Prosecutors Subpoena Chris Christie Campaign And The GOP - And Does The Republican Party Sort Of Like It?
And the next chapter in the Chris Christie "Bridgegate" saga? As part of an federal inquiry into accusations that Christie and co shut down the George Washington Bridge as a political retaliation tactic, federal prosecutors have issued grand-jury subpoenas for both those involved in Christie's re-election campaign, and New Jersey's Republican Party. The affected groups have two weeks to turn over texts, emails, memos, spreadsheets, voicemails and even calendar entries.
As if this weren't enough to deal with, Christie's gone and gotten himself involved in another controversy, this time regarding a spat of bullying over a physical fitness ambassadorship. Apparently, Olympic gold medalist and New Jersey fitness guru Carl Lewis was keen to run for the New Jersey Senate in 2011, but unfortunately was planning to do so against a Republican Christie liked. According to Lewis, Christie gave him a call and threatened to take away a previously-offered ambassadorship — the first for physical fitness in the state — if Lewis ran.
Believe it or not, some strategists believe that all this drama might actually get Republicans firmly on Team Christie. Hear them out: By making himself basically abhorrent to Democrats, Christie can solidify the Republican support he would need for that much-rumored president bid. With a crumbling, factious party, the GOP needs a central figure strong enough to rally them for a united front against the Democrats: "By making himself totally intolerable to Democrats," writes Roger Simon of the Kinosha News, "he is making himself somewhat acceptable to Republicans."
Post-Bridgegate scandal, Christie's poll numbers among Democrats, formerly quite high, have plummeted. With independents giving him more bad marks, pretty much the only people who support Christie now are Republicans, who say their opinion of him hasn't changed.
So what might be Christie's next move? Well, maybe pledging his allegiance further to the GOP. Despite his carefully crafted bipartisan appearance, the weak GOP doesn't want someone who will cross the aisles and play nice with Democrats. They want someone who will unflinchingly push through a solely Republican agenda, which has lately been in shambles at the federal level, as a means to recover the strength of their party and win back voters.
In other words, they need someone who's aggressive, plays as dirty as he legally can, and isn't afraid to be a bit of a bully.
And that's something Christie seems very good at.