Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The S.S. Chris Christie Flounders, Rand Paul Creeps Toward the Center, and Hasta Luego, Marco

The good ship, S.S. Chris Christie continues to take on water and as the engine room floods, people like Rand Paul are attempting to sound more centrist--more, how should we put it--Christiesque. Indeed, it seems Paul has read the polls and he has begun a direct play to the passengers and crew who are taking to the boats.

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Christie's favorability rating has dwindled to 22%. That is down 11 points from last October. During the same time frame the percentage of those who rate him as unfavorable has risen from 17% to 29%.

The coalition the governor was hoping would carry him to the white house included conservative democrats, independents, and mainstream republicans. It is a no nonsense, screw the gridlock, let's get something done group, both the right and left extremes have no use for. Unfortunately Governor Christie's numbers have suffered there too. While his favorable status among republicans shrank by only 7%, he took a 35% hit among democrats, and more importantly, a 20% whack upside the head by independents. It would seem people want to get stuff done, but they'd prefer it without rigged traffic jams and political arm twisting better suited to back alley shakedowns. To drive home the point, when asked who they would vote for if Christie ran against Hillary Clinton, the poll showed Clinton leading, 50% to 37%. Before his aides clogged the pipe at the George Washington Bridge on purpose, her lead had been a mere 48% to 45%.

Sniffing a void, Rand Paul has suddenly begun to appear on television screens across the land, talking about how, "out of ten issues we can agree with the president on two or three of them and that is what we should focus on." That certainly sounds reasonable, especially when you compare it to the fire and brimstone of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and the perpetually confused Marco Rubio.

On NBC the other day Paul claimed, among other things, women were winning the war against women. He talked in glowing terms about how American women are growing influential and successful without any help from the government. In doing so he deftly ignored the plank in the GOP platform which calls for an end to all abortions, no matter what the reason. He also dodged the issue of women catching a break from their health insurance companies when it comes to purchasing birth control meds and devices. Perhaps he considers both matters not a war, but rather minor skirmishes. He added, "I think the victimology and all this other stuff is trumped up." On the same subject he took a shot at Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, calling the former president a, "predator." While letting us know who he would run against in 2016, Bill rather than Hillary, he fudged a few details in regard to Monica Lewinsky, but they were so minor only someone like, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis would have been held accountable for them.

His final bit of television wisdom was that while the GOP needed to be more inclusive, Christie would be in trouble during the primary season because the game, at that point, is so conservative in nature.

His astute observation is a bit of an understatement. If the hard right wing could have found anyone with half a brain in 2012, Mitt Romney would have never been the party's nominee. However, they couldn't, so the republicans had to settle for a wooden loser suffering from total disconnect to anyone making less than six figures a year.

Meanwhile, the junior senator from Kentucky is showing some 21st century campaign savvy. He has established a site where people can, "join him" with his class action law suit against the National Security Agency. Those who do are then asked to contribute, "generously" to the legal expenses incurred by the suit and not coincidentally added to a growing data base of possible supporters.

Obviously the great danger with any shift toward the center, even if it's only lip service, is that those same tea party hacks who found Romney unacceptable will turn on him--and when they do it will be with a terrible vengeance. Yes, in some parts around here, the words compromise and bipartisanship are simply unacceptable and only the true of heart need apply.

In all honesty, Paul carries the stench of an also ran with him. His libertarianism only goes so far, especially when it comes to things like immigration reform, drugs, and what amounts to a neo isolationism. At certain intersections no one, left, or right, likes what his politics are all about.

Everything is speculation at the moment--after all the prom has just started and there is no telling who will be elected the king, or queen. My money is on Christie continuing his slow slide into quicksand during the next few months, an eagle eye on Paul's speeches and the accusations of plagiarism that accompany them, especially if his numbers climb--then finally, masses of tea party loons swooping down onto the streets like rabid gargoyles, howling that Ted Cruz is the next messiah.

And lastly--Marco, we hardly knew ya and tragically, that's all it took. Hasta luego, hermano.

sic vita est


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