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Don't Show All Your Cards

The Chris Christie strategy for GOP candidates.

Oct 11, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 04 • By FRED BARNES
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As chairman, Issa has promised to double the size of the committee staff and investigate the Obama administration and especially the White House. Boehner declared last week that Issa has his full backing to use subpoenas as part of his investigations. “Congress has an appropriate role under the Constitution to provide oversight of the executive branch, and I would pledge that it’s going to happen,” Boehner said.

He was putting it mildly. Issa is a tough-minded critic of the Obama administration. With subpoena power, he’ll be able to gather information that may be embarrassing to the administration, or worse.

The Christie strategy has a twist to it. Republicans don’t want to trot out everything they’d like to do next year—specific cuts in programs, for instance—because that might fuel Democratic attacks. But they don’t want to overpromise either. With Obama in the White House, their power will be limited by divided government. “Why would we want to overpromise when we know we can’t deliver things?” Ryan says.

Divided government is a legitimate excuse for not accomplishing much. The public, however, expects the election of Republicans to make a difference. So, difficult or not, Republicans had better produce more than they’ve talked about so far. Just like Chris Christie.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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