Edge of Chaos is a political podcast starring Joe Ryan and Neurotoxin. Its aim is to have a free-flowing discussion of news and current events that also examines the empirical outcomes of public policy, avoiding biases based on ideology and policy intentions. Listener discretion is both advised and encouraged.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Christie's Fall Is A GIFT To the Tea Party!

Doesn't all that liberal media jumping on Chris Christie like rabid dogs realize it's helping Rand Paul and Ted Cruz for 2016?

The Scandal

As I said in my last post, I take this scandal very seriously but it's no anomaly. Politicians, especially on the East Coast where State and Municipal charters are 100s of years old and not written with the same level of corruption checks as in the West, do this kind of thing all the time. In fact, I believe Christie didn't personally order this because he wouldn't have to, anymore than a Mafia Don personally orders some under-boss to knock off a rival drug dealer working the wrong corner. Abusing bureaucratic authority for political retaliation is a culture and politicians expect it from each other and from their subordinates. The eradication of these mob tactics via exposition is long overdue, but please stop acting as if Christie is the only culprit in the US - you just look naive.

The Media Bias

Despite my frustration, political naivete reigns supreme and this will likely end Christie's political career with or without the media feeding frenzy. However, said feeding frenzy is extremely unbalanced and about partisanship. Fox News and conservative talk radio have hardly mentioned the scandal, while liberal news outlets like CNN and NBC have been plastering the airwaves with it 24/7. Both are behaving this way for the same reason - they expect whatever happens to Christie to reflect on the Republican Party so based on their own alignment, they either want to downplay or inflate it. The problem is, when it comes to that reflection prediction, both are simply wrong.

The Inconvenient Political Reality

It's true that the liberal media inflating Christie's role and making him look like a monster further polarizes liberals and makes them hate the Republican Party even more. However, this is inconsequential because polarized liberals hate the Republican Party to begin with. On his own side of the aisle, however, Christie is not particularly well-liked to begin with. His recent engagements in a number of spats with the likes of Cruz and Paul have exposed him as a Neocon that supports privacy intrusions, belligerent military spending, and relative fiscal liberalism. That means that while Fox News is hesitant to do so, the vast variety of Tea Party organizations will simply hang their detest of moderates around Chris Christie's neck and let him drown - spinning themselves as the 'honest, conservative' side of the party and mobilizing their base that already didn't like him.

The Outcomes?

This has profound implications for the 2016 elections. Being moderate works for Christie as the Republican governor of a blue State, but to win the Presidential nomination he would need the support of Republicans from other blue States. That's how Romney, another former Republican governor of a blue State, secured the nomination - he couldn't catch on in red States no matter what he did. However, the liberal media has just closed that door for Christie by painting him up as a monster.

And looking at the field of potential Republican candidates, I say with absolute certainty Christie was the only moderate that even remotely stood a chance. Remaining Republicans fall into the distinct categories of Tea Party favorites (Paul, Cruz, Huckabee) and entrenched establishment hacks (Ryan, Rubio, Jeb Bush). No matter how hard Karl Rove or any other pundit tantrums and calls the latter category 'Tea Party' as well, the Tea Party LOATHES these guys and they won't make it past Super Tuesday. Remember what happened to Newt Gingrich? Remember how Paul Ryan completely failed to deliver that demographic for Romney? And that means, with Christie out of the picture, whichever Tea Partier takes the lead has an unobstructed path to the nomination.

Now, it's arguable that this is what the liberal media wants, figuring a Democratic establishment hack like Hillary or O'Malley (provided they don't get destroyed by Warren or Castro in their own Primaries) would have a better chance against a Tea Partier than a moderate. But THAT, I say, is the miscalculation that will cost them the White House. Romney was a moderate, and he lost to Obama for no other reason than conservatives and libertarians refused to turn out for him. Those demographics would sink Christie in a similar fashion, but you can bet your bottom dollar they will stampede to the polls for Paul, Cruz, or Huckabee, ESPECIALLY against Hillary.


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