Sunday, November 10, 2013


Adam Nagourney spent years as the most godawful purveyor of Northeast Corridor conventional wisdom at The New York Times. Jonathan Martin used to write for Politico, which is built on just that sort of conventional wisdom. So the Times has put the two together, and the results are exactly what you'd expect.
Washington these days is the symbol of governmental failure, rocked by a shutdown, legislative paralysis and the disastrous debut of President Obama's health care program. Public opinion of Mr. Obama and members of Congress is on a steady decline.

But something different is taking place in statehouses.

At a time when Mr. Obama and members of Congress are mired in partisanship and gridlock, many governors -- including Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican who was re-elected by an overwhelming margin on Tuesday, and the chief executives of such states as Arkansas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Ohio -- are showing that it is possible to be successful in elected office, even in this era.

These governors are, at least by comparison to lawmakers in Washington, capable and popular leaders, pushing through major legislation and trying to figure out ways, with mixed success, to avoid the partisan wrangling that has come to symbolize Washington.
Translation: Chris Christie is dreamy! Chris Christie's elevator pitch for himself ("Washington sucks! Governors like me rule!") is so excellently pithy that we're going to write about it as if it's a news story and not a campaign slogan! After all, that's our job, isn't it? To recast politicians' self-promoting spin as objective news?

The awe-inspiring greatness of governors, naturally, is in stark contrast to the current status of one particular Democrat, according to Nagourney and Martin:
The disparity could have implications for the 2016 presidential race. It suggests some of the challenges that Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former senator and secretary of state, could face should she end up running against a governor like Mr. Christie. Historically, governors have tended to be much more successful presidential candidates, even at moments when animosity toward Washington has not been at this level.
Never mind the fact that the popular vote has been won by a senator or ex-senator in three of the last four presidential elections.

Maggie Haberman, currently at Politico, sums up Nagourney and Martin's argument:

I love that "is seen as." By whom? Answer: By insiders.

What -- are 2016 voters seriously going to say, "Hillary Clinton's okay, but I don't care -- this year I'm voting for a governor, dammit"? Normal people do not think this way. Normal people don't sort politicians into these categories. A lot of governors became president between 1976 and 2004 -- but then in 2008 the three most popular candidates were all sitting senators. In 2012, an ex-senator cleaned an ex-governor's clock. Christie's top challengers right now are senators -- Paul and Cruz. Clinton's top challenger is Joe Biden -- an ex-senator. But ... but ... our precious categories!

Never mind the fact that Hillary Clinton has topped Chris Christie in every poll conducted this year, according to Real Clear Politics, in a couple of cases by double digits; never mind that Hillary hasn't been a D.C. politician in the usual sense in nearly five years, and is now associated much more with international jet-setting than D.C. gridlock. Nagourney and Martin -- soon to be joined by many, many other conventional wisdom slingers -- are portraying her precisely the way she's portrayed in their new mancrush's preferred narrative. They won't tell you that she beats Christie in actual polls, because she loses to him in theory -- or at least in Christie's theory, which, increasingly, is also their theory.


Victor said...

The next three years are going to be tough for us victims of our MSM.

Between Cruz's chorus, and Christie's choir, we'll hear far more about how divisive the one is, and inclusive the other is, that we'll be hard-pressed to even hear of ANY potential Democratic Presidential candidates.

Dark Avenger said...

"You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering."

Examinator said...

Steve, I agree totally with your summation it's pundits "making a story"
It reminds me of the record that came out after JFK's assassination that delved into the similarities(? ) between his Lincoln's assassination.
With meaningless drivel like the numbers of letters in their names, the fact that L was shot in a theater and the assassin ran to a warehouse, JFK was shot FROM A WAREHOUSE and Oswald ran to a theater. And the crowning fact was that both the assassinated POTUS's Vice pres were named Johnson (spooky ? WTF logic?? more likely). Well both idiot prognostications made money for their promoters as intended.

Examinator said...

After thought,
This proves my theory (a recontextualizing of Oscar Wilde's quote):- as a paid Pundit "There is one thing worse than being talked about that is NOT being talked about"

Patient X said...

Ad Nags is back? Christ, what next? Elizabeth Bumiller? Judith Miller?

Kevin Hayden said...

Even worse in my view: normal people don't give a rat's ass about 2016 right now. All the numbers are meaningless. And I have serious doubts that Hilary will even run.

So it's all manufactured nonsense about theories with too many variables this early.

Sometime after January 2015, I might actually consider a poll; till then the presidential race is bo-o-o-o-o-oring stuff.