First, we start with two axioms:
- A Ted Cruz presidency would place the American way of life in great danger. It would institutionalize festering prejudices , relegate women to second class citizenship, and play into the hands of ISIS and other terrorist organizations.
- Chris Christie is one of the smartest and effective politicians on the national scene and one of the few GOP contenders who is not crazy.
So of the two, who would be the most dangerous as president of the United States? The answer is Chris Christie.
Ted Cruz is a demagogue. But he appeals to a shrinking segment of the population – old white males. In the U.S. Senate, he is somewhat of a pariah – not part of the established old boys network. A Cruz presidency would certainly be detrimental to the health and well-being of a majority of Americans, but just as we survived Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, the nation could survive a Cruz presidency – especially if, as expected, the Democrats regain control of the Senate in 2016.
Cruz is not a dummy. But neither is he clever. No matter how much he and his minions work to advance their draconian agenda, at some point any chief executive needs to work within the larger political system.
As an example, George W. Bush Dick Cheney was able to advance his war-at-any-cost goal because his agenda was jump-started by the events of 9/11. Fear of “the other” is a good way to attenuate the cries of one’s opponents – in this case those who opposed invading Iraq for no good reason.
Chris Christie’s approach was a lot more insidious. He didn’t have a 9/11 event, but he did manage to cleverly leverage New Jersey’s long-standing economic malaise by recruiting his opponents to his cause – a much more nuanced and difficult approach to getting your own way.
Christie managed to con Senate President Stephen Sweeney into supporting an approach to pension and benefit “reform” that ended up putting all the burden on the workers and none on the state. He then managed to snooker Democratic mayors into believing that their lot in life would be better if Christie were re-elected, and he fooled the electorate the same way when he was re-elected by a large majority. Today, based on Christie’s numbers in New Jersey, voter remorse is rampant.
A Christie presidency also would be dangerous because of his disdain for his constituents and for transparency. One of the first blunders he made was cancelling the Trans-Hudson train tunnel – a decision that cost a billion dollars and set back the economic benefits of that infrastructure improvement by a decade or more. His recent bloviation about Syrian refugees in the Garden State shows his selective interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Another example of his contempt for the will of the people is his stonewalling on marijuana reform and the fact that in his administration arrests for possession of small amounts of pot have actually increased.
So while the election of Ted Cruz, or any other Republican, would be disastrous for America, Christie’s conniving, cleverness, and acumen make him the worst of several evils.