At the Aspen Institute recently, Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence, Scott Walker and Chris Christie spoke on various subjects, the last of which was on libertarianism creeping up through the parties. Christie, in his always subtle way, slammed it as "dangerous," using the most extreme words against it of any of the panelists.
The story is staying alive as Rand Paul has begun attacking Christie in retaliation, and the phrase "cloak of 9/11" was used, giving the media a new toy to chew on for a while until they got tuckered out and passed out on the rug.
Both men are being hailed as prime contenders for the presidential nomination in 2016, a race so far off that it's highly likely something is going to happen to change their popularity. Hell, it happened in a matter of weeks during the 2012 campaign to everyone's favorite candidates. Christie is in no way the conservative favorite, given the last few months and, as Ben Domenech says, he has a record on talking about guns that rightly scares advocates of the 2nd Amendment.
Paul, meanwhile, is slowly shifting into the familiar stances his dad took up. We expected and even saw of this early, but he's becoming a bigger Libertarian... not that it's such a terrible thing, but on policies like drug legalization and military withdrawals, it simply is not workable and the American public is smart enough to know that.
Now, if the race were right now, I would say Christie would get the nomination. But three years from now, it's impossible to tell. But, Dan McLaughlin on Twitter is right when he says this fight will be bad for Paul, and probably Christie, too.
I'm as guilty as the rest of the world for speculating on 2016 so early, but we live in a never-ending election cycle. Obama's not even eligible for re-election, and he's still campaigning. This fight, as it's being fought now, will probably end both their chances.
As an added note, as I type this, Rush Limbaugh is saying he believes Christie will be a viable Democratic nominee.