Bridgegate, as ludicrous as the term is, has now become the popular metaphor for the political shenanigans played by underlings of the Chris Christie administration in their Keystone Cops manuever to punish political enemies by closing down lanes of the George Washington Bridge for reasons that I still fail to fathom. But as ludicrous as the term is, or the scandal as a whole is, the entire escapade should be thought of as a boon.
Why, might you ask?
For conservatives, it gives the entire GOP establishment time to take a deep, relaxing breath. Many of my ‘establishment’ contacts within the Republican Party were on the verge of jumping on to the Christie train, because they felt it was leaving the station, and nobody wanted to be left behind. Romney confidants were lining up to join the Christie campaign, as were major Bush donors. All the ducks were lining up in a neat little row.
Forget whether or not Christie was the best Republican candidate, or if he is even a conservative at all. The entire concept of anointing anyone at this early stage, barely a year after our last losing campaign, is stupid. We have barely come to terms with the real reasons we lost with Mitt Romney, and we are ready to jump ship with another Northeastern quasi-Republican because he talks tough and get RINOs to fund him?
These are the moments that I accept the GOP is the stupid party.
But Bridgegate? It is a gift from the heavens. Truly and deeply, thank you for this gift.
What this scandal does is forces the establishment to look at the field of competitors. And the field, despite the media narrative, is quite strong. For all the joking you hear from mainstream journalists, there are a multitude of qualified Governors, Executives, and Legislators that could all make fine Presidential material. I am more than happy to allow the nomination process run its due course before jumping on anyone’s bandwagon this early in the cycle.
Additionally, this keeps the bulk of political money off the table for the time being. Once donors start giving to a candidate, it is very difficult from them to stop…even when they know their candidate has lost, or will eventually lose.
As for Chris Christie, he may not see it now because he is in the eye of the storm, but this was a boon to him as well. He has been the media darling; the GOP example of someone who could ‘work with both sides’, who would go on MSNBC and be praised by liberals as a ‘good Republican’.
How long did that love affair last after Bridgegate broke?
All moderate Republicans who are in love with the mainstream media come to this reality sooner or later. John McCain didn’t realize it until he was well into the 2008 campaign. Jon Huntsman remains a media darling to this day for a simple reason: he lost…badly. Better Christie wakes up now, and realizes a simple, innate reality of the media today:
The mainstream media is no friend of yours, if you are a Republican.
If Christie survives this, first it teaches us that he has the strength of will and the character to fight the Democrat smear machine. If he goes down in flames, it teaches us that he was never fit to be Presidential material anyway.
All in all, I find the entire episode as a net positive.