The Other GOP: Christine Todd Whitman

NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman, with Ukranian-American veterans group

Trump’s Presidency has had many people stating that the era of Reagan is over. It’s been said by the press, it’s been said by officials in the Trump administration and it’s been said by Trump-enabling politicians. They’re correct; it’s impossible to look at what the rank and file of the GOP accept today and align that with the values promoted in the 1980s. There are no serious efforts to convince people of the inherent value of human life, there is no recognition of the fiscal and moral danger associated with spending cash one doesn’t have, no understanding of the principles that our military members are putting their lives on the line to defend.

This situation has resulted in many abandoning the GOP. Republicans, they claim, have abandoned their core. Some argue, I feel incorrectly, that they never had a core, that it’s all been a lie and that the allegations thrown at them by Democrats for the last sixty years have all been proven true by Trump. Prominent people who make this argument typically have strong fiscal and social incentives to do so, but by making it they indirectly slander those who have held the line on human rights, Constitutionalism, and simple decency. These are typically people who have spent much of their lives – certainly far more of their lives than Trump – deeply associated with the Republican party, and who have refused to go along with its debasement, whether for the sake of expediency (the enablers) or because they’d been freed to expose their inner demons (the nationalists).

There aren’t nearly enough of them, but that only argues more strongly for recognition of those who have held the line. One of them is Christine Todd Whitman.

Christine Todd was born into a politically active family; her father was an advisor to President Eisenhower and she attended her first RNC in 1956 at age nine. By the time she was out of college she had the connections, degree and experience which netted her a junior spot in the Nixon administration, as a staffer for the Office of Economic Opportunity under Donald Rumsfeld. In contrast to the retroactive positioning of the Republican Party as being anti-woman in the 1960s, she was recognized for her potential and skill… which was set aside for a few years when she married, had children, and moved to England to accommodate her husband’s job.

She returned to her home in New Jersey a few years later and re-entered politics, running successfully in a series of local elections and working her way up to a spot in Governor Tom Kean’s administration. In 1990, she ran for Senate and failed to get the position (unsurprising, as no Republican has been elected to the NJ Senate since 1972.) She followed that with a successful run for Governor, which has been an achievable goal for NJ Republicans. She was Governor of NJ from 1992 to 2000, and moved from there into being the head of the EPA under George W. Bush.

It’s ridiculous to claim that she’s somehow not a Republican, nor that she’s hasn’t been around long enough to know the inner workings of the party on both the state and federal levels.

In the 2016 election cycle, she endorsed John Kasich. She condemned Trump and his tactics, and warned that if the party nominated him, she would vote for Hillary Clinton to try to stop him from getting into office.

This isn’t particularly unusual… there were quite a few Republicans who were sounding the warning bells about Trump but who fell into line once he clinched the nomination. There were even more who gradually warmed to him once they started getting money diverted to their pet projects or had a Justice they liked nominated to the Supreme Court. Whitman, however, didn’t bend.

In 2018, after Trump’s disastrous and sycophantic summit with Vladimir Putin, Whitman wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times saying that Trump’s actions had demonstrated him to be unfit for office and calling for Republican Congress members to remove him immediately. In 2019, she gained attention – as she’d intended – by tweeting a direct comparison between Trump and Hitler, after years of public criticism of Trump’s actions had been given little attention by a Republican press which did not want to highlight dissent or a Democratic press which was making political gains by framing all Republicans as being happily Trumpist.

She campaigned for Bill Weld in the 2020 primary, despite Weld also being virtually shut out of media attention. When Weld’s long-shot attempt failed, she publicly endorsed Biden.

Since the election, she’s been in charge of a group that’s been filing amicus briefs against the Trump legal team in different states, arguing against the specious efforts to bypass the American system. For five years, she hasn’t given up hope and she’s continued to fight.

She’s not in a majority in the Republican party, but she’s also not alone. This piece is one of what I hope is an irregular series, underscoring the point that not everyone in the GOP is either an opportunist or a nationalist, that the old core still exists, however weakened. I do not expect them to win the day when Trump finally leaves town, but in any of their efforts to clean their party of the filth that Trump has brought with him or exposed within the ranks I will support them. If they want to be Hercules for the Augean stables of the Republican party, I will champion them even as I look for alternatives.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.