Monday, October 21, 2013


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 close as close as it was in part because he nearly made Martha Coakley's mistake -- until the end of the race he seemed to think he could coast. His overall TV ad spending was only a quarter of what Bob Menendez spent on TV last year in his Jersey Senate race.)

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.


Phil Freeman said...

How do you go from "Cory Booker won the New Jersey Senate special election by double digits last week" to "Booker's race was close" in subsequent sentences? Wouldn't a more accurate reading be "Cory Booker spent a quarter of what Bob Menendez spent in his last campaign and still won by double digits"? I mean, I don't like Booker very much, but come on now. He won, and to paraphrase Dr. Seuss, a win is a win, no matter how small.

All I'll say about Christie is this: If he can lose 200 pounds by the Iowa caucuses, he might have a chance. But otherwise, I'm gonna lay down a marker right now (just like I laid down my "It's gonna be Romney, and he's gonna lose" marker in 2010) that he will not be the nominee, for no other reason than his size. We don't elect fat guys President in this country, not anymore.

Buford said...

The Koch puppets in Wisconsin and Indiana are ummm, positioning themselves quietly and under the national radar for their runs for POTUS...It is looking like another crowded bozo circus...only more dangerous and cannot be ignored...

Steve M. said...

How do you go from "Cory Booker won the New Jersey Senate special election by double digits last week" to "Booker's race was close" in subsequent sentences?

Fine. Change "close" to "as close as it was."

And regarding Christie's weight, have you looked at average Americans lately? This is not a toned country. In much of the country, Christie's body mass index is pretty much that of the average citizen.

Chris Andersen said...

If the media's narrative-du-jour is "Republican governors getting the job done" then the best way to respond would be with "Democratic governors getting the job done".

There are a lot of Democratic governor success stories out there (Jerry Brown is one of the biggest), yet the media continues to be overly fascinating with the success of Republican governors.

That needs to change.

Dave S. said...

Definitely a hold-your-nose vote here in VA. McAuliffe is lucky to have such an opponent.

brett said...

NPR sucks. They are the worst false equivalence, prop up the crazies news org out there.

Victor said...

Hell, any and EVERY Republican is a potential disaster for this country in the next few Presidential elections.

Zandar said...

John Kasich wants some of that "liberal" love here in Ohio with his move to expand Medicare by executive order after passing an austerity budget and some of the worst anti-choice laws in the country.

Steve M. said...

Yup, and the presidential speculation immediately follows.

biz5th said...

You're awfully close to "this is good news for John McCain" territory.

Forget about the spin - a McAuliffe win in Virginia is important on its merits, especially if Democrats take control of the State Senate.

McAuliffe is running against Republican social values, which would have been unthinkable in the state 4 years ago, and he's likely to defeat a national Tea Party favorite.

This is all very good news.