Well, that depends. It depends on how he responds. If with force and clarity to fire anyone connected with the abuse of their powers for political gain, he may in fact increase his stature and enhance not diminish his image. The “bully” meme on the left is nonsense. Every chief executive ends up with boneheaded people doing boneheaded things.
It is all about the response. A press conference with everyone in the country watching after a day of build-up? Well, that could even turn out to be good for the governor. Something people recall 24 months from now in the snows of New Hampshire. (Christie shouldn’t play by Iowa’s rules –see my conversation with Reince Priebus from earlier this week.) A press conference that sharply contrasts with every press conference ever given by President Obama, wherein the questions are many, the answers brief and to the point, the leadership as opposed to Hamlet-tryout on display.
“Dented?” Way too soon to say that. Perhaps even the opposite. Let’s see after his “I am not a bridge-closer” presser.
The real danger is not to image, as I believe Christie’s adamant denials –who would tell his or her boss such a stupid move anyway– but that a New Jersey edition of the snake Ronnie Earle slither out of some prosecutors office and try to do to Christie what Earle did to Delay (with the assistance of a willing media.) American politics tends to criminalize everything eventually, and some ambitious local prosecutor might decide this is his trampoline to fame and fortune. Watch that space, and the Christie presser when it comes.