"Well, I would have to say that in this sort of feminized atmosphere in which we exist today, guys who are masculine and muscular like that in their private conduct, kind of old fashion tough guys, run some risk. [...] "By which I mean that men today have learned the lesson the hard way that if you act like a kind of an old fashioned guy's guy, you're in constant danger of slipping out and saying something that's going to get you in trouble and make you look like a sexist or make you look like you seem thuggish or whatever. That's the atmosphere in which he operates. This guy [Christie] is very much an old fashioned masculine, muscular guy, and there are political risks associated with that. Maybe it shouldn't be, but that's how it is."
It stands to reason that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) admirers are going to defend him as the bridge scandal unfolds. There's even a predictable defense: the governor wasn't responsible since he wasn't aware of his aides' alleged misconduct.
But some of the arguments Christie's allies have come up with are more striking than others. Fox News' Brit Hume, for example, was asked yesterday about the governor's reputation for bullying those who disagree with him. Hume responded:
Perhaps this is the best Republican media can do given the revelations?
I'll confess I didn't see that one coming. The Christie administration is accused of abusing its power, seeking petty political retribution against perceived enemies, using public resources as a weapon that endangered the public, and then lying about it.
Leave it to Fox's senior political analyst to explain that the governor is the actually victim -- he's the muscular tough guy being treated unfairly because of his old fashioned masculinity. Team Christie isn't "thuggish," Hume assures us, it only appears that way because of the darned "feminized atmosphere."
Apparently, we should feel bad for the terrible burdens the Republican governor must feel, being so tough and muscular in an environment that doesn't fully appreciate a "guy's guy."
Elsewhere on the Sunday shows, the RNC's Reince Priebus, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and Rudy Giuliani all equated Christie's bridge scandal with the IRS story from last spring, apparently unaware that the comparison is remarkably stupid.
The RNC's Sean Spicer addede that last week's developments in New Jersey are proof that Christie is "what America is yearning for," a point echoed by Karl Rove, who said the governor blaming his staff is emblematic of "what we want in a leader."
None of these folks, by the way, appeared to be kidding. These are their actual talking points.
Kathleen Parker, meanwhile, believes Christie may ultimately thrive because conservatives will think journalists and news organizations are being "mean" to him. "What is certain is that the only thing the Republican base hates more than a liar and a bully is a bullying media," she wrote. "Once that common enemy is established, the perceived victim often becomes the victor."
It would appear for many Republicans in media, efforts to address Christie's controversy on the merits are over. Indeed, they never really started in the first place.