As the Republican National Committee begins meetings in the winter wonderland of Washington, D.C., there is a hope for sunnier days for future Republican candidates. Some of the GOP's brightest minds, such as longtime GOP Committeeman, activist and Newt Gingrich protege Randy Evans, have been behind the push to rearrange the dates of both the next presidential primaries and the 2016 Republican National Convention. That's potentially good news for the GOP.
But here's the bad news: Some politicians still don't get that the public, even those actively involved in politics, "get it" as to the way they operate. Witness the mess Gov. Chris Christie is facing in New Jersey, the indictment of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
What both men reflect is an ongoing problem that haunts the Republican Party in particular. First, there is an issue of perceived myopic friendships with individuals based purely on donations and not on merit. While McDonnell's conduct hardly seems criminal, his accepting all sorts of gifts and being cozy with one individual who likely flaunted his power over the governor is becoming standard fare in many areas of the nation.
Then there is an issue of perceived political bullying using state resources.
Christie is a victim of his own style. We know that because we've all seen his brusque public edicts and pronouncements over the past few years. Clearly his staff felt that they were the crowned little princes and princesses of New Jersey. And likely one had to pass through their tightly guarded gate to even reach the king. So why not close a public bridge here or threaten another political leader there with the power of the state? Right?
Wrong. The Democrats control the Justice Department and they rule, as best one can tell, with an even heavier political hand than any GOP bully these days. It appears easy for them to launch an investigation of the closing of a bridge by a Republican administration or a close relationship between a Republican governor and a donor, or to basically clear the IRS of any wrongdoing in a targeting of conservatives. They know that most of media will let them do so.
But the rules are different for Republican leaders, and some of their thick advisors and palace guards don't recognize that. The fact is that if any bully pulpit should exist, it should be one of ideas, advocacy and persuasion. Not the closing of bridges or cordoning off of access to elected leaders with decisions being made purely by their unelected staff.