Mark Steyn On Chris Christie, And How Conservatives Generally Should Respond To The “Longest Day” Presser

Here is the transcript of my chat yesterday with Mark Steyn about the epic Chris Christie presser.

The MSM siege of Christie is just beginning. MSNBC is probably running a 24/7 800 number to collect the stories of people who feel injured by the bridge closure. The class action suit will go on for years, as will all investigations. Hoping for a replay of the Plame paralysis that help cripple W’s second term will motivate the ring of MSMers surrounding the president, and it only takes one Ronnie Earle to do untold damage. The search of Twitter DMs and Facebook private postings –all of it the common denominators of modern litigation– lies ahead. The conservatives who don’t care for Christie are blind not to see that dividing the GOP is a sideshow to keeping the president and the left on the defensive they deserve to be over Obamacare, Iran and the breaking of the Senate.

There is a lot of good that can be said of the governor’s approach to the scandal today, and hopefully conservatives will be saying it. (My take to National Review’s Kathryn jean Lopez soon after the presser concluded is here. Townhall’s Guy Benson’s is here.)

Zero upside to conservatism in throwing rocks at a contrite and yet focused GOP governor. Time to keep focus instead on the revelations in Secretary Gates’ memoir and on the O-care rolling fiasco. If the governor gets caught up in a serious misstatement or a new shocker, that will be the end of that, but he came out of this crisis bloodied but with quite a lot of points in his favor for the sort of straightforward non-talking point candor that the public is very hungry for.

Indeed, there is much in common between Rand Paul’s filibuster, Ted cruz’s all-nighter, and Christie’s Longest Day press conference. The public wants clear, honest explications of complicated issues, however embarrassing, and if Christie is modeling how to handle the inevitable screw-ups of underlings, that will wear very well indeed. Stay tuned, of course, but diverting attention from the melt down of American health care at home and American security abroad would be a terrible mistake. The Wall Street Journal puts it in the proper perspective in Friday’s editorial:

Which brings us to the Obama Administration, which quickly leaked to the media that the U.S. Attorney is investigating the lane closures as a criminal matter. Well, that sure was fast, and nice of Eric Holder‘s Justice Department to show its typical discretion when investigating political opponents.

This is the same Administration that won’t tell Congress what resources it is devoting to the IRS probe, and appears to be slow-rolling it. It has also doubled down by expanding the political vetting of 501(c)(4) groups seeking tax-exempt status. Lois Lerner, who ran the IRS tax-exempt shop and took the Fifth before Congress, was allowed to “retire,” presumably with a pension. Acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller resigned under pressure but no other heads have rolled. Yet compared to using the IRS against political opponents during an election campaign, closing traffic lanes for four days is jaywalking.

We raise this mostly because our media friends have been complicit in dismissing the IRS abuses, and for that matter every other legal abuse during the Obama years. The exception is the Edward Snowden theft of National Security Agency documents, which so far have exposed not a single example of law-breaking.

Not that this should make Mr. Christie or any other potential GOP candidate complacent. Republicans operate under a double media standard that holds them to a much lower scandal threshold. In that sense the pathetic New Jersey traffic-lane scandal may be, as Mr. Obama likes to say, a teachable moment.

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    Hugh Hewitt
  • Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor, and broadcast journalist. A proficient blogger, Hugh Hewitt has one of the most visited political blogs in the U.S.

Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor, and broadcast journalist. A proficient blogger, Hugh Hewitt has one of the most visited political blogs in the U.S.

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