover.
Will Governor Christie prevail in the Battle of New Jersey? He himself leaves it an open question. I will repeat here the point that I have made previously in this series of posts.
Even Churchill had his doubts about the outcome of the Battle of Britain. While he was driving home from Buckingham Palace on May 10, 1940, after having received the King’s appointment as prime minister, Churchill said to an aide: “I hope that it is not too late. I am very much afraid that it is. We can only do our best.”
In the decisive Cabinet meeting of May 28, Churchill addressed members of the government who were considerably less resolute than he was: “I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with That Man…. And I am convinced that every one of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender. If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.” The effect on his colleagues was electrifying.
Commenting on this episode in Churchill on Leadership, Steven Hayward writes: “[F]rom time to time, and especially in a crisis, the genuine leader must simply exert his personal force and summon up his willfulness.” One senses that Governor Christie has absorbed this particular Churchillian lesson (not that he wouldn’t appreciate a copy of Hayward’s superb handbook for inspiration).
On this point see the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s review of Governor Christie’s battle with the Democratic majority in the New Jersey legislature during the session that concluded this summer. The article shrewdly credits one aspect in particular of Governor Christie’s approach to the battle: “What Christie knew how to do was decide.”
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell