By Bob Hennelly
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is turning his public response to the Bridgegate scandal into a live-fire exercise for his still-kicking presidential campaign.
Though pundits dismiss him as a long shot, Christie has orchestrated a series of moves to keep his 2016 hopes alive.
Since the lane-closing scandal sparked national and even global headlines and turned Christie from the feistiest of the feisty into a deer in the headlights, he has rebounded with a number of unlikely victories. He was named Father of the Year by The Father's Day/Mother's Day Council, Inc.; he succeeded in striking a bipartisan deal to reform New Jersey state adoption laws; and he even emerged as the top 2016 pick of Republicans in a Fox News survey despite a reputation considered too moderate for the party’s conservative wing.
Christie’s response to Bridgegate shows how PR trumps all else in today’s politics. It demonstrates how a presidential aspirant can take back control of a narrative that seemed irretrievably lost to his adversaries.
Even before the scandal broke, political handicappers dismissed Christie as too wounded to survive the conservative gauntlet of pivotal, early Republican primary states because of his mutual admiration society with President Obama during the response to Hurricane Sandy. Yet Christie has been adept at highlighting attacks from MSNBC as a sort of “Exhibit A” for why conservative Republicans should give him a second look.
As former President Bill Clinton has expertly demonstrated, it’s not about avoiding scandal—it’s about turning it into background noise through the power of personality, and taking control of the narrative.
That has been working for Christie because no evidence has yet emerged to contradict his claim that he had no idea his subordinates and allies planned to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge—one of the world’s busiest—to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing his re-election.
Please read the rest of the story at WhoWhatWhy.com.
By Bob Hennelly