By Bill Mattox, JMI Resident Fellow
Posted January 11, 2012
Most 2012 election observers want to talk these days (understandably) about actual candidates for president – Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, and the like – but forgive me for just a moment as I make an observation about Chris Christie that seems especially fitting now that the calendar year has turned from ’11 to ’12.If Chris Christie had decided to run for the White House, he would have set off a wave of nostalgia for the 1912 presidential election; because Christie, somewhat curiously, bears a striking resemblance to all three major presidential candidates from the 1912 election.In girth, Christie certainly looks like a William Howard Taft Republican. In style, Christie mounts the bully pulpit like that pugnacious Bull Moose, Theodore Roosevelt. And in position, Christie holds the distinction of being the first New Jersey Governor since Woodrow Wilson to entertain a serious run for the White House.While no one knows for certain which of the 1912 candidates a President Christie would have most resembled in governing, our hope should be that the next president actually draws greater inspiration from the winner of the 1812 election (James Madison) than from any of the 1912 candidates.Moreover, our hope should be that the winner of the 2012 presidential election – and our leaders in the other two branches of government – will increasingly take to heart the Constitution thatMadisonlargely crafted.In an age when the Supreme Court often imagines itself to be a legislative body, the President often acts as if he has the power to declare war, and the Congress often perceives that it has the power to do anything it “enumerates” (like requiring citizens to purchase health care), now would be a good time for all of us to reacquaint ourselves with our nation’s founding documents – and to insist that the winner of the 2012 presidential election govern in the way that the winner of the 1812 election intended.