People have asked me, "How bad does this hurt Chris Christie?"
My answer: It hurts him bad. Real bad. Let me explain why.
I know that 2016 is still away off, but this scandal doesn't have an expiration date because it is about him. It is about his leadership. His opponents in the 2016 primary will say things like this.
"I have great respect for the Governor and his accomplishments in New Jersey, but he is not the right man to lead this party or the country. The governor has explained that he did not know what his top aides were doing when they closed down the George Washington bridge.
I believe him, and that is the problem.
As bad as the political actors might be in Trenton, they are boy scouts compared to the rough and tumble politics of Washington. If he didn't know what his top aides were doing in Trenton, how can he possibly stay on top of what goes on in a hugely bloated administration with nearly unlimited power these days? And each of those agents and agencies has its own agendas and motivations. I don't think that the Governor has demonstrated he is up to the job.
Look. We have just gone through eight years in which our government and our President has used the power of government as a weapon against its political enemies with the American people suffering as a result.
Governor Christie showed that he was powerless against such a culture of corruption and thuggery in Trenton. He is simply not the right man to to change that same culture in Washington. While Governor Christie was blind to what was happening in his own administration his own people suffered, some even died. We simply can not allow the American people to suffer the same way from a government that uses and abuses power for its own political ends while the Chief Executive turns a blind eye.
Governor Christie simply cannot change the culture in Washington because he has been in the same culture so long, he doesn't even notice it anymore."
I don't see how such statements, repeated over and over by his primary opponents will fail to leave a lasting mark. It is gonna hurt, real bad.