In the background as I started typing this, an NPR reporter was droning on with the nine thousandth iteration of the mainstream media's boilerplate Ted Cruz story (you know: concerned Republican says alienating GOP colleagues isn't a good career move if Cruz wants to have a long Senate career, reporter notes that what makes the establishment despise Cruz makes the tea party love him, blah blah blah). Liberal politics mavens are listening to this and counting the days until the GOP crack-up is complete and the progressive utopia follows.
Meanwhile, I was seeing this at Memeorandum, citing editorial pages from New Jersey and Virginia::
I'm assuming Terry McAuliffe is going to win in Virginia. But he's an unloved political hack and he's probably not going to crack 50% in a three-way race against a teabagger and a Libertarian. The mainstream press is quite ready to tell us that that's not much of a victory -- hell, Cory Booker won the New Jersey Senate special election by double digits last week and the New York Times write-up dripped with contempt for Booker, while right-wingers acted as if his teabag opponent effectively won. (Let me point out that Booker's race was
While McAuliffe is winning ugly, and Booker is entering the Senate after a victory that fell short of initial expectations, Chris Christie is about to win in a blowout, adored by the "liberal media" and embraced by the voters of a supposedly deep-blue state (and barely opposed by a Democratic Party that's simply decided to allow him to run up the score). Even gay marriage is working out ideally for him: it's come to New Jersey via the courts, which means that gay-tolerant swing voters won't see Christie-as-meanie blocking it, but he's still trying to get it overturned, which means he isn't failing a GOP presidential litmus test.
The press is very, very ready to write the story that the way out for Republicans is to follow the Christie model. No, let me rephrase that: The press is very, very ready to write the story that the way out for American politics is to follow the Christie model. Or the Susana Martinez model and the Scott Walker model -- and hey, Walker has a book coming out next month! The meme is that while everyone's feudin' and fussin' in D.C., Republican governors are getting the job done. Here's GOP operative Ed Gillespie, in The Washington Post, reminding everyone in the Beltway how that song goes.
I'm not sure what the exact date of Christie's second inaugural is going to be, but his first one was on January 19, which means the second one will fall sometime between the next federal government shutdown deadline and the next debt deadline. I assume we're going to have more ugly brinkmanship then -- which is only going to cast Christie in a rosier glow, by contrast.
I know, I know -- Christie's going to have to tack to the right to win the presidential nomination. But McCain and Romney pulled it off. I know -- the embrace of Obama burdens Christie. But McCain was burdened by support for immigration reform, and Romney by Romneycare. And if Christie can nab the nomination, he's much, much better than McCain or Romney at dishing out the red meat his base craves -- he'd be his own Palin -- and he does it without alienating centrist pundits.
So, yeah, there's some fun to be had in watching Republicans in Washington attack one another. But I think it all just makes Christie or some other GOP governor more likely to win the media primary in 2016.
UPDATE: Christie just withdrew New Jersey's appeal of gay marriage. I'm surprised. That's going to help him on Election Day and hurt him in 2016.