“A Lot Of Sliding Toward Undecided”

Noam Scheiber doubts media-bashing will work for Chris Christie’s comeback campaign:

[A]s satisfying as it may feel in the moment, media-bashing has a rather poor track record of papering over candidates’ ideological heresies. Just ask those august GOP nominees, Newt Gingrich (global warmingimmigration, chronic bride-shopping) and Rudy Giuliani (gay marriage, abortion, gun control). The seams invariably show, especially since the media-bashers tend to be pols who’ve basked in a fair amount of media adulation at various points in their careers. Sooner or later, Republican voters tend to notice that the anti-media fulminating is suspiciously timed to deflect the most damning questions.

That’s not to say media-bashing can’t work—it clearly has on occasion. But the only reliable formula is when the infraction that kindled the media firestorm in the first place attests to one’s conservative credentials. Say, when Sarah Palin accuses the Democratic nominee for president of palling around with terrorists, then blames the resulting uproar on media bias. Or, to pick the more relevant example of a moderate trying to gin up conservative support, when Rudy Giuliani questions whether waterboarding is in fact torture, accuses Democrats of refusing to use the term “Islamic terrorist” out of misplaced political correctness, or trims the welfare rolls by hundreds of thousands of people. All of these prompted a media uproar, which in turn prompted Giuliani to attack the “liberal media.” (Not that he ever needed much provocation.) And though these frequent outbursts didn’t exactly secure the GOP nomination for him (see point one), they probably did boost his ratings among primary voters at various points in 2007.

Christie’s polling numbers are getting worse:

In the last Quinnipiac poll, 64 percent of Republicans said Christie would be a “good president.” Only 18 percent disagreed. That’s shrunk to 50 and 22 percent, respectively—a mere 4-point increase in the hard-no number, but a 12-point move from “good president” to “ask me something else.” Conservatives, more skeptical in general of Christie, had given him a 54–26 advantage on the “good president” question. That’s down to 37–24. Again, not huge movement to “no,” just a lot of sliding toward undecided.