This article in Politico is so obnoxiously obtuse that you wonder if author Alexander Burns has lived in a cave for the last two decades.
“The GOP’s Tarnished Golden Boys” projects a self-satisfied air of smugness at the problems of Christie and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell that you see a lot from liberal pundits these days:
The first major Republicans elected after the 2008 Obama landslide, the tough-as-nails Garden Stater and the straight-edged Virginian heralded the conservative resurgence in 2010 and pointed the way toward sweeping victories for small-government candidates on the state level. A year ago, both seemed like plausible and even probable 2016 presidential candidates, two representatives of a fresher GOP, anchored in fiscal discipline, support for states’ rights and opposition to public labor.
Now, clouds hang over both the GOP golden boys of 2009. McDonnell’s situation is far graver: as he leaves office this weekend, the governor’s Boy Scout-image is in tatters amid an ongoing criminal investigation of huge, undisclosed gifts that his family accepted from a political contributor.
Christie, meanwhile, saw the start of his second term engulfed this week in a different kind of investigation: a legislative inquiry, and a just-opened federal probe, into several of his aides meddling with traffic patterns in Northern New Jersey as an apparent act of political retaliation.
The near-simultaneous humbling of both men marks an important checkpoint in the history of the post-George W. Bush Republican Party, as a first set of next-generation conservatives begins to run up against the consequences of their own errors. Much as second-term presidents – not least of all Barack Obama – often struggle with the fallout from their first-term decisions, a new round of GOP state executives has only begun to confront messy realities of their own making.
Republicans emphasize that the two governors’ predicaments are not equivalent. McDonnell could face a federal indictment after the end of the single term Virginia governors are allowed. Christie, on the other hand, has totally denied any personal wrongdoing; no evidence has surfaced tying him directly to unlawful acts of retribution.
Yet this week, the two men adopted comparable poses of self-abasement, speaking to their constituents in tones of remorse at dramatic odds with the chest-thumping triumphalism that was a shared hallmark of both men during political appearances over the last four years. On the contrary, the two governors meditated together on the imperfections of humankind.
“Chest-thumping triumphalism”? Whew! Must have missed that these last four years. Imagine that — a winning politician who scores important legislative victories acting triumphantly. Never happened before in the history of the republic.
Burns’ “important checkpoint” in the post-Bush history of the GOP (all of five years) is a load of crap — as is his ridiculous notion that Bob McDonnell especially was some kind of “golden boy.” If McDonnell had designs on the presidency, they were certainly short-lived. He became embroiled in scandal almost before the Bible he used for his swearing in got cold.
And Christie? He’s about as far from fitting the image of a “golden boy” that you can get and still be in the continental United States. Trying to feminize Christie this way is perhaps more revealing of Burns’ fear that the left hasn’t hit the governor quite hard enough and that it’s still possible for him to come all the way back.
He needn’t fret so. Christie has enormous problems within the Republican Party and despite leading the race in its infancy, the governor has a rickety road to winning the nomination. Could he win a primary against a strong conservative anywhere below Mason-Dixon? It’s clear that some aspects of Christie’s personae and record simply won’t travel well out of the Northeast, and anointing him the nominee is wishful thinking by the left.
But Christie and McDonnell are pikers in the scandal department when compared to the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton.
No “Golden Girl” is she. I’m sure that most of the gloaters on the left who are enjoying the governor’s fall aren’t thinking about the oppo research book being compiled by the Republicans who will remind a feckless voting public what it was like when Mrs. Clinton was in the White House two decades ago.
The list reads like an AM radio golden oldies countdown: Travelgate, the magical and mysterious Rose Law Firm billing records that showed up in a closet in the White House years after being subpoenaed, Whitewater, Bimbogate, and the vast right-wing conspiracy that unzipped her husband’s pants and forced him to have oral sex with Monica Lewinsky.
Perhaps they think more recent history will also be swept under the rug. Refusing to send additional security to a diplomatic mission that was later attacked resulting in the deaths of four Americans, including the ambassador, might be viewed differently by the American people when it comes time for the voters to pass judgment at the ballot box. The 60 Minutes story has nothing to do with Clinton’s poor judgment regarding security at the mission, nor her obvious efforts to deflect blame for it from her office afterwards.
Christie may recover enough to run for president — as long as no evidence surfaces connecting him directly to the order to close the bridge lanes. But even without the scandal, he faced long odds to win the nomination.
On the other hand, the Democrats have the most scandal-plagued candidate in recent history as their frontrunner. Liberals may not care about Hillary’s problems, but the American people may. The point being, just what is it the left is celebrating about the Christie bridge scandal?
Those who live in glass houses…