It’s been interesting watching the mainstream media fall all over itself praising Governor Chris Christie and declaring him the savior of the modern Republican Party.
No doubt his landslide reelection as Governor of New Jersey was impressive, and he has many attributes to commend him as he seeks the White House, which he clearly intends to do.
Before everyone gets too excited, and Mary Pat Christie starts picking the White House china, let’s consider an unpleasant reality.
For starters, this isn’t the first time the mainstream media has heralded the arrival of a Republican governor who could change the political landscape in Washington and win the White House.
Back in the late 1990’s, the press became enamored with the idea of Texas Governor George W. Bush becoming the Republican nominee. As the press correctly pointed out, Bush was a successful governor who had defeated a popular Democrat to win that position and who appeared to work nicely across the aisle. He even had the endorsement of the most powerful Democrat in the state, Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock.
Bush’s ability to play well with others was his calling card to higher office. According to press reports, not only would he become president, he possessed the personal skills to be successful in that job.
You may not recall any of this because after Bush became president and since that time, the mainstream media can never find enough bad things to say about him. In fact, one of the biggest criticisms against Bush post-presidency is how “divisive” he proved to be.
Barack Obama was supposed to fix all of that.
I know the Bush story quite well. I worked on the staff of the 2000 election campaign (with one Ted Cruz), so I got to see the transformation a Republican presidential candidate can go through from political savior to political pariah firsthand.
In Bush’s case, it didn’t take too long for the press to turn on him. He began the race as the frontrunner. Part of this was attributed to his family connections and vast fundraising skills. More significantly, though, he was a successful popular governor who appeared to work well with others.
Soon though, the press began to turn. John McCain entered the race, and the press became enamored with his “maverick” style. In the South Carolina primary, Bush fought for his political life and won.
By the time the general election rolled around, the tide had fully turned. In press reports, Bush went from successful leader and peacemaker to someone who barely scraped through school and couldn’t string a sentence together.
So what changed?
Bush certainly didn’t. He remained constant through the entire process. The press, however, changed dramatically.
Or did it?
Despite all the glowing press coverage that started the Bush campaign, does anyone really believe that any Democrats or leftwing journalists at the time ever for a minute intended to vote for George W. Bush?
The answer to that question is simple.
Governor Christie finds himself in a similar position. Unlike Bush, his reputation is not as someone who plays well with Democrats. Instead, he’s known as a leader who stands up to Democrats and public sector unions. Taking that stance has helped him achieve positive results in his state and earned him a second term.
To hear the press today, one would think that he’s the Republican answer and that even the anointed one, Hillary Clinton, would be hard pressed to beat him. With all the fawning and praising coming from the press, you might even start to believe that some of these people would actually vote for Christie over Clinton in a head to head race.
Sure . . . just like they voted for Bush over Gore.