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February 05, 2014 3:27 PM Don’t Run, Chris!

By Ed Kilgore

The Prospect’s Paul Waldman offers a very simple way out of Scandal City for Chris Christie:

If he announced tomorrow that he won’t run in 2016, the national media’s interest in New Jersey scandal stories would evaporate in seconds. But so long as he holds out that possibility, and so long as he looks like a potentially strong contender, they’re going to keep looking.

That may be an exaggeration. New Jersey media have broken a lot of the stories tormenting Christie, and they won’t stop digging. The proximity of the New York Times is an issue as well. And all the bleeding Christie has experienced in recent polls hasn’t slaked the thirst of any media for discovering what’s behind the allegations and the denials.

Still, Paul’s fundamentally right: the only reason people who don’t live in New Jersey care about Christie is (or perhaps was) his status as the blindingly obvious choice of the Republican Establishment for the GOP nomination in 2016.

If Christie’s political standing continues to erode, and he’s no longer the obligatory governor in the field and Mr. Electability, you can expect attention to shift to other aspirants for Christie’s role in national politics. Commenting on my piece about the growing buzz over Scott Walker, Esquire’s Charlie Pierce predicts that media diggers will find a bumper crop of scandalicious things if they start taking a good close look at Wisconsin.

Bottom line: if you don’t want reporters looking under rocks in your state administration, you should try to keep things honest, and if that fails, definitely rule yourself out as a presidential candidate.

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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