By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Governor Chris Christie’s decision to reevaluate PARCC testing is nothing new, Save Jerseyans, but his rhetoric where the inextricably-linked Common Core issue is concerned has definitely changed.
In case you missed it, here’s what he had to say at the end of last week on NJ 101.5:
Gov. Christie also told WNET-NJTV back in December that he had “real concerns about Common Core.” He expressed concern over “the effect it’s having on our kids, but we do have to have testing to know where are kids are.”
Now keep in mind: this is the same guy who, throughout 2013, repeatedly accused Common Core opponents of exhibiting “knee-jerk” reactions where the controversial federally-imposed curriculum standards are concerned.
“If the president likes something, the Republicans in Congress don’t, and if the Republicans in Congress like something the President doesn’t,” he told an August 2013 KIPP School Summit in Las Vegas. “It is this mindset in D.C. right now that says we have to be at war constantly, because to not be at war is to show weakness, and to show weakness is to lead to failure. And I just don’t buy that.”
One can’t help but wonder whether presidential politics is playing a role here. After all, contrary to the Governor’s formulation of the issue, there isn’t anything new/terrible coming to light about Common Core that it’s supporters shouldn’t have known prior to the beginning of implementation!
A look at the latest polling invites my speculation.
The poll in question comes to us from CBS News over the weekend where only 29% of Republicans polled want to see him run for president and over 44% do not. Only Sarah Palin performs worse; Romney and Bush are both in positive territory. I’ve been saying it for over a year now: Chris Christie’s centrist drift would be a bigger problem for him than Bridgegate come primary time. This poll certainly doesn’t disprove my thesis!
Is it fatal? Who knows; a lot can happen and the field remains fluid. But his mystifying position is definitely a major complication.
The key point is that Bush and Romney are also widely viewed as “establishment centrists” by many elements of the base, Romney somewhat less so, but regardless of the fairness of this assessment, what’s undeniable from a political point of view is the need for Gov. Christie to distinguish himself if he wants to win. The only way to do that against a Bush in a Republican primary, you’d think, would be to head right.
So we’ll see what happens when our own Governor’s commission reports back… this summer.