Republicans learned something this week: Payback is always in the cards if they win when they’re not supposed to. Flash backward to 2009 and the odd-year election states of New Jersey and Virginia, where two insurgent candidacies took the first steps in the long recovery from the disastrous defeats of 2008. For a good while everyone was giddy over Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell’s gubernatorial wins, especially given how each initially performed, regardless of their contrasting personalities. The rest is history, alas, a lot of it hysteria, and now we’re left combing through the wreckage, a lot of it covered by cold deep snow. It’s like the withdrawal-from-Russia scenes in War and Peace.
First came Gov. Christie’s second inauguration in Trenton, where no one ever has to wait in a toll booth line. There was no after-party (sigh). The planned inauguration bash on Ellis Island, within intimate view of the Statue of Liberty, had to be canceled. The governor’s huddled mass wasn’t welcomed. His handlers were quick to blame the snub on Mother Nature, not Lady Liberty.
The bigger question: How long will Christie last as head of the Republican Governors’ Association? RNC chairman Reince Priebus sees no need for him to step down, saying Christie’s just the guy to raise money for the RGA. Just as he tried in Florida last week, where the Republican governor of that state didn’t dare appear with him.
But the governor’s most avid fans these days are the wolves pouncing from the snowy forests to devour what’s left of his political meat. And when that ravenous pack consists of every single Democratic official in the great state of New Jersey, who needs weight-loss surgery?
Moving south in polar vortex country, we had the recent governor of Virginia all but perpwalked after an indictment came down depicting him and his wife as the second coming of Jim and Tammy Bakker, all because of $165,000 in sleazy but mostly legal gifts, or about as much as his successor, the estimable Terence Richard McAuliffe, would have once regarded as a per diem in his fishy financial dealings that left him an unaccountably rich man.
“Every defendant, including the McDonnells, deserves the presumption of innocence — not!” wrote the Washington Post’s resident neoconservative Jennifer Rubin. Okay, full disclosure, we added the “— not!” part, but only as an editorial courtesy. For as she continued, “All that said, you can’t read the 43-page indictment without being floored by the couple’s alleged multiple, ongoing and personal interventions to obtain riches…” We were floored by one thing only: the fact that McDonnell probably floored the Ferrari he once had a chance to drive, which, needless to say, is one of the hopped-up charges against him. He should have asked to drive one of the wonder cars Terry McAuliffe and Haley Barbour were going to build. Had he done so, he’d now be in line to obtain millions of dollars in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy instead of facing 30 years in the pen.
“That is as steep and sudden as any political collapse as we’ve seen,” Ms. Rubin concluded. Sudden? Apparently she doesn’t read the paper she works for, and even quotes from extensively to set the stage for her own comments on McDonnell, because as everyone but Ms. Rubin knows, that rag has spent the better part of a year preparing the federal indictment of Virginia’s last Republican governor.
A pity Ms. Rubin didn’t find time to react to the March for Life. Fortunately, one of her colleagues covered for her, offering a stern scolding to the marchers for not marching for jobs bills and suggesting the wrath of God was behind the storm-related smaller than usual turnout and the miserable conditions for those who did attend.
Good old Dana Milbank, a repeat offender as EOW in the space of just two weeks. And he’s beaten back some stiff competition. There’s Andy Cuomo, sounding less like the son of Mario than the grandson of Benito. Send him to Abyssinia, we say. There was also Richard Sherman, a cover artist who lets his mouth to the talking. Rap expression will never recover from this fumble. Dana isn’t yet in Richard’s class, but give him time. We look forward to his defense of the hussy otherwise known as Wendy Davis. Then he’ll earn himself a hat trick, a fitting ending for a soul on ice.