Jonah Goldberg

The allegation that the Obama administration used the IRS to target political opponents is far more explosive (similar tactics were at the core of the Nixon impeachment effort). And, unlike Christie's claims of what he knew and when, similar White House denials haven't held up.

And in the same week the media succumbed to St. Vitus' dance over Christie's alleged "cover-up," it was revealed that the Department of Justice had appointed an Obama donor from the civil rights division, instead of the public integrity division, to investigate the IRS scandal. The department now says it would be unlawful to remove her from the assignment because of her political views. That's untrue. No hysteria there.

Christie is widely seen as a threat to whoever the Democratic nominee will be. Unlike some recent GOP nominees, who struggled to be merely lifelike, Christie has an authenticity and charisma most national Republicans lack. As ABC's Jonathan Karl put it on "This Week," Christie is "the most intriguing and colorful person" in American politics.

That probably explains the overkill as much as anything. Christie is new, exciting and interesting in ways Obama once was. The difference is that when Obama was new and exciting, the media were biased in every regard and heroically skeptical of any Obama wrongdoing. "We thought he was going to be ... the next messiah," Barbara Walters recently said. The cult of personality has diminished but the partisan skepticism remains.

Christie, like most Republicans, never benefited from such skepticism, and never will.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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