On the eve of a House vote Wednesday on his amendment to curb the National Security Agency’s daily dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) tweeted, “Washington’s elites fear liberty. They fear you.” On Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (shown) demonstrated just how eager he is to join the Washington elite.
Speaking at the Republican Governors Conference in Aspen, Colorado, Christie delivered what Aaron Blake at the Washington Post described as a “clear broadside” against Republicans of a libertarian bent, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, expected to be competing with Christie for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
“As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought,” Christie said.
Asked whether he meant to include Paul in that call for caution, Christie said, “You can name any one of them that’s engaged in this. I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation…. I’m very nervous about the direction this is moving in.”
One of the things making Christie nervous is the battle for privacy rights against what some see as a flagrant overreach by the federal government in the kind of surveillance conducted by the NSA in the name of national security. “I think what we as a country have to decide is: Do we have amnesia? Because I don’t,” Christie said. “And I remember what we felt like on Sept. 12, 2001.”
By citing both September 10 and September 12 of the year 2001, Christie has September 11 surrounded, perhaps with the thought of capturing it as his issue for 2016. By doing so he would be picking up the mantle of fallen presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, who campaigned so hard on that tragic event in the 2008 campaign that Joe Biden suggested every sentence from the former New York mayor contained only three things: “a noun, a verb and 9/11.”