Once a RINO to Rightbloggers, Chris Christie Finally Earns Respect With His Bridge to Benghazi

tomt200.jpgAs you have no doubt heard, New Jersey Governor and onetime Republican Presidential fantasy object Chris Christie had some bad publicity last week, owing to some apparently politically-motivated redirection of traffic in September that was ordered from the vicinity of his office (aka "Bridgegate" or "Bridge-gate" but let's not, shall we? American politics is stupid enough as it is).

Some people think it's bad news for the Governor, but we don't. For one thing, as the rightblogger response shows, the turmoil has lifted Christie's stock among the one constituency that he really needs to gain the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016: Diehard conservatives who think Christie isn't vicious enough to be President.

On Friday Christie told reporters (over the course of a 105-minute press conference, perhaps to demonstrate the stamina required of a U.S. President) that the retributive act was the fault of a key aide, not him, and that the aide had been fired and it would be better for New Jersey and America if he, and we, moved on from this act of betrayal, however much it had hurt Chris Christie. Allegedly aggrieved parties also let it be known that they were not so aggrieved, really.

Fishy, maybe, but in the Great Tradition of American Politics; what can you do? If you're a rightblogger, spin it. The magic ingredient: Benghazi! Or IRS. Or whatever.

Because, as we saw at the time of his reelection, many rightbloggers consider Christie a RINO, too cozy with Obama during Hurricane Sandy and insufficiently bloodthirsty to qualify as a true conservative, some were compelled to portray him as a liberal darling, e.g. the Daily Caller's Alex Pappas: "As liberals support Christie during scandal, conservatives abandon him." Glenn Beck humorously cast the contretemps as a movie called "Fat and Furious" and rated it "P for Progressive."

"In public, the notorious Christie wrath is usually reserved for tea-party conservatives" and "those who don't share his soft spot for Islamic supremacists," snarled Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review, though he did admit enjoying when Christie turned on "the stray insolent teachers'-union rep -- because, well, who doesn't enjoy watching that?" Once a torture enthusiast, always a torture enthusiast!

RedState Grand Wizard Erick Erickson said this was "a story that can go away quickly if Christie acts quickly" and would "follow through and see that heads roll." But after Christie made heads roll, Erickson told his readers that Christie's Presidential run was probably doomed because he was an asshole -- or an a**hole, in Erickson's Christian dialect. Oddly, in defense of this assertion Erickson circulated horror stories he'd heard, not about Christie, but about "Christie's staff," whom recent events had just made plain were the very rolling heads Christie needed to lop and spin to protect himself. (Maybe pointing out that any a**hole can be President if he rolls enough heads was more insider politics than Erickson felt his readers could handle.)

But naysayers were outnumbered by those who, aware that Christie has an "R." after his honorific and yells at schoolteachers, sprang to his defense, e.g. The Washington Free Beacon: "U.S. Attorney Probing Christie Has Donated Thousands to Democrats."

This week's Above-and-Beyond award went to Fox News' Brit Hume, who claimed people were giving Christie a hard time because of the "feminized atmosphere in which we exist today," which counts against "guys who are masculine and muscular like that in their private conduct, kind of old fashion tough guys" -- yes, we double-checked, he was talking about Chris Christie.

Radio personality DaTechGuy claimed if Christie gets away with this, he has the malign, America-destroying example of Bill Clinton to thank, because after Clinton's historic blowjob "the party didn't tell him to leave, the Democrats many still in congress didn't reject him and he not only survived his trial in the Senate but is still celebrated by the left and the media to this day." Therefore, "if [Christie] was involved, and got up and lied through is teeth to the American people and you wonder why he thought he could get away with it, you need to look no father than President Bill Clinton and all those who enabled him, including the American People."

Before his rehabilitation. (Via.)
This was unusual, in that DaTechGuy was blaming a different Democratic President than most of his colleagues, who were -- ah, we sense our readers have already caught up with us.

"The media gets under my skin," grumbled Floyd Brown of the Western Center for Journalism, because "according to a report from the Media Research Center, Bridge-gate has received approximately 17 times more coverage in one day than the Obama IRS scandal received in months."

