Chris Christie Steals Somebody Else's Sister Souljah Moment

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 4 2011 6:40 PM

Chris Christie Steals Somebody Else's Sister Souljah Moment

More than a week leter, this video of Chris Christie attacking critics of a Muslim court nominee is still making rounds.

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Christie was in a unique position to say this. In the short history of the sharia wars, New Jersey is Pearl Harbor. It was there that Judge Joseph Charles -- you'll notice he's not a Muslim -- sided against a woman in a domestic dispute, citing sharia law. The decision was overturned, but it's been the basis for every anti-sharia campaign since then. "If we fail, why, look at what (really briefly) happened in New Jersey!"

Only one politician gets to be the first to "go there." Now that Christie's given this speech, a window has closed for Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney or, not that it would matter as much, Jon Huntsman.* No one else can give a "Seriously? Sharia law? You people are nuts." speech. In the headline, I compare this to a "Sister Souljah" moment. The difference between this and that: It really isn't clear that doing what Christie did would help a Republican candidate.

*This isn't a reference to his poll standing, but to the impression that he's already the moderate sophisticate's candidate.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.