We have a late entry in the Worst Political Take of the Year Derby: labeling careerist Chris Christie as the savior of the Republican Party. In a column so tone-deaf it might be mistaken for a spoof, National Journal Daily’s Senior National Political Columnist Josh Kraushaar hails the lumbering former New Jersey governor as a natural “populist reformer” whose powerful affinity for the working class perfectly coincides with his ease in navigating the Swampiest establishment Republican circles. Remember, this is the guy who once closed his state’s beaches during a budget standoff and then took his family to an empty shoreline to enjoy a day in the sun.
According to his bio at the publication, Kraushaar “pens the weekly ‘Against the Grain’ column for National Journal Daily.” It’s hard to argue with that, since positing Christie as the shining knight poised to tuck K Street RINOs and America First Trump enthusiasts into one happy Big Tent goes against every speck of rational thinking for anyone paying the least bit of attention to what is happening in this country today.
Opposing Trumpism Is Trumpian
Among the many opinions in his column, Kraushaar claims other Republican alternatives to Trump come across as “inauthentic” because they sought to curry favor with a president who is overwhelmingly popular with the party’s grassroots voting base. At a time when Trump has made feistiness a political asset, aligning with him is interpreted as a sign of weakness, according to Kraushaar.
Not attempting to conceal his loathing for Trump, the columnist explains why the rubes who support him would embrace Christie moving forward:
“He became a Trump supporter before Trump took over the party but never joined the administration. He used a high-profile television perch to euphemize and excuse Trump’s worst excesses without endorsing them himself. And in the final days of the administration, he explicitly broke with Trump on his handling of the pandemic and his baseless claims of election fraud — without drawing the president’s ire.”
Like many establishment wonks who refuse to take the time to even begin to understand the president’s supporters, Kraushaar seeks to reduce the Trump Phenomenon to a cult of personality instead of a movement fired by belief in real policy. Not insulting Trump while opposing his administration somehow makes Christie appealing to Trump backers in Kraushaar’s world.
Absorbing the Threat
In making the argument for a “Christie comeback,” Kraushaar is indulging in a comforting fantasy often articulated by the loyalists of a disintegrating status quo. These barnacles on the establishment hull have been forced to acknowledge the undeniable appeal of the populist nationalism championed by Trump. Yet they dearly hope it can be channeled into the system once he departs and digested via soothing buzzwords such as “bridge,” “transcend,” and “move beyond.” Kraushaar duly employs all three expressions in his piece.
It still amazes after all this time that arrogant media types continue to believe they can slur Trump supporters in the vilest of ways as they attempt to neatly fit them into their slanted folders. Kraushaar is no exception:
“[I]f you view the party as a volatile coalition of traditionalists and populists, it’s easy to see the establishment reasserting control over the bumbling Trumpians after the president leaves office. In that scenario, Republican voters would be seeking a bridge-builder between the two factions, not a nihilistic bomb-thrower.”
Translation: I hate these people and everything they represent and I am not going to hide it. Here is my plan for getting them to join my ideal Republican coalition.
If this is indicative of the mainstream media’s view, it is little wonder that news organizations, once trusted, are now regarded with doubt and disdain.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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