Correct, the answer is other pundits. (That's why it's called an echo chamber.)
We highlighted this a few days ago after NBC's David Gregory announced that so many “people” were responding positively to the “plain talk” of Chris Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor.
But were “people” doing that, or just pundits and a small group of conservative partisans? Mostly the latter two. But inside the Beltway, “people” is often synonymous with those two groups.
The latest to prove our point is Matt Bai writing yet another fawning mainstream media profile of Christie. (Because the first 12 or 13 weren't enough?) Note how Bai stresses the “people” and Christie:
There is, in fact, something astonishing about the ascent of Chris Christie, who is about as slick as sandpaper and who now admits that even he didn't think he would beat Jon Corzine, the Democrat he unseated in 2009. Some critics have posited that Christie's success in office represents merely the triumph of self-certainty over complexity, the yearning among voters for leaders who talk bluntly and with conviction. Yet it's hard to see Christie getting so much traction if he were out there castigating, say, immigrants or Wall Street bankers. What makes Christie compelling to so many people isn't simply plain talk or swagger, but also the fact that he has found the ideal adversary for this moment of economic vertigo.
See, Christie is compelling to “so many people,” which explains his “astonishing” “ascent.”
As we previously noted, Christie's approval rating at home pretty much mirror's Obama's at about 50 percent. You don't hear many pundits celebrating that number in terms of Obama, but for Christie the 50 percent mark apparently represents pure gold. (BTW, during Christie's “ascent,” his approval rating has remained essentially unchanged since August.)
Secondly, the press keeps telling us that Christie's a shooting GOP star who could be a major player in the White House race next year. But not even GOP voters buy that line. And even if Christie were the GOP's nominee next year, he'd lose his home state of New Jersey to Obama by nearly 20 points, according to a recent poll.
But don't let any of that get in the way of the story the press wants to tell, and the story the Beltway press corps remains utterly committed to telling over and over and over again: First-term Gov. Christie is a superstar.
I have a feeling I'm gong to have to repeat this advice a lot this year, but here it goes (again): Before announcing that “people” are responding positively to Christie, pundits might want to first find out if that response extends beyond their professional class.
So far, there's not much proof that it does.