The fabled New Jersey Turnpike (“You from Jersey? What exit?”) officially ends at the halfway point of the George Washington Bridge, where New Jersey gives way to New York.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s political future may also end on that mighty bridge. Put that in the tragic irony folder. Christie had been anointed by an overeager media as the savior of the Grand Old Party. A Republican who can reach across the aisle, bridge the American political divide. His post-Sandy bromance with President Obama may have infuriated the Romney campaign (coming as it did a week before the election)… but it had the politically purple parts of America swooning. Here comes Chris Christie! The only Republican with the, er, heft to derail the Hillary Clinton juggernaut.
We knew he had serious presidential ambitions when he underwent lap band surgery to get from super-sized to Super Tuesday. After all, it would be rather embarrassing to have to trade in Air Force One for a C-130 Hercules. Oh, that was mean.
But that’s the point: Christie is mean. He is an arrogant, thin-skinned bully who yells at teachers, calls voters idiots, sneers at reporters. His enormous physical presence magnifies his swagger, and that has helped him. Until now. Now Chris Christie just seems like the incredible shrinking governor. Shutting down access to the busiest bridge in the nation for four days to punish the mayor of Fort Lee (who refused to endorse his candidacy) was an extraordinary abuse of power.
And it comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. Except Mr Christie, who is surprised to learn that as a politician he is mortal, and now very likely mortally wounded. I don’t think he’ll finish his second term – which hasn’t even officially begun yet. That may be wishful thinking. We’ll see.
One bit of political fallout from this debacle is mostly background noise for now, but it shows you where the leadership of the national GOP is headed. The teabagger wing (the tail) of the party (the dog) has been giving the press off-the-cuff sound bites throwing Christie under the 2016 campaign bus. That’s all we need to know about the road to the White House for President Hillary Clinton. The “Republican base” which controls the primaries was never going to allow “the savior of the GOP” to get the nomination – not even if he slimmed down enough to model for Playgirl, Scott Brown style.
Note: this might have been my #100happydays entry for today, but that’s just not in the spirit of that project. But this spectacular Christie clusterfuck does make me happy. I hate bullies. And I love it when they get their comeuppance so publicly.