New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a dream candidate for the GOP who has turned into a nightmare. When he first ran for office, George Bush burnished his outsider and moderate credentials. He would restore honor and dignity to the White House. He would not go to war except as a last resort. And he would continue the Reagan Revolution with things like lower taxes, school "reform," and immigration reform. His right hand man Karl Rove would do all the math and create a permanent GOP majority with the newfound Hispanic vote once immigration reform was passed.
The problem with Bush was that his negatives turned out to be too toxic. Too often, he made life choices which involved carrying out personal vendettas against people who had dissed his father. He ran successfully against Ann Richards after she trashed his dad at the Democratic National Convention in 1988. He believed that Saddam was behind a foiled attempt to take his dad's life in the 1990's, a claim that he repeated in his book, "Decision Points." His decision to go to war in Iraq was motivated by the desire to further his and Vice President Cheney's oil interests and to settle a score with Saddam.
The reason that Christie was the GOP's dream candidate was that he did not have the sort of axe to grind that George W. Bush did against a foreign leader. He burnished his moderate credentials by winning in New Jersey, a blue state. And by working with Obama in the middle of a heated Presidential election campaign, he "proved" that he was able to work for the good of the state and the country over the party, something that the Very Important People in Washington would find appealing. It seemed like the perfect opportunity. The GOP would stir up the cult-like following that Bush used to have where people would see him as the greatest man since the Bible was completed. The Very Important People would say, "And that's more good news for Chris Christie," just like they did with John McCain.
In short, it was his "turn" just like it was Mitt Romney's turn in 2012 and John McCain's turn in 2008. The problem lies in the peculiarities of New Jersey; I have family there, so I've been there before. The problem is that New Jersey people love to hate their politicians. Just looking at the recent mass of negative heads against Christie, you see this on full display. Give it a national platform and it amplifies to Christie's destruction.
Now, the GOP is in an identity crisis. Nobody who is running got more than 13% of the vote in one recent poll. That is very low, even for a poll that is that far out. Rand Paul is not an appetizing choice, because even hard-core conservatives like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers are happy to take government money despite all their rants against big government. Mitt Romney showed he would not govern in the interests of the whole country with his 47% remark. John McCain locked up the Very Important People, but was too radical and out of touch on foreign policy. Jeb has a four letter word in his name that is toxic. Sarah Palin drove moderates to vote for Obama. Main Street Republicans are getting tired of the Tea Party, which means that anyone with tea party credentials is likely not going to get the money or organization they need to win. Rick Perry tanked after his opponents knew more about his platform than he did.
Christie may very well win the GOP nomination for lack of a better candidate from the GOP. In reality shows, the contestants frequently sense who their main rivals are going to be and have a way of getting under each others' skin. It could very well be that the rash of anti-Christie diaries on these boards reflects the kind of threat that he could have posed to Hillary had he been free of the kind of baggage that he brings. He could use his gaffe at Sheldon Adelson's retreat to pose himself as the man who would govern with the best interest of the country in mind as opposed to the rich and powerful. And he could strike a populist tone by running against the corporate media and special interests who are always trying to take him down. But in the end, the baggage that he brings has become too much of a distraction for voters to ignore. And the more he stays in the limelight, the less likely that it will go away.