Visiting Iowa on Monday ahead of an expected 2016 presidential bid, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tore into the Obama administration, castigating its approach to foreign policy and arguing that his blunt style would better secure the nation.
"You see the President taking bows, saying he has terrorism on the run, yet ISIS is beheading people and burning foreign soldiers alive," Christie said at a Dallas County GOP event, in remarks reported by CNN. He added that terrorism has been "emboldened by the lack of leadership from Washington."
During his appearance, the governor contended that his stewardship of New Jersey offers an alternative approach to governance that can be brought to scale nationally. "What we're doing in New Jersey can be done across the entire country, but it takes strength," Christie said. "And it takes straight and direct talk to people."
What, practically, does that mean? Well, Christie didn't get into details on how he'd combat terrorism, although he did allow that you don't need "boots on the ground in every conflict." Lindsey Graham, he is not.
Of course, what makes Christie's remarks particularly mystifying is that one could hardly assert that the U.S. isn't displaying "leadership" against the Islamic State militant group, or ISIS. Since September, the U.S. has led an international coalition waging airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria, but the bombing campaign hasn't met with the results that hard power fetishists would predict. U.S. intelligence officials told the Daily Beast earlier this month that 4,000 new fighters have joined ISIS since the airstrikes began. One could argue about what more Obama could have done to prevent ISIS's rise, but the Iraq War -- launched by very strong leader George "The Decider" Bush -- and the U.S.-backed Maliki government's sectarianism undeniably helped foster radicalism and, ultimately, ISIS.
The major takeaway, however, is how delusional Christie clearly is about his leadership of New Jersey. It turns out that YouTube videos in which the governor screams at teachers and tells constituents to sit down and shut up do not a prosperous state make. In fact, New Jersey's credit rating has been downgraded eight times on Christie's watch, and while the state was outperforming the national unemployment rate when he took office, New Jersey's 6.4 percent jobless rate is now higher than the national 5.7 percent rate. The state ranks 49th in terms of private sector job growth.
But more about "strength" and "leadership" and "straight talk" please, governor!