It has been a tough December for media darlings in American politics. Let’s give three examples:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) faces a barrage of criticism from New Jersey voters for choosing to continue vacationing in sunny Florida while voters were deluged with snow, ice and blizzard. His Republican lieutenant governor was in Mexico during the blizzard, visiting an ill relative. No fault in that, but the governor should have been at his desk dealing with the blizzard and not engaging in leisure, entertainment, sporting and bathing pursuits while New Jersey voters were suffering the snow.
Christie's public-relations machine then tried to escape responsibility. Everyone knows it snows in New Jersey, he said. Bad answer. Bad plan. Bad time for partying in the sun.
Christie's numbers were down significantly before his Florida visit, a fact the political chattering class that boosts Christie for 2012 is not yet aware of. He might turn out to be a good governor, or he might be a major flop, but he will not be on the Republican ticket in 2012. Not ready for prime time, not even close.
Meanwhile, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a man I greatly admire, had a disastrous blizzard himself. While Bloomberg was teasing the media about national politics, and recently going to China to discuss U.S.- Chinese finances, he should have been well-aware of the weather report predicting a blizzard disaster well ahead of the event.
Mayor Bloomberg blew it. He was not prepared and his administration was not ready. The snow piled up and the good people of New York are not happy campers. The mayor responded by blaming the people for complaining about the poor performance of his government. Now he has apologized.
Simply put, Gov. Christie and Mayor Bloomberg did not "stick to their knitting.” They dropped the ball, and made major unforced errors.
Not to be outdone, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), a man I greatly respect who has been mentioned as a candidate for the Republican nomination, initiated a discussion about which 1960s segregationist group he preferred. Need I say more?
Somewhere in the West Wing of the White House, David Axelrod is smiling.