This past Tuesday night, Americans needed to hear a conservative vision for a 21st Century America. A national party keynote speech is the best opportunity to articulate this view. Americans have rarely been more disappointed.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave one of the most sophomoric, intellectually disappointing and, to be frank, insulting political speeches I have ever observed. His speech lacked both substance and inspiration. Governor Christie highlighted the growing ideological divide in our nation, but failed to bridge the gap, or even to try to put forth a competing view of our future.
In the wake of four years of unprecedented deficit spending and dangerous expansions of Executive Branch power over individual liberties through overregulation, overcriminalization and the dreaded individual health-care mandate, Americans needed to hear a new vision. Instead, Governor Christie gave a speech that shows the Republican establishment which he represents is bankrupt of ideas, ideology, vision and inspiration.
This is America. We can do better. Republicans can do better. The voters deserve better. America needs better.
Governor Christie never mentioned the Tea Party movement or its core issues of fiscal responsibility and individual liberty. He never mentioned our incumbent President. Christie then waited until his speech was nearly over to first mention the Republican nominee for President, as if Mitt Romney were an afterthought, and only mentioned Romney seven times while using "I," "me" or "my" dozens of times.
In a speech that will be remembered for both its ideological failure and political narcissism, Governor Christie was an example of much of what is wrong in American politics -- and society -- today. In an era where hard times demand self-sacrifice and the concept of a shared mission and teamwork, we got a self-centered "me, myself and I" performance that reminded me of the bratty kids in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
Most of all, Governor Christie's thematic, ideological and intellectual shortcomings reminded America that the Tea Party movement began -- as a reaction and response to the failures of the Republican Party. His performance reminded us why the Tea Party movement remains alive (and perhaps healthier and more serious and committed than ever) and why it is the only citizen advocacy movement that has staying power to fight for fiscal responsibility and individual liberty.
Eric Dixon is a corporate and election lawyer, political strategist, think tank member and radio show co-host.In short, Governor Christie had his Challenger moment Tuesday. He went to Florida, took off like a rocket with morning speeches to state delegations, and then blew up.