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Hullabaloo


Thursday, January 30, 2014

 
When you've lost Fournier ...

by digby

The DNC sent this out which clearly indicates the "even the conservative Ron Fournier says ..." nature of it:
A year ago, I wrote: "The smartest move in politics today is to move against Washington and the two major parties. And the smartest man in politics may be Chris Christie." I take it back.

At the time, the New Jersey governor had channeled the public's disgust with political dysfunction, chastising House Republican leaders for refusing to allow a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill. Christie said the game-playing that derailed the relief bill showed "why the American people hate Congress." He accused his own party's leadership for "selfishness," "duplicity," and moral failure.

His approval rating topped 70 percent.

Now his numbers are dropping, because he wasn't so smart. Rather than stay true to his post-partisan image, Christie ran a hyper-political governor's office that focused relentlessly on a big re-election win to position him for a 2016 presidential race. In this zero-sum gain culture, Christie enabled (if not directly ordered) an infamous abuse of power: the closure of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge in a fit of political retribution.

If not criminal, it was pretty damn stupid. His reputation is in tatters. Reporting a poll conducted jointly with ABC News, Philip Rucker and Scott Clement of the Washington Post wrote:

Christie has benefited from the perception that he has unique appeal among independents and some Democrats, a reputation the governor burnished with his 2013 reelection in his strongly Democratic state.

But that image has been tarnished, the survey finds. More Democrats now view Christie unfavorably than favorably, with independents divided. Republicans, meanwhile, have a lukewarm opinion, with 43 percent viewing him favorably and 33 percent unfavorably. Overall, 35 percent of Americans see him favorably and 40 percent unfavorably

Christie has fallen from first to third among potential GOP presidential candidates, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll, behind Rep. Paul Ryan and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

A plurality of respondents said the bridge episode represents a pattern of abuse in Christie's office. While most Republicans give him the benefit of the doubt, 60 percent of Democrats and half of all independents don't think it was an isolated incident. There is good reason for the suspicion.

First, the governor is deeply engaged in the minutia of his office, an operation that doesn't discriminate between politics and policy. As the New York Times reported this week in a must-read analysis:

Mr. Christie has said that he had not been aware of his office's involvement in the maneuver, and nothing has directly tied to him to it. But a close look at his operation and how intimately he was involved in it, described in interviews with dozens of people — Republican and Democrat, including current and former Christie administration officials, elected leaders and legislative aides — gives credence to the puzzlement expressed by some Republicans and many Democrats in the state, who question how a detail-obsessed governor could have been unaware of the closings or the effort over months to cover up the political motive.

In other words, how stupid do you think we are, governor? Christie either knew or should have known that his administration was snarling Fort Lee in traffic and endangering lives.
Yeah, no kidding. I think that last point is what's sinking him. Control freaks can't get away with saying they were out of the loop.

It's still early enough that Christie could recover some of his lustre but it's looking as though he just has too many enemies. He's not like a Bill Clinton who had preturnatural survival gifts and the ability to charm his enemies even as they hated his guts. Christie was all about his image as a no-nonsense, get the job done guy. It's not as if he has some great vision for America or is inspiring to young people or can relate to the average Joe. If he used his office for petty partisan revenge, then he's blown up his image as a no-nonsense guy. If he didn't know what was going on, his tough guy image is obviously phony. Either way, there's no good argument for him at this point.

Fournier says it's now all about Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush. Feel the magic.

Update: And then there's the corruption.



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