1.) So just how bad is this George Washington Bridge traffic incident?
It's bad. Pretty bad. Super bad, even. Chief executives just don't use the power of government to exact revenge on ordinary citizens for what they take to be political insubordination.
To put this in context, imagine what it would be like for a presidential administration to close down national parks in order to intentionally inflict pain on people trying to visit them. Or if some other administration had the IRS target individuals and groups from the opposing side. Thankfully, things like that never, ever happen.
2.) Wait a minute, I see what you’re doing there…
As The One likes to say, let’s be clear: I’m not doing Christie any favors by saying tu quoque and pointing to even worse scandals from Barack Hussein Obama. But I would like to echo an astute observation from John Podhoretz over the weekend:
According to Scott Whitlock of the Media Research Center, "In less than 24 hours, the three networks have devoted 17 times more coverage to a traffic scandal involving Chris Christie than they’ve allowed in the last six months to Barack Obama’s Internal Revenue Service controversy."
MSNBC is treating this like Watergate, with theories and more theories and (over at the NBC mothership) they’re talking impeachment. Democrats think this is Christmas, Winter Solstice, and Kwanzaa, all rolled into one. Which means we should expect the feeding frenzy to continue as long as is minimally plausible.
3.) This assumes that questions about Christie will only be "minimally plausible"?
Sure, for the time being. With his press conference, Christie has staked his political future on the unequivocal notion that he had nothing to do with anything that went down in Fort Lee. And either this will be born out by evidence, or it won't be.
One of Christie's big problems, of course, is that unless there's stone-cold evidence proving the negative, the left is going to try to pin this on his lapel permanently. It would be great for Christie if someone uncovered an email saying, "Whatever you do, don't tell The Boss about this stuff! He'd fire us for sure!" But one gets the sense that for Democrats, even that wouldn't be dispositive. As the kids say, this one is going on his Wikipedia page, no matter what.
(4) Okay, you make it sound pretty dire. Is Christie finished?
I doubt it, for a couple reasons.
First, this scandal elevates him in the national consciousness. Think of it as something like pre-vetting for the presidential primaries, carried out at a safe remove from the actual voting. Not only that, but it puts him on a pedestal as THE Republican Democrats are trying to take down. And if Christie was going to have trouble with conservative primary voters, having MSNBC obsessed with getting his scalp is a pretty good way to rally them.
Second, did you see his press conference? No one wants to spend two hours explaining to reporters why they're not the second coming of Richard Nixon. But if you have to spend two hours explaining why you're not the second coming of Nixon, very few politicians could do it that well.
Christie isn't just a YouTube sensation. He's an enormous political talent. People seem to have forgotten that.
5.) Wait, you mean there's more to Christie than his tough-guy "I'm on your side and won't take no guff" shtick?