Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hello, 2016!

2016 is closer than you think. Especially when mud on one of the top Presidential candidates for that cycle is in the news.
Emails emerged Wednesday tying New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s staff to the closing of lanes on a key bridge in September — shutdowns that caused massive traffic problems and sparked allegations that the closures were the result of political retribution. The likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate had denied his staff played a role in the lane closures and even mocked reporters for asking about the issue when it emerged months ago. However, the emails tell a different story, potentially undercutting Christie’s reputation as a truth-teller who doesn’t play political games. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie senior staffer Bridget Kelly wrote in an email to Port Authority official David Wildstein, a Christie ally, on Aug. 13, 2013, according to The Record newspaper.
Gov. Tom Kean, who was a longtime Christie mentor, was stunned when he learned of the emails. “That’s a big deal because they were saying there’s no connection to the governor’s office,” he told POLITICO. “That’s a connection.” Operatives who dislike Christie were gleeful, with one Republican strategist saying the emails read like a “Sopranos episode.”
Christie is clearly the GOP front runner for 2016 and is effectively playing the same "I'm a reasonable Republican that could get elected in a blue state" card that Romney went into the primaries with. This latest mud will tarnish his image, but Hillary (the Democratic front runner) has a mountain of scandals of her own. (Bengazi happened on her watch as Secretary of State, her voting record as a NY Senator, and you know she'll be linked to every single conspiracy theory and drama involving the Clinton Administration.) The real danger of this mud tarnishing the Christie-as-the-straight-shooter image comes from the primary circus he is going to have to participate in. We all know that the clown car brigade of Presidential candidates/self-aggrandizing media pundits will also toss their hats into the ring again, either to get more publicity (Huckabee, Palin, Gingrich) or as another hopeless Don Quixote-style ideological crusader (Santorum, Paul). Unfortunately for Christie, he has the same job Romney had: show that he is a reasonable Republican governor of a blue state who rose above politics and got things done, all while not being a RINO. They both fit that mold. Unfortunately, Romney destroyed that image trying to beat the clown car brigade at their own game. (Remember self-deportation or "I am severely conservative"?) This scandal of Christie's isn't major, but it's exactly what the clowns will use to put him on the defensive and hopefully drag him to their level. If that happens, we'll have a repeat of 2012 GOP primary all over again. Speaking as a Democrat, I couldn't be happier. Speaking as an American, I hope the clown candidates don't join the ring and thus we'll have an actual debate involving substance and not hysteria. Wait a second, I'm in America. I know which one of this is more likely. ;)

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