If the Bridgegate scandal has damaged Chris Christie enough that either he 1) does not run for President or 2) is no longer the frontrunner for the GOP, apparently the GOP Establishment really has no back up plan:
In the immediate aftermath of their emphatic defeat in 2012, the monied mega-donors and professional operatives who run the GOP took solace in what then seemed like a dazzling, diverse roster of talented politicians and outsize personalities eminently equipped to lead the party out of the wilderness.
But after a brutal year of setbacks, scandals, and political floundering capped this month by a controversy that threatens to sink New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s political career, the Republican establishment is warily scanning its bruised and bloodied field of potential 2016 standard-bearers — and many of the party poobahs are on the brink of panic.
In interviews with more than a dozen party officials, fundraisers, and strategists in New York and Washington over the past 10 days, Republicans described a palpable sense of anxiety gripping the GOP establishment in the wake of Christie’s meltdown, and an emerging consensus that the once promising cast of candidates they were counting on to save the GOP from the tea party — and the nation from Hillary Clinton — is looking less formidable by the week.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — declared “The Republican Savior” on the cover of Time magazine last January — fell from grace after his attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and his subsequent flip-flop on the bill, was met with revolt from the right, and a chorus of scorn from the left. Meanwhile, the establishment’s other favorite son, Jeb Bush, virtually vanished after half-heartedly feeding the 2016 buzz during his short-lived book tour last spring. Since then, he has shown little interest in building a presidential campaign, and on Thursday his own mother said she hopes he doesn’t run.
I say the GOP Establishment just needs to embrace the suck, for one election cycle. Go all Goldwater. Put up a Ted Cruz-Rand Paul ticket. Lose 45 states and the popular vote by 10, and the House of Representatives in the process. That way you can tell your crazy base that you know better.
Megan McArdle wonders about the long-term psychological affects of the Great Recession:
The economy does seem to be easing back into a slightly more normal pattern of jobs and growth[.] But it still faces a big test: Can people who survived the Great Recession shed the fear they acquired during those wretched years? The people who survived the Great Depression, particularly its early years, bore permanent scars. There were labor market scars – then, as now, being out of work for a long time was not good for your long-term earnings prospects. And there were psychological scars. My grandfather used to hide money in the house in case the banks closed, to the point where my grandmother found $10,000 stashed in a teapot she was about to donate to the church jumble sale. (Thank heavens she decided to clean it first!) U.S. household savings rates began to decline just as the last children of the Great Depression began to retire and let the baby boomers take over, and while a lot of factors contributed to that, struggling through the Great Depression may have made those generations more conservative in their financial habits.