In New Jersey Chris Christie is on the career path of the only US president to be driven from office for criminal behavior in the last two centuries.
With each new revelation, Christie evokes Richard Nixon who divided the world into friends and enemies and, with ruthless helpers, punished those on the wrong list and played dirty tricks on them.
In his first run for national office as Eisenhower’s VP, Nixon had to make a mawkish TV talk to save his place on the ticket after revelations that he had taken under-the-table contributions from supporters. Admitting illegality, he argued it was not “morally wrong” because the money was for political not personal use, closing with a mock-defiant promise to keep the family gift dog Checkers nonetheless because “the kids love it.”
As President almost two decades later, Nixon escaped impeachment by resigning after revelations of a “massive campaign of political spying and sabotage” against opponents by aides in charge of “dirty tricks.”
On a state level, Gov. Christie is running well ahead of his role model as we learn not only of bridge traffic jams but new accusations that he withheld Hurricane Sandy relief from Jersey mayors who did not do his political bidding.
Opinion polls suggest that Christie’s thuggish approach to governing has not taken hold enough with voters to derail his budding presidential campaign, but the signs are all there…