By Ken Feltman
(also published at Politix.)
Remember Watergate? Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) asked the most important question: “What did the President know and when did he know it?” The clues were in the Oval Office tapes, which were products of Richard Nixon’s vanity.
Today, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is just one email, voicemail or overheard comment away from political destruction. Think about the folks who have hired (or are about to hire) opposition researchers to find the “smoking email.” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and any other Republican who is thinking about running for president in 2016 is anxious to force Christie out. Every potential Democratic candidate wants Christie gone. This will generate business for a lot of researcher-detective types.
Then consider another level of interest. If you are a key Republican official, are you going to worry that if Christie is nominated in 2016, the roof may fall in? What if the Democrats leak that “smoking email”? Will you now be less inclined to want Christie as your nominee?
Forget about the post-mortems on whether Christie could have handled things better or did as much as could be expected. Christie will not be able to put Bridgegate behind until another election cycle with him on the ballot passes. That cycle comes in 2016.