January 13, 2014

From this Friday's PBS Newshour, professional Republican turd polisher David Brooks did his best to help the GOP circle the wagons for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie following the George Washington Bridge scandal.

He managed to do it without insulting women at the same time, like his buddy Brit Hume did over at Faux "news," but it's obvious they all got the same memo with the same set of talking points from the Republican party.

I don't know about anyone else, but I was never too fond of bullies growing up. I was more the type to be taking up for the kid being picked on than ever picking on anyone myself. But Brooks and his fellow Villagers in the media just love this guy. And as Eric Boehlert at Media Matters discussed earlier this week, they've got a whole lot of time and effort already invested in painting Christie as some "straight shooter."

Go read Driftglass' take on why David Brooks will never be held accountable for what he says by the likes of "Mark Halperin, David Gregory, Joe Scarborough and the rest of the Beltway Both Sider monkey-house" no matter how things turn out for Christie. Sadly, it doesn't look like we're going to be rid of him at either the New York Times or PBS any time soon. I think he's going to retire on that wingnut welfare.

Transcript of the segment above via PBS:

MARK SHIELDS: This isn't hardball politics, where you take David's pet project and don't fund it. This is dislocating thousands of people and a cheap political trick. And if he didn't know about it, the people he trusted the most, brought in, and he was uncurious about, I think it raises serious questions about him.

And the most important thing is that nobody has come to his defense, nobody. I mean, Republicans haven't come to his defense. And Democrats are happy to see him stew right now.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Raises serious questions?

DAVID BROOKS: Here I come. Here I come to his defense.


DAVID BROOKS: No, I -- some of that, I agree with. He should have expressed more regret about the people who were inconvenienced.


DAVID BROOKS: It should be said also the level of small-minded petulance that exists in politics is never to be underestimated.

People do nasty, cheap stuff all the time, because they are caught up in some small-minded politicalness of it. As having said that, though, I thought Christie did reasonably well. I thought...

JUDY WOODRUFF: At the news conference.

DAVID BROOKS: At the news conference.

If he knew about what was happening at the time, his career is really damaged. But so far, there has been no evidence that he did.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Because he denied.

DAVID BROOKS: He denied, flatly denied.

So, if an e-mail comes out showing he knew, then he is in deep trouble. But, so far, I thought he expressed naturalness. He expressed humiliation. He walked us through in intimate detail how he found out about it, how he fired the people.

I thought it was Christie. Now, my friend Mike Murphy, the political consultant, says the essence of Christie, he doesn't come in small doses. He comes in big doses. And the challenge for Christie as a candidate has always been, will people accept somebody who comes on that strong?

But if he comes on that strong as even a little bit of a bully, which is sort of what he looks like in this, it could be that people want a bully to go to Washington. If they're going to vote for Christie, they don't want a charmer. They want a big bully. And this will not hurt him, I think.

I think some politicians would be hurt by this kind of scandal. He will not be hurt, because his image, as a big, tough, bully, that is what you are hiring him for if you are going to elect him president. And so this is consistent with that image, I think.

MARK SHIELDS: You don't want the president who is a bully. You want a president who is strong. You want a president who can impose his will upon Congress. You want a president who can lead, is not afraid to make tough decisions.

You don't want a bully. Chris Christie has been everyman up until now. Now, at this point, he has become somebody who is so uncurious about what is going on. He was the last person in the entire governor's office to find out about this?

Add to this the other problem that he's going to have, is that, 2012, he was one of the finalists with Paul Ryan to be the Republican nominee for vice president. He was passed over. And when somebody is passed over, there's always questions. And there were stories out of the Romney campaign. Many spoke on the record that it was his entourage, overbearing, demands of a private jet, demands of a big support system, impossible, divas to deal with, and all of this.

This plays right into that. And if he found out at 8:55 on Wednesday morning that this was happening, and then this is a story that has been brewing now for two months, you know, I just think it really confounds anybody's believability.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, first, if I...

JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean you are saying you don't believe him?

MARK SHIELDS: I don't. It's next to impossible.

I can't believe anybody could be so chronically, terminally uncurious about something that affects his career, as well as his governorship, let alone his presidential ambitions.

DAVID BROOKS: Well, it could be that he was lied to.

It's also, it seems to me, true it's rare that a scandal, especially not a major scandal, knocks out a candidate, Bill Clinton, Gennifer Flowers. Scandals are not -- people are reasonably scandal-tolerant.

And as to Mark's point about whether it should be a bully, I think in normal times, this is true. But now we're living in a time of incredible distrust of Washington, distrust of politics. I think the standards are a little different. In times of high distrust, maybe you want somebody -- and this has happened through history, and even in Israel, Bibi Netanyahu, a little rough guy.

People get -- pick the rough guy when they're really fed up.

MARK SHIELDS: What is the knock -- just one rebuttal? What is the knock on Barack Obama? A close, tightly-knit staff of ultra-loyalists, don't seek outside advice, don't go beyond that circle, detached and disengaged.

Sound familiar to the Chris Christie modus...

DAVID BROOKS: Well, the diva thing, I totally get. I totally agree with that. If the diva thing is a problem, he is a diva and that will hurt him.

But he doesn't remind a lot of people of Barack Obama. Barack Obama is very cool and...

MARK SHIELDS: No, no, but, I mean, his defense is that he was detached and disengaged. He didn't know what was going on.


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