Christie scandal echoes Wisconsin's manufactured controversies

Sean Hannity gets a bad rap. He’s overtly partisan and can often be found defending seemingly indefensible actions by Republicans on the simple grounds that, whatever was done, it wasn’t done by a Democrat. Following the strategy of The Crevasse Axiom, Mr. Hannity is a much needed, relentless, anti-Democrat pitbull. As a one-man army, he’s able to be a lightning rod for criticisms against the entire party, just like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter also do.

It’s important to distinguish between party icons in the blabbocracy and those in the bureaucracy. Analysts get a free pass — they’re not the ones making laws, and it’s their job to analyze. The tired “Well why don’t you do something about it” critique against these players fails to acknowledge that, given their visibility and reach, through radio or books or TV appearances, they’re influencing the opinions of voters and legislators. When John Boehner jabs at the Tea Party, he’s not helping advance the cause, given his proximity to the law. When the pundits make the news for comments, their disruption of the news cycle contributes to creating effective policy without constant media scrutiny.

In this context, Mr. Hannity has very effectively hammered the point — and he’s not the only one to do so — that the same Democrats who have shielded President Obama from scandal and reaffirmed his sincere ignorance of disreputable information are jumping on Chris Christie for this ham-handed New Jersey bridge debacle. This is a formulaic takedown of a Republican power-player: Go after a subordinate’s misdeeds and attach the principal to it. In Wisconsin, State Sen. Dan Kapanke’s campaign manager took heat for sending campaign-related emails from a government account. It was a screw-up, but pragmatically stupid that such a minor mistake was attached to a treasured state representative’s sterling reputation. Of course, in the case of the president and, for example, the assault on the embassy in Benghazi, lives were lost. When the left goes after a Republican, it’s over whether a low-level staffer used Yahoo or Lycos.

The ongoing and tired, secretive John Doe investigations plaguing the Walker Administration center on mining through reams of correspondence in the hope of tracing the smallest misstep back to the governor. As was reported by the Capital Times:

One [subpoena] demanded “all memoranda, email …. correspondence, and communications” between an unnamed target and “some 29” conservative groups, including Wisconsin and national nonprofits, political vendors and party committees.

Twenty-nine, in the hopes of finding something.

Borrowing from Frank Underwood in the House of Cards peachoid chapter: “I just hate this small ball crap.”

About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.