New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie speaks with supporters after a town hall event in Sandown, New Hampshire, June 30, 2015.
Photo by Dominick Reuter/Reuters

Christie forgets: some Reagan references don’t work

Chris Christie’s presidential campaign has a new television ad, which may not work quite as well as the Republican governor’s team intended. Here’s the transcript:
“President Obama gave away the store to the Iranians, to a group of people who since 1979 have been chanting ‘death to America.’ This was negotiated so badly that you wouldn’t let this president buy a car for you at a car dealership.
“Now, he’s lying to the American people about how the deal’s going to work. I would’ve walked away from the table. That’s what Ronald Reagan did when he walked away from Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik.
“And so as president, the top priority is to protect the United States of America, and I’m the only one in this race who’s had at least some small part of that responsibility. I’m Chris Christie and I approve this message.”
The whole idea behind the ad is odd, in a candidate-focuses-on-his-weakness sort of way. Christie has no meaningful background in foreign policy or national security, and he’s struggled at times to understand the basics, so for the governor to pretend this is his area of expertise is jarring.
For that matter, if the scandal-plagued Republican has any evidence of the president “lying to the American people about how the deal’s going to work,” Christie hasn’t shared his proof with anyone.
But that’s not the funny part.
Rather, what jumped out at me was Christie’s willingness to get a gratuitous Reagan reference into the ad about U.S. policy towards Iran.
Um, gov? The Reagan White House illegally tried to sell weapons to Iran in order to help finance an illegal war in Central America. It was one of the biggest scandals in American history. Much of Reagan’s national-security team ended up under indictment.
Sure, I realize Christie was talking about Reagan’s nuclear talks with the USSR (which, incidentally, the right opposed and was also proven wrong about). But when going after Obama’s approach to Iran, Republicans really ought to leave the Reagan example out of their talking points.
Update: The estimable Bill Scher reminds me the point about Reagan and Reykjavik is itself pretty dubious.