Chris Christie and the GOP: Pound foolish

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CHRIS CHRISTIE’S overwhelming re-election as governor of New Jersey this week immediately got him hailed as the great hope of Republican pragmatists in the 2016 presidential elections. My colleague cites him as a model for a more reasonable brand of Republicanism, one that accepts that government has a job to do and that compromises must be struck with the opposition: “he’s likable, he works with people from the opposite party and he governs well.” I’m just never going to be able to get on board with that last part. In 2010, Mr Christie made one of the worst governing decisions of the Great Recession by canceling the Access to the Region’s Core project (ARC), a commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River to double the maxed-out subway capacity between northern New Jersey and New York City. The project had been over a decade in the planning, construction had already started, and $600m had been spent. The decision to scrap it encapsulated the sheer numbskullery of Republicans’ sudden conversion to deficit-hawk austerity in the trough of the recession.People outside the New York metropolitan area have mostly forgotten about all this by now, but for me it’s like the Alamo. The whole thing was hashed out again in April of last year, when a Government Accounting Office report found that the reasons Mr Christie offered for canceling the project were largely …

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