Charlie Cook at National Journal:
The course is predictable. An elected official or a staffer does something that is terribly wrong, unethical, and perhaps even mean-spirited. The news media goes into hyperdrive, a legislative committee cranks up an investigation and issues subpoenas, politicians from the other party attack, and those from the miscreant’s party distance themselves as quickly as possible. The elected official is excoriated from every direction, and then talk turns to prosecution, impeachment, or—better yet—both. Last weekend, in connection with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and either “Bridge-gate” or “Jam-gate” (take your pick), we have started hearing the “P” and “I” words.
Having said that, I also have a problem with the recent story line: “The front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is hit with a scandal.” Christie, the front-runner? Again—really? Christie indeed sat at the top of some of the polls that lay out a long laundry list of every imaginable contender (as well as some who are harder to imagine), but does that make him the front-runner? I think not.
Think for a moment who makes up the Republican Party, and most specifically the part of the GOP base that dominates the presidential nomination process. Think about the people they seriously considered for their party’s presidential nomination last time around. Think Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich. Now, quickly, think Christie. Now think Sesame Street: “One of these things is not like the others; one of these things just doesn’t belong.” It’s laughable that the party that has previously seriously considered some fairly inconceivable candidates as worthy of the GOP nomination would suddenly reverse course and head over to a center-right candidate such as Christie.
I don’t give a rat’s ass about Chris Christie. The reason for this is simple – he’s the governor of New Jersey and I live in California. I have never even been to New Jersey, and it’s not on my bucket list of places to go. Nor do I foresee Governor Soprano going national.
Every four years we seem the same silliness. The media starts speculating about who will run for President in the next election and who they think will win. Invariably their speculations reflect a NYC/DC bias.
If Chris Christie was the governor of Idaho nobody east of the Mississippi would even know his name. But New Jersey is part of the New York Metro area. What happens in Jersey is local news in New York. The capitol of New Jersey, Trenton, is actually closer to NYC than Albany. And that George Washington Bridge that has been in the news so much lately crosses the Hudson River between Fort Lee, New Jersey and New York City.
Most of our national media is headquartered in NYC. This often causes the media to think that their local news is nationally important. They also think that anyone who is important locally is important everywhere.
That’s why the media were convinced that Rudy Guiliani and Michael Bloomberg were viable presidential candidates. They weren’t, and neither is Chris Christie.
Not all the media’s fantasy candidates come from the Big Apple area. Some come from inside the Beltway. In 2007 they were enamored of Fred Thompson. In 2011 it was Jon Huntsman. On the Democratic side Elizabeth Warren is getting a lot of undue attention right now.
The really depressing thing is that by the time the 2016 campaign starts heating up in the summer/fall of 2015, I’m going to be sick and tired of the whole thing already. The first primaries are still two years away but the media has been talking about the election for over a year now.
I may have to move to Colorado to cope with this crap.