Politics is often like the seesaw you played on when you were a kid (or that you still play on as an adult, we’re not judging): When one side goes down, the other side goes up. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bridgegate scandal is a perfect illustration of this, and though it’s way too early to say who will reap the ultimate benefits from this week’s revelations, here’s a list of four politicians who stand to gain from the controversy.
1.) Hillary Clinton. Clinton is the first name that comes to mind of course, as long as she stays the presumptive front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2016. Democrats have already begun launching bridgegate attack ads on Christie, and if he runs and becomes the GOP’s nominee for president, those ads will certainly be revived. And although the 2016 general election is two and a half years away, an incident like this does not have an expiration date wherein it stops being fodder for an effective negative ad.
2.) Jeb Bush. In a hypothetical 2016 GOP primary match-up, Jeb Bush would probably be the hypothetical opponent who could capitalize the most on bridgegate. Like Christie, much of the former Florida governor’s appeal is to moderate voters. It stands to reason that voters who like Christie but might be turned off by bridgegate- now or when ads flood the airwaves in their state ahead of a primary and jog their memories- would find Jeb Bush appealing.
3.) Joe Biden. Biden has made no secret of his desire to run for president in 2016 but more importantly, Biden inadvertently benefitted from bridgegate just this week. Christie’s scandal refocused all of the media attention away from former Defense Secretary Bob Gates’s new memoir in which he badly criticizes the vice president’s stance on foreign policy issues. The memoir was dominating the political discussion on the cables and in the blogs until the bridgegate story broke. President Obama, whose leadership and administration were also criticized in the book, benefitted in this way as well.
4.) Rand Paul. Christie’s fall probably wouldn’t do much for Paul in the aforementioned hypothetical primary match-up. The two are very far apart politically, so if you had liked Chris Christie but were turned off by bridgegate, Rand Paul would likely not be your new candidate of choice. However, the two men have a well-established feud, and bridgegate gives Rand Paul some strong new ammo for the next time the two get into it.
We’ll have a lot more on the fallout from bridgegate this Sunday on “This Week,” including analysis from Judy Smith, the inspiration behind the hit ABC show “Scandal.”