Monday, December 23, 2013

How Long Will It Take Chris Christie to Disappear?

Remember rising star Marco Rubio? What has he done for you lately? After his ill-fated State-of-the-Union response, he's pretty much dead, both as a 2016 presidential candidate and a Senate leader. Who listens to him anymore? Was it because of this?

No. It didn't help. But what really knocked him back -- likely for good -- was that he was for a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.

And what of Bobby Jindal? He was a true Republican wunderkind, a southern conservative intellectual with really brown skin, a true trifecta. Is he headed to the top of the ticket in 2016? No. Who listens to him anymore? Was it because of this?

No. It didn't help. But that's not what will keep him out of the 2016 limelight. What has hurt Bobby Jindal is, well, what has he actually done? Pushed school vouchers? Proposed to eliminate the income tax and raise the sales tax and then decided to do neither? Saved his state's bacon? What? Who talks about him anymore? Wait, he defended "Duck Dynasty." Jindal's back!

Then there was Ted Cruz. He came on like a house afire. Then he made defunding Obamacare his raison d'etre. How'd that work out? A government shutdown that nearly crashed the Republican Party, which got saved because the Obamacare website crashed. Now, the Republican Party is back from the brink and Barack Obama's polls are in the toilet. Where's Ted Cruz? In the toilet, too. Obamacare? Still around.

What about Rand Paul? Yes, exactly. What about Rand Paul? Well, he made a rather cruel quip about how unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed is a "disservice" to them, but that shouldn't hurt his chances with his own crowd, right?

He just seems mean-spirited there. But what really knocked him from the top of the charts was a pretty long string of plagiarism charges. Nothing makes a libertarian hero look pretty small like proof that he steals his ideas. I mean, personal responsibility and all? Watch him drift out of sight.

Paul Ryan just negotiated a two-year budget deal with Patty Murray. He got tons of great press for that and reminders to us all that he was, after all, the Veep candidate just last year, and so it's not stupid that he could be considered a contender for 2016, and, well, right on cue, reporters started to ask him and he got coy and said the usual stuff. Then what happened? Conservatives -- tea-party types -- started blasting him for not living up to conservative ideals in the budget fight, you know, for compromising and all that. But don't worry. No one will use a picture like the one below against Ryan.

So Paul Ryan does what any far-right guy does when he's challenged by the far-right. He starts promising that there will be no debt-ceiling deal without the Republicans "getting something for it." Prediction: In about two months or so, when we're up against the debt ceiling and Paul Ryan doesn't get squat except maybe another aborted government shutdown, his name will be mud in the mainstream press and the tea party will like him again. Progress!

Lastly, Chris Christie got re-elected in his blue state by a really big margin. He sort of got slapped around by two pals shutting down the George Washington Bridge and people who want to knock him down a peg might manage just that, but big whoop. What will knock him down a peg are two things. One, he's got to govern for two years before 2016 gets going, and what's he going to do, cut education again and screw up public-sector pensions some more? That's rather played out. And two, there's this:

Sure, it helped him win re-election in a blue state. But that picture is going to make a lot of political ads in 2016, and it's not going to win him many core Republican primary votes.

We'll see. I've made my case. Maybe Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, even Rand Paul avoid the rabbit hole. I ain't buying it. The Republican Party has trouble with rising stars. why? They keep falling.

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