The Conversation

Don't Worry, Liberals! Christie Still Flip-Flopped Your Way

Well, isn't this getting confusing?

On November 19th, I published a post entitled "Move Over, Rubio: Is Christie The New Immigration Flip-Flopper?", regarding a New Jersey bill that would provide in-state tuition to the children of undocumented immigrants. In 2011 Christie was opposed to such benefits -- this fall, however, while running for re-election, he abandoned his previous opposition and pulled an about-face, claiming he supported the Act. Christie went on to earn an estimated 51% of the Latino vote. 

In other words, a flip-flop, much like that of Senator Marco Rubio (who was against amnesty when he ran for the Senate in 2010, then flipped, spearheading the 'Gang of 8' bill this year). 

In a radio interview last week, however, Christie stated he could not support the current bill. The New Jersey Star-Ledger, the Garden State's largest paper, then slammed Christie for not supporting the bill, in a Sunday editorial entitled: "Christie's flip-flop on immigration." The piece, by the paper's editorial staff, claimed Christie was flip-flopping, based on his support for the bill this fall and his current position backing away from it: 

If Gov. Chris Christie thinks voters won’t notice if he promises one thing when he’s running for governor, then another when he’s running for president, he’s dreaming.

Yet that’s what he appears to be doing when it comes to the Dream Act. When the governor was seeking the Latino vote weeks ago, he assured advocates he’d support New Jersey’s version of this bill.

But now that he’s been re-elected with 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, he’s backpedaling. Christie told a radio station last week that he would not sign the Dream Act, which passed the state Senate and is expected to be taken up soon by the Assembly, for reasons that make no sense.

So Christie was originally against the measure, then for it, and now (apparently) against (at least in practice). So a flip-flop and then a flip-flop back again. (The editorial makes no mention that, even if Christie were indeed backtracking on his October 2013 support of the bill entirely, he would only be reversing course to the original position he held. Is a flip-flopper who flip-flops back to Point A still a flip-flopper? Like I said, confusing.). 

But that was Sunday. 

On Monday, Christie hit-back at the editorial's claims, reassuring the public that he was not backing away from his support of "tuition equality" (is that what they're calling it these days?) and still supports such an endeavor. Rather, Christie carefully cautioned, he simply does not support the bill in its current form (as he noted in the radio interview): for example, the bill allows out-of-state residents to become eligible for in-state tuition as long as they attend a private high school in New Jersey, thereby granting benefits to an undocumented from out-of-state that an American citizen from out-of-state would not receive. He stated: 

"I said...that I believe in tuition equality. This is beyond tuition equality. This is tuition equality plus plus plus," he argued. "I'm not putting the taxpayers of this state at any greater burden on this. Send me tuition equality, I'm willing now to do that. Send me tuition equality plus, or plus plus, or plus plus plus–and I'm not signing it. It's that simple."

So, he still does support "tuition equality" (just not the bill in its current form)? Good to know. While Christie apparently will not sign this version of the bill into law and deserves credit from conservatives for such, his insistence that he supports "tuition equality" is nevertheless concerning -- in a nutshell, Christie was once against in-state tuition for the undocumented but then reversed course and supported such efforts (whether the bill is signed or not). So don't worry liberals! Chris Christie, by my count, still flip-flopped your way. 

What do you all think? Am I being too harsh on Christie? Should we be thankful he's (at least) not supporting the bill in its current form, or should he clearly oppose such measures as he did in 2011? 

Follow AJ Delgado on Twitter here 




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