This assertion, our own research reveals, has been quickly disseminated throughout rightblogger world: "There's Already 17 Times More Coverage on Christie Scandal Than in Last Six Months of IRS," said NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock ("These stories were buried by ABC, CBS and NBC, the same networks that have immediately deluged Republican Chris Christie..."); "Nets give 'Bridgegate' 17 times more coverage in 1 day than IRS scandal in 6 months," said the Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard; "In the last 24 hours, there has been 17 times as much Christie bridge coverage on network news than IRS coverage over the last six months," said Power Line's John Hinderaker. "And that is only the tip of the iceberg... don't reporters understand how obvious it is that they delight in Republican scandals, and do their best to cover up Democratic ones?" Etc.

The IRS scandalette, you may recall, was about Tea Party groups having their tax-exempt status delayed because the IRS suspected the guys in tri-corner hats waving OBAMA=HITLER signs were actually running primarily political organizations, for some reason. If there is an imbalance in coverage, it may owe to the distinguishing feature that the Fort Lee vendetta actually happened, as well as to the fact that Obama didn't spend an hour and three-quarters on national TV trying to convince people that he was innocent.

But Brown, like most of the brethren, accepted rightblogger gospel on the IRS, and found Obama's response inferior to Christie's: For one thing, "during Governor Christie's 107-minute news conference, he was honest and contrite," wrote Brown. "I've never seen Obama be contrite about anything." Well, there you have it.

These sentiments were echoed by James Taranto, the Wall Street Journal columnist and IRS scandalette specialist, who has claimed not only that the IRS Tea Party foot-dragging may have been responsible for Obama's five-million-vote victory margin in 2012, necessitating an "asterisk" on his reelection, but also that if Obama didn't directly order his IRS flunkies to bring down the Tea Party, that actually made him more guilty because "it would mean that the government itself... has turned against the citizenry and the Constitution," which would naturally be Obama's fault.

This week Taranto reported that "the Christie administration's evident abuse of the Port Authority is reminiscent of the Obama administration's abuse of the Internal Revenue Service." But Taranto noted some key differences: While Obama is so clearly the culprit in the IRS scandalette that his reelection is at least partially invalidated, the bridge incidents "suggest that Christie's administration, if not the man himself, has a similar quality" to Obama. Also, "no evidence has emerged that the governor himself was involved." The upshot, then, is that Christie's former aides are as bad as Barack Obama, and Christie may yet have problems in 2016 "if voters two years from now are looking for a corrective to the corruption and deception of the Obama years."

At the New York Post, John Podhoretz claimed the IRS scandalette was "juicy, just as Bridgegate is juicy... it's the sort of thing TV newspeople could gab about for days on end without needing a fresh piece of news to keep it going." Yet despite John Podhoretz's news judgment, few of those TV guys thought IRS was a big story. "Why? Oh, come on, you know why," said Podhoretz. "Christie belongs to one political party. Obama belongs to the other. You know which ones they belong to." That's why John Podhoretz's columns are smuggled out to you on mimeograph paper, while Obama's lies fill the Times. "Some in the media have been rather incredulous about Christie's denying involvement," said Andrew Stiles at National Review. "...Such questions certainly weren't being asked (outside the conservative media) about President Obama in the wake of the IRS revelations..."

Clarice Feldman of American Thinker went so far as to invent a conversation about Christie and the "Obamacare, IRS, and Benghazi Scandal Gap" between herself and a Stupid Lieberal Professor named Zigmund Bensky of "Whackadoodle School here in the District of Columbia, a place that attracts ambitious, earnest young people who 'want to make a difference' without working too hard at it." (The trope will be familiar to connoisseurs of the Liberal Dinner Party.) When Stupid Lieberal Bensky, ensconced at Feldman's home because he'd forgotten to pay his gas bill like the Stupid Lieberal he is, quoted the New York Times, Feldman countered, "Isn't that the article where the fact checkers misstated the name of the reporter and misidentified the governor of New York (the state where the paper is headquartered), Andrew Cuomo, as the governor of New Jersey?" You can guess how badly things went for the Professor after that; "if he was hoping to best me on that, I think he failed," Feldman told her readers. She also reported that the professor passed out drunk in her home, and that he was about to get fired from his job. (Why she didn't add that he'd soiled himself we can't guess.)

Feldman's Benghazi reference was no aberration. If you can compare the bridge thing to one phony Obama scandal, you can compare it to all of them.

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