Mr. Christie Comes to Hanover

NJ Governor Chris Christie greeted a pair of Review staffers after his town hall at Salt Hill Pub.

NJ Governor Chris Christie greeted a pair of Review staffers after his town hall at Salt Hill Pub.

New Jersey Governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie was in town Friday, November 6, speaking at a packed Salt Hill Pub. Christie, after a moving speech on heroin addiction, opened up the floor to a town-hall style question-and-answer session.

Participants asked about various topics, including foreign policy, education, his record as governor in New Jersey. Christie adroitly managed the crowd, staying in control of the entire event and winning the crowd over to his side with his blunt demeanor and honest-guy persona. Christie was even granted a standing ovation at the conclusion of the event; perhaps unexpected for a candidate who has less than 3% in national polls and recently was demoted to the undercard debate on Tuesday, November 10.

There is clearly enthusiasm for Christie, a moderate republican, in left-leaning Hanover, even if not among the more Conservative republican national electorate. In terms of substance, though, Christie was distinctly unimpressive. On a question from a Dartmouth student whose question was intended to ask Christie about the negative effects of weakening Assad vis-à-vis ISIS, Christie seized on the unfortunate inclusion of the phrase “American imperialism” in the question and ignored the actual substance of the question. Although the rebuke was well deserved, Christie’s elision of the actual question suggested a lack of national policy depth.

Christie lacked nuance and substance on foreign policy, financial policy, and fiscal policy. He simplified the causes of the financial crisis, called for the aggressive prosecution of bankers who were involved, and, crucially, called for the continuing imposition of the Dodd-Frank Act on big banks while sparing “community banks.” Christie also touted his entitlement reform policy, telling the audience that the country has $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. He went on, however to call for cutting just $1.2 trillion over 10 years, hardly enough to deal with the problem. Fortunately, he managed to turn the afternoon around by posing for a picture with a copy of The Review.