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January 09, 2014 10:22 AM Be Careful Who You Step On: You Might Turn Into Nixon

By Ed Kilgore

Chris Christie has a press availability scheduled for 11:00 AM EST, and we’ll see what he can add to his response to the Fort Lee scandal beyond yesterday’s denial that he knew what his staff was up to in engineering a politically motivated traffic jam.

The one thing we know for sure is that Christie isn’t having to spend too much time sorting through huge stacks of offers from people rushing to defend him. Politico’s Maggie Haberman sums it up:

Chris Christie is learning that being a Party of One can be pretty lonely when times get tough.
Democrats predictably condemned the New Jersey governor after a bombshell report Wednesday tied one of his top staffers to a burgeoning scandal that’s already been dubbed “Bridge-gate.” More notable was the dearth of Republicans who rose to Christie’s defense — and, privately, the schadenfreude expressed by some of them that a man who’s never been shy about taking shots at others was suddenly on the receiving end.

Totally aside from the usual partisan dynamics, Christie’s “fall” is being accelerated by Democrats who fear him as the only potential 2016 nominee running regularly ahead of Hillary Clinton in the polls; conservatives who loath him as a non-apologetic RINO; and then all sorts of people he’s abused or slighted over the years. I suspect all three categories of people are contributing heavily to the “Christie’s Dead!” meme which—prematurely, I would say—began racing through the chattering classes yesterday the moment those incriminating staff emails were released.

If Christie and/or his presidential ambitions do survive the furor, it probably won’t be due to the kindness of friends or strangers—which could make him all the more of a vengeful loner in the future. I’ve never thought of the gregarious Jerseyite as having Nixonian characteristics until now, but I’ll be watching for V-signs and jowl-shaking in the presser today.

UPDATE: Didn’t notice this until after I wrote this post, but TNR’s outstanding political reporter Alec MacGinnis has a piece up suggesting that Christie’s been quasi-Nixonian all along.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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