Earlier today, "smoking gun" emails between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's staffers showed pretty clearly that Christie's office engineered a three-day traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge just to punish Democratic Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich. The infraction? Not endorsing the governor in last year's election. Josh Marshall explains why this is bad for Christie's presidential hopes:
[A]ll the Watergate villainy was really needless. He was already winning and on track to win big. For Nixon that went to some of the tragic elements of the man. Because for Nixon is was the deep paranoia which drove him.
That last part isn't like Christie. But the essential dynamic is pretty similar. All year last year it was clear that Christie was set for a massive win. So just think how needless this was. Whether he did it or his aides did, this was an effort to get a Democratic mayor to endorse him. A Democratic mayor. No one expects members of the opposite party to endorse you, though many did.
With Christie, I doubt it's paranoia. In fact, I'm almost sure of it. I don't think the man has the sort of insecurities and self-doubt that drove Nixon to greatness and infamy. It seems more like some tough guy ambition and need to get everybody to fall into line - a crazy ambition to run the table.
Becoming the caricature of a Jersey tough guy won't really play outside the Northeast. Hell, I'm not even sure it will play inside the New York metro area. The guy's a thug, and he keeps screwing New York for minor political gains, after all. (Remember the Hudson tunnel?) New Jersey is stuck with him for a few years. The rest of us don't really want him.