Chris Christie as US Attorney

US Attorney Chris Christie-crop 165
Credit: wikimedia commons – public domain photo

Chris Christie - 2012 RNC

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave the keynote address at the 2012 Republican National Convention and the following are some highlights from his speech. 

Love vs. Respect 

"Well, this stage and this moment are very improbable for me, a New Jersey Republican delivering the keynote address to our national convention. From a state with 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans, a New Jersey Republican stands before you tonight proud of my party, proud of my state, and proud of my country. 

"Dad grew up in poverty and after returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s. Now with that job and the G.I. bill, he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree. And our first family picture was on his graduation day with my mom beaming next to him, six months pregnant with me. Now mom also came from nothing. She was raised by a single mother who took three different buses every day to get to work and mom spent the time that she was supposed to be a kid actually raising children, her younger brother and younger sister.  She was tough as nails and did not suffer fools at all. And the truth was she could not afford to. She spoke the truth, bluntly, directly, and without much varnish. I am her son. 

"And I am still her son today as governor, following the rules she taught me, to speak from the heart, and to fight for your principles. You see, mom never thought you would get extra credit just for speaking the truth. And the greatest lesson that mom ever taught me though was this one.  She told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. Now she said to always pick being respected.  She told me that love without respect was always fleeting, but that respect could grow into real and lasting love.  Now, of course, she was talking about women. But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership.  In fact, I think that advice applies to America more than ever today. 

"Now our founding fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity were fleeing and that this country's principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and the emotions of the times. But our leaders of today have decided it's more important to be popular, to say and do what's easy, and say yes rather than to say no, when no is what is required." 

We are the United States of America 

"In recent years we as a country have too often chosen the same path.  It's easy for our leaders to say, 'Not us, not now,' in taking on the really tough issues.  And unfortunately we have stood silently by and let them get away with it.  But tonight, I say enough. Tonight, I say together, let's make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.  Tonight, we're beginning to do what is right and necessary to make America great again. 

"We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down and work together to take action on the big things facing America. Tonight, we will do what my mother taught me.  Tonight, we are going to choose respect over love. 

"See we are not afraid. We are taking our country back because we are the great-grandchildren of the men and women who broke their backs in the name of American ingenuity, the grandchildren of the greatest generation, the sons and daughters of immigrants, the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes, the neighbors of entrepreneurs and firefighters, teachers and farmers, veterans and factory workers and everyone in between who shows up, not just on the big days, or the good days, but on the bad days, and the hard days.  Each and every day.  All 365 of them. You see, we are the United States of America."

This American Family

Chris Christie

THIS AMERICAN FAMILY: Growing Up As A Red Diaper Baby - A Memoir
Amazon Price: $16.95 $15.26 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 27, 2013)

We Did It (In New Jersey)

"I live, not by avoiding truths, especially the hard ones, but by facing up to them and being better for it. We can't afford to do anything less. I know this because this was the challenge in New Jersey.  When I came into office, I could continue on the same path that the wealth and jobs and people leaving our state.  Or I could do the job the people elected me to do, to do the big things. 

"Now, there were those who said it could not be done, that the problems were too big, too politically charged and too broken to fix. But we were on a path we could no longer afford to follow.  Now, they said that it was impossible . . . this is what they told me . . . to cut taxes in a state where taxes were raised 115 times in the eight years before I became governor. That it was impossible to balance the budget at the same time with an $11 billion in deficit.  But three years later, we have three balanced budgets in a row with lower taxes.  We did it. 

"They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics, to take on the public-sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefits system that was headed to bankruptcy.  But with bipartisan leadership, we saved taxpayers $132 billion dollars over 30 years and saved retirees their pensions.  We did it. 

"They said that it was impossible to speak the truth to the teachers' union. They were just too powerful.  Real teacher tenure reform that demands accountability and ends the guarantee of a job for life regardless of performance, they said it would never happen.  But for the first time in 100 years, with bipartisan support, you know the answer.  We did it." 

Politicians Who Lead vs. Politicians Who Pander 

"Now the disciples of yesterday's politics, they always underestimate the will of the people.  The people of New Jersey stepped up. . . . They rewarded politicians who lead instead of politicians who pandered  . . . we've never been a country to shy away from the truth.  Our history shows that we stand up when it counts.  And it's this quality that has defined America's character and our significance in the world. 

"Our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America. Let me be clear with the American people tonight.  Here is what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats. We believe in telling hardworking families the truth about our country's fiscal realities, telling them what they already know, and the math of federal spending does not add up. With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of this government." 

What They Believe vs. What We Believe 

"They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them.  They are wrong. We believe in telling our seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements.  We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren. Our seniors are not children. 

"Here's what they believe.  They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren.  And here's what they do. They prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the single cynical purpose of winning the next election.  Here is their plan; whistling happy tune while driving us off a fiscal cliff as long as they are behind the wheel of power when we fall. 

"Now, we believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed, to put students first so that America can compete, that teachers don't teach to become rich or famous.  They teach because they love children. We believe we should honor and reward the good ones, while doing what's best for our nation's future, demanding accountability, demanding higher standards, and demanding the best teacher in every classroom in America. 

"Here is what they believe. They believe the educational savages will only put themselves ahead of children, that self- interest will always trump common sense, they believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, lobbyists against children. They believe in teachers' unions.  We believe in teachers. 

"We believe that if we tell the people the truth that they will act bigger than the pettiness we see in Washington, D.C.  We believe it is possible to forge bipartisan compromise, and stand up for our conservative principles. 

"You see, because it has always been the power of our ideas, not our rhetoric that attracts people to our party.  We win when we make it about what needs to be done." 

 Leadership Matters 

"Make no mistake about it, everybody.  The problems are too big to let the American people lose.  The slowest economic recovery in decades, a spiraling out of control deficit, and an education system that is failing to compete in the world. 

"I know we can fix our problems.  When there are people in the room who care more about doing the job they were elected to do than  they worry about winning reelection, it is possible to work together, achieve principal compromise, and get results for the people who give us these jobs in the first place. 

"We need politicians to care more about doing something and less about being something. . . . And believe me, if we could do this in a blue state like New Jersey with a conservative Republican governor, Washington is out of excuses. 

"Leadership delivers.  Leadership counts.  Leadership matters. And here's the great news I came here tonight to bring you.  We have this leader for America.  We have a nominee who will tell us the truth and will lead with conviction.  And now he has a running mate who will do the same.  We have Governor

"Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan to we need to make them the next president and vice-president of the United States!" 

Real Leaders 

"I know Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear, to put this back on a path to growth and create good paying private sector jobs again in America. 

"Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world's greatest care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor. 

"Now we ended an era of absentee leadership without purpose or principal in New Jersey.  I am here to tell you tonight, it is time to end this era of absentee leadership in the oval office and send real leaders to the White House.  America needs Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and we need them right now. 

"I have an answer tonight for the skeptics and the naysayers, the dividers and the defenders of the status quo.  I have faith in us.  I know.  I know we can be the men and women our country calls on us to be tonight.  I believe in America and her history, and there's only one thing missing now . . . leadership.  It takes leadership that you don't get from reading a poll. You see, Mr. President, real leaders do not follow polls. Real leaders change polls."