Although I’m on record saying a year ago that [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie would never be president, precisely because of his vengeful and bullying temperament, I actually did see a route for him to win a GOP primary, which many people dismiss. It was the same route Mitt Romney took: being the guy with the money who let the Tea Party crazies knock each other off. Romney was never the frontrunner in polls, but as each rival took his or her turn in the lead (yes, Michele Bachmann was taken seriously after the Ames, Iowa straw poll), and even won a primary here or there, Romney steadily racked up delegates and cash and wound up the last man standing, despite the loathing of the far-right base.Her entire piece about Christie’s political and legal woes is here.
Christie might have done the same thing, if Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and Marco Rubio all jumped in, alongside Rick Perry and maybe for some real fun, Iowa’s Steve King. But if Christie, like the Tea Partiers, has to endure a mini-primary to win the Establishment and big donor crown, he would be in big trouble.
Now he’s in big trouble already, and you can bet GOP operatives are combing the record along with Rachel Maddow’s staff and dozens if not hundreds of local and national reporters, to tell the story of the real Chris Christie. That’s in addition to the state and federal investigators who will be looking for evidence that Christie knew more about the Fort Lee plot than he’s shared. Christie will be spending more time with lawyers than with GOP donors in the months to come, and he may have to focus on keeping his job rather than winning the White House. His path to the White House is all but closed, even if some national pundits can’t bear to admit it yet.
READ MORE: “Forget 2016, Chris Christie May Not Even Be Governor Much Longer,” by Joan Walsh (Salon); “Chris Christie: Dimwitted Dupe or Demented Liar?,” by Brian Beutler (Salon); “At the Heart of the Scandal,” by Steve Benen (The Maddow Blog); “Christie’s Either Naive or a Liar. Neither Makes Him Presidential,” by David Garber (Political Carnival); “Obama Sees a Problem, Says I Will Fix It. Christie Sees a Problem and Says Not My Fault,” by Jason Easley (PoliticsUSA); “Christie Bridge Scandal: Five Outrageous Examples of Political Revenge,” by Erin McCann (The Guardian).