Monday morning on Morning Joe, Lawrence O’Donnell was on to discuss New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s chances in 2016 and if he had been able to redeem himself in the last few days. Over the past few days, the embattled Christie has released a report that supposedly clears him of any wrongdoing in the Bridgegate scandal. Of course, that report was paid for by Christie’s office to a handpicked team of lawyers, so the integrity of the report is beyond shaky.
Over the weekend, the Governor held a news conference with the media to reiterate that the report cleared him and that he was prepared to move on. After that conference, he flew to Las Vegas to kiss the ring of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who spent over $90 million in the 2012 election (with absolutely no results.) Adelson held a conference that was seen by many as an unofficial GOP primary. Essentially, Adelson has made it known that he wants to back an ‘electable’ candidate for President. Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, John Kasich and Christie were among the hopefuls in attendance.
After playing clips of Christie’s news conference and moments from the Vegas conference, host Joe Scarborough turned it to the panel for an open discussion on Christie’s chances in 2016. It was mentioned that Christie obviously thinks he still has a shot for the 2016 GOP nomination. As he did earlier in the show, Scarborough stated that he feels that Jeb Bush is the new frontrunner, and at the very least he will be Adelson’s choice. NBC reporter Kasie Hunt confirmed that, as she stated that Bush got the best reaction in Vegas.
Scarborough then tossed it to Willie Geist. The discussion there was how the GOP’s big donors felt humiliated after the 2012 election and now want to get behind a safe bet. Geist agreed that Bush is a far safer bet than Christie at this point, pointing to the past few months of scandals that have surrounded the Governor. Geist then brought O’Donnell into the discussion. O’Donnell was asked whether Christie was irredeemable due to the George Washington Bridge controversy. At that point, O’Donnell stated he was ‘absolutely and totally irredeemable.’
O’Donnell justified his statement by pointing to Christie’s first press conference after the Bridgegate scandal broke. He pointed out that Christie said the following two sentences during that conference:
“I delegate enormous authority to my staff and cabinet…My staff has humiliated and embarrassed me.”
As O’Donnell brilliantly highlighted, those two sentences don’t even take up 30 seconds of an attack ad. By making those two statements, Christie shows he was willing to create this type of government to run New Jersey. He surrounded himself with people who would act in this manner. Even if Christie can somehow make people believe he had no knowledge of Bridgegate or the other scandals related to Sandy funds, the fact is that he created an atmosphere of intimidation and corruption.
O’Donnell and Scarborough then got into a lengthy discussion about how the worst may yet come for Christie. O’Donnell stated that Christie wouldn’t even be able to survive the primary debates because he’d be eaten alive up there. At the same time, both he and Scarborough talked about Bridget Kelly, the former staffer that was thrown under the bus by Christie and ripped apart in his paid-for investigation. They both agreed that due to the sexist, awful nature of the report, that Kelly would likely make a deal with the US Attorney’s office, making things exponentially worse for Christie.
While Scarborough had already moved on from Christie as his handpicked favorite for 2016, it was amazing to see how far he wanted to distance himself from the man who he has called a ‘good friend.’ Scarborough, somewhat arrogantly, brought up his own time in Congress and stated that he always picked a staff that was competent and not full of ideologues and yes men. Essentially, he said that a staff should be there to educate and help accomplish your goals, not to lead you around by your nose. Of course, in typical Scarborough fashion, he used the discussion to take a swipe at President Obama.
The main takeaway here, though, is that Christie has lost one of his biggest cheerleaders and defenders for good. One would think that Scarborough would have maybe moved back a bit towards the Christie camp after the release of the report this past week and his news conference on Friday. However, even Scarborough isn’t falling for these transparent attempts. Christie is toast. There is no way he can successfully run in 2016. It appears he is the only one who doesn’t know it.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).