The bridge scandal was the best possible thing that could’ve happened to Chris Christie right now. Because it’s soooooo far away from the 2016 election that no one will care. Had it come out closer to the primaries, different story.
This gives him time to button up for the big race, it’s the shock that forces him to really make sure of the people around him. And it won’t mean a thing in three months, not even locally. It will just become a part of his folklore, a passing joke we make when his name comes up.
When the fat stuff gets boring, there’ll be the mafioso stuff to lean on. Big deal. Last year the GOP had to choose between the Nine Nine Nine guy, a handful of fundamentalist regressives, a caricature of a rich guy whose singular accomplishment as an elected official was unmentionable and Newt Gingrich. In the meantime, congressional Republicans became bizarrely preoccupied with sharing their non-scientific views on how rape and reproduction works while the mainstream media had a field day covering Donald Trump’s pretend campaign.
Prior to late 2011, there really weren’t any well-known candidates for the Republican faithful other than Sarah Palin. And thank god her ongoing, sometimes filmed, sometimes not reality show was the priority. Not that it mattered, the 2012 election was an ass-kicking.
Chris Christie can win a national election and pull moderates in as well as independents. More than forty percent of Americans now regularly identify themselves as independents when polled by Gallup, a historical record. Christie can appeal to many in this constituency.
He has held the line on abortion and gay marriage despite the fact that he’s governing in a socially liberal Blue State in the New York Metropolitan area. He’s also been able to do so in a non-confrontational way, setting him apart from elements within his own party that have demonstrated such flair for turning off so much of the electorate. He can be seen as acceptable to the party base and culturally conservative bonafides are intact. The perception of his ability to rein in government spending and deal with unions will likely trump any concern about his Roman Catholic faith, thousands of miles from New Jersey where these things are decided. If they can nominate a Mormon from Massachusetts who rammed through a statewide universal healthcare plan…
Every pol has their scandal, but it’s better for Governor Christie to be dealing with his now, years ahead of when these things become trickier and stickier to wrestle with. BridgeGate will fade from the national consciousness as soon as we hear about the next office blowjob or cocaine purchase or tax evasion of some other lawmaker from around the country – which should be any minute now.