Even as Chris Christie announced that he would fill Frank Lautenberg’s senate seat with an August 13 special election, conservatives banded together under the hashtag #appointRPG to call for the interim appointment of one of their most articulate leaders: Princeton professor Robert P. George.
Steven Hayward, a blogger at Powerline wrote, “Memo to Gov. Christie on Senate vacancy. Two words: Robbie George.”
Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of American United for Life, jumped on the bandwagon, saying “Let’s get it going”:
Yair Rosenberg, a writer for Tablet told Christie to “make it happen”:
Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek asked her followers to take up the cause:
Meanwhile, the Cato Institute’s Walter Olson panned the idea:
I have no doubt that George would oppose such an idea even more strenuously than Olson, and not just out of humility. It’s hard to see him winning the seat outright in New Jersey’s deep-blue sea.
Still, Governor Christie would be canny to put George on the shortlist for any interim appointee. Looking forward to 2016, Christie will need the support (or at least not the active opposition) of social conservatives. As this grassroots campaign demonstrates, few proposals would do more to galvanize that crucial bloc.
Update: At National Review, Princeton politics professor John Londregan lays out the case for Senator Robert P. George:
If we accept that Governor Christie should seek the best person to fill a possible Senate vacancy, the case for Robert George is compelling. He is already engaged in the central political debates of our age, he has been a valiant defender of the sanctity of human life, he takes a balanced conservative view of fiscal issues and of foreign policy, and he has the energy and charisma to communicate his ideas, and to follow through on his promise.
Steven F. Hayward, meanwhile, makes the best case yet: Cory Booker is going to win the special election anyway. And of course progressive groups are already raising objections.