In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss Chris Christie's political career, Rush Limbaugh and the polar vortex, and Jay Carney's beard.
1. I can't believe this will be the end of Chris Christie's political career. How far, high, and deep do you think this scandal would have to go to really put a stake through his heart?
Ben: The scandal is a serious one and if the investigation shows he knew anything about it previous to the leak he's completely finished. Regardless, the timing is awful if he's thinking about a run for 2016. Big donors are starting to take a look at serious candidates around now, and with this scandal, Christie has essentially taken himself out of the running. Should he be exonerated of any wrong doing, it still doesn't look good as it reflects on his management style which can only be described as atrocious. Savvy politicians like Christie will always find a way to be relevant however, so don't expect him to go anywhere.
Chez: There are a lot of very legitimate questions being asked that Christie has to answer and if it turns out in the end -- after everything is revealed -- that the worst you can say about him is that he was stupidly oblivious, maybe he can kind of survive. And by survive I mean keep his job; I think 2016 might be out of the question. But what we're seeing right now is just the beginning of the string being pulled on. It could easily turn into a good portion of Christie's administration unraveling and the culture he allowed to flourish being exposed for what it is. Also, once the lawsuits begin from those whose lives were damaged in one way or another by the traffic, Jersey -- and Christie -- will spending a lot of time in a defensive stance.
Bob: As soon as he's linked to the plot, he's toast. Otherwise he can wiggle out as a damaged politician without much of a shot at the White House. That said, I don't think he had much of a shot anyway. Too many tea partiers blocking his traffic. Har-har. See what I did there?
2. Earlier this week a forecaster from Accuweather got a lot of credit for smacking down Rush Limbaugh because he said the polar vortex isn't real. But if you paid attention he also said the extreme weather we're experiencing doesn't have anything to do with global warming. I'm so confused.
Chez: You know, I actually watched the interview you're talking about and thought the same thing. He seems to be saying that the Warsaw conference accepted that there's a very serious global climate change problem but that no single event could be to blame for it. I'm assuming that what he's getting at is that it's a gradual, cumulative process, but who the hell knows. I don't pretend to be a meteorologist, but it certainly does seem as if a vast number of scientists are in agreement about this crisis.
Bob: Well, from the study I read, it's quite obvious that the slippage of the polar vortex has to do with global warming. As for the wild weather, these storms and floods would've happened anyway, but they're augmented and worsened by climate change.
Ben: Contrary to Limbaugh's claim, I just lived through the Polar Vortex, and I can attest to it being very real. It was f**king freezing and unlike any weather I've experienced before. Did it have something to do with global warming? I've no idea as I'm not a meteorologist or a climate scientist, but from what I've read, it seems likely global warming made it worse (as it apparently does to hurricanes and tornadoes). There's an overwhelming consensus in the scientific community that global warming is happening, and it's creating more and more extreme weather more and more frequently. Pinpointing specific events is always going to be tricky as it's like saying economic hardship causes specific crimes. When someone robs a bank, how do you determine why they did it? Was it poverty, or was the robber just a criminally minded? Overall though, as poverty and inequality increase, so too does crime, just as global temperature rising causes more extreme weather events.
3. Jay Carney's beard: sexy and rugged or douchey and hipster?
Bob: Hadn't given it much thought, but I'll go with douchey and hipster.
Chez: Chuck Todd's sentient goatee > Jay Carney's beard
Ben: I was invited to watch a rock band play in a hipster area in DC a couple of months back and apparently just missed Jay Carney. Given everyone there was younger than him by a good 20 years, you could probably add creepy on top of douchey and hipster. The beard just makes it all much, much worse.