Tilting at Windmills

November/ December 2011 Christie as cynic

By Charles Peters

Back to Obama. I agree with the criticism that he has spent too much time reaching out to Republicans. But I do understand and admire his desire to find common ground. His own experience at the Harvard Law Review and in the Illinois legislature seemed to prove that he could get conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans to work together. But of course he underestimated the extent to which the rigid right has come to dominate the Republican Party in Washington.

Maddeningly, Governor Chris Christie, in his recent speech at the Reagan Library, asked, “What happened to State Senator Obama? When did he decide to become one of the ‘dividers’ he spoke of so eloquently in 2004?” This is so cynical! Christie is not stupid. He knows that Obama tried again and again to reach out to the Republicans, only to be rebuffed again and again. Christie says he “thought hard” about the Reagan speech, which means we can be relieved by his final “no” to running for president.

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.