During Wednesday’s episode of Morning Joe, MSNBC contributor Nicolle Wallace tried to make the case that the scandal surrounding the bridge lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last year will not hurt New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s chances for a White House bid in 2016. Both Wallace and host Joe Scarborough pointed to conservative ads being run in Iowa regarding Christie’s judicial appointments while governor as definitive proof that Christie is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. Any attempts at refuting Wallace’s full-throated defense of Christie were shouted down by Scarborough, who inexplicably brought up the fake IRS scandal and NSA wiretaps to further bolster the case for Christie.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
As you can see, Wallace went out of her way to give the appearance that Bridgegate just does not matter to Republicans at all. In her opinion, “republicans are from Venus,’ and on Venus, this scandal has never been of any concern. In fact, it helps Christie with some Republicans because it proves that he is willing to stand up for himself and fight back against his political opponents. (Wallace tried to walk back those comments by saying she isn’t endorsing the closure of a busy bridge.) She’s “just saying” that Bridgegate “isn’t that bad” for Chris Christie. By 2016, it will not matter at all.
The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein fired back against Wallace and pointed out that whether or not Christie can prove he wasn’t involved directly with the lane closures, the damage has been done, and it would be an Achilles’s heel for Christie during the GOP primaries, let alone if he were to somehow get the nomination. Per Stein, while GOP voters may not think Christie’s actions were that bad or deserve as much attention as they have, they aren’t going to support a candidate with these types of issues hanging over his head.
Of course, Wallace didn’t get what Stein was saying. She continued to beat the drum that Christie didn’t do anything that bad and Republicans don’t care about any of it. Stein told Wallace that they were talking past each other as she was obviously not understanding his point. Either Wallace was acting purposely obtuse, or she is really just that dense and stupid. As a Republican strategist who worked for both George W. Bush and John McCain, you’d think she’d realize the obvious political obstacles that Christie faces surrounding Bridgegate as well as his other actions that have surfaced since then. (Bryan Burrough of Vanity Fair wrote a brilliant piece about Bridgegate and Christie’s 2016 chances.)
Thankfully for Wallace, she had Scarborough on hand to rush to her defense and cover up for her ignorance. Scarborough shouted over Stein and then, when he turned it over to Steve Rattner for his opinion, shouted over him as well. Eventually, Joe went on one of his trademark tirades where he started blurting out completely unrelated stuff in order support his argument. He tried to make a comparison between the debunked IRS ‘scandal’ and NSA wiretapping as it relates to President Obama with Christie’s scandals. The thing is, whether Joe wants to admit it or not, Christie’s scandals are his alone, and no comparison to other so-called Washington scandals are going to make them go away.
However, Joe and Wallace don’t care. They want an ‘establishment’ candidate to get the GOP nomination in 2016. And Scarborough has had a crush on Christie since the beginning. Therefore, he is going to try to convince both himself and others that Christie really can win this thing, though it is apparent to everyone else that he can’t.