For the first time in two decades, Texas is electing itself a new governor, making the contest — featuring liberal heroine
That alone would be good reason for New Jersey Gov.
Indeed, Christie’s chairmanship of the
But that, of course, was before the
The governor was in Texas on Thursday, raising money for the RGA, and the nature of his visit demonstrated everything that need be said about the current state of his political disunion. The events in Dallas and Fort Worth were held behind closed doors, with no press coverage allowed. The state’s presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee, Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott, chose to be elsewhere during Christie’s visit, as did outgoing Republican Gov.
The Texas jaunt follows a Christie trip last month to Florida, where Republican Gov.
The facts surrounding the bridge scandal are in dispute and subject to multiple investigations. It is clear that Christie's aides manufactured several epic traffic jams leading to the bridge after the Democratic mayor of nearby Fort Lee, N.J., refused to endorse the governor for a second term. Christie has adamantly insisted he had nothing whatever to do with the perceived payback and said he fired two aides aware of the plan as soon as he learned of their actions.
Steadily, however, new revelations have kept the scandal very much alive, feeding the cravings of a ravenous New York-New Jersey press corps. (Would there be half as much coverage if Christie was governor of, say, Nebraska?)
The latest drip-drip came Friday when an attorney for David Wildstein, Christie’s high school classmate and appointee to the bridge-tending
But true or not, the cover-up allegations are hardly helping Christie as he eyes a 2016 presidential run. "Even if it turns out not to be true," said New Jersey pollster Patrick Murray, "there are significant consequences just to having those charges sitting out there."
Or making Christie a public persona non grata within his own party at the very moment he's trying to raise his national profile and lay the foundations for a 2016 run.
Surely this is not the way Christie and his strategists envisioned his presidential campaign rollout, sneaking in and out of events to avoid the probing of reporters or photographing of fellow Republicans in unhappily close proximity. (Even the Texas Republican Party was kept out of the loop about Christie's comings and goings Thursday.)
It was wildly premature to install Christie as the GOP frontrunner, as this story suggested last November, and it is just as premature now to write off his presidential chances.
But a White House campaign cannot be run like a stealth military operation. At some point, to seriously vie for his party's nomination, Christie will have to step out from behind those closed doors, face the scrutiny of reporters and show that members of his own party want more than just the money he can raise for them in private.
Presumably he'll cross that bridge when he comes to it.