In his Thursday Thursday New York Times column Blow takes on Chris Christie. He begins by writing
Well, that didn’t take long.But the foibles of Christie and what is happening to his presidential prospects are only a means to the end of the larger points Blow is addressing.
After wall-to-wall Obamacare disaster ruminations, the terrain of the political landscape is shifting, as it always does, and refocusing attention on some familiar themes.
The larger-than-life, straight-from-the-hip, quick-with-the-tongue paladin of the Palisades, Chris Christie, is beginning to emerge as small, petty and vindictive.
He does write
It’s almost sad that every time Republicans get behind a candidate, that candidate seems to implode. Almost, but not quite.He reminds people of the artificiality of Christie's popularity, including the comparisons with Jack Kemp as a supposed model of bipartisanship, and also observes of what he considers the absurdly premature Quinnipiac poll that had a snapshot in time showing Christie beating
Hillary the Invincible. Hillary the Inevitable. Hillary “It’s Her Turn” Clinton. The woman whose super PAC “Ready for Hillary” this week said that it had raised $4 million last year for her highly anticipated run. The woman who, according to Gallup, has been the “Most Admired Woman” 17 of the last 20 years. (Mother Teresa beat her in two years and Laura Bush edged her out one year.) That Hillary.there are some hot links in the original text of the foregoing blockquote
But there is a good deal more crammed into this particular column.
But his point is larger than the current deflation of Christie.
After noting we do not yet know whether someone other than Christie will take the fall for "Bridgegate" as some wags are now describing it, Blow opines
While we wait, the Obama administration and Democratic causes are beginning to look less gloomy.We have improving economic numbers.
Democrats are strongly pushing a meme on economic inequality.
We are seeing ever improving numbers of people signing up for the Affordable Care Act.
As for the newly released book by former Secretary of Defense Gates, in which the author slams the President and Hillary Clinton? Blow thinks it is not entirely negative:
On one level it’s a glimpse of what happens when a “Team of Rivals” becomes of nest of vipers. On the other hand, painting the president as a man who is constantly questioning military commitment, always looking for a way out, and distrustful of the military brass doesn’t sound so negative to many of the president’s supporters. It sounds like the kind of leader they wanted.Let's parse that a bit.
The "Team of Rivals" meme of course comes from the book of that title by Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about the Lincoln Administration. Given that both Biden and Clinton were primary competitors of Obama, there is some relevance to that term. And of course Gates was a hold-over from the previous administration.
I question the idea of "a nest of vipers" in that so far there is no evidence of back-biting from either Biden or Clinton, and that Gates turns out to be somewhat petty and small-minded might not surprise people who have followed his entire career including his rise through the ranks of the CIA.
What is key is to understand that Blow is right that many of those who supported Obama are delighted to see the President FINALLY withdrawing from the Bush-initiated military endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the reaction of such folks is likely to be why did it take so long?
Take it all together and we begin to piece together what Blow is telling us.
The media loves to create a figure whom they can later deflate, if that artificially inflated person does not stick the pin into himself.
In the four year cycle (for that is what it has become) to elect a President, we have many inevitable candidates who do not seem to survive the early primaries. As some people have reminded folks, at this point in 2005 who would have even considered Obama as a possible candidate? Pundit were prognosticating George Allen as the likely Republican nominee and winner of the general election - before he got turned out of the Senate after only term by neophyte candidate Jim Webb.
So perhaps all we need to take away from this are the final words from Blow's column:
This all goes to show just how fast the Washington soap opera can change its scripts and how ludicrous long-range predictions can be.Somehow I am not worried about the possibility of a President Christie. And for my part I wonder if what may happen to the blowhard of Trenton is that he agrees to resign as Governor in order to avoid prosecution or even possible impeachment in the New Jersey legislature. Somehow I think now that people are digging a heck of lot more is going to come out, including the fact that he found a state job for a woman widely believed to have been his mistress in the US Attorney's office.
In any case, read the Blow column and enjoy yourself.