Chris Christie’s 2016 presidential ambitions are waning. What he chooses to do after his relegation to the kiddie table in next week’s debate may show signs of where he might be going next. But even without those signs, it is interesting to speculate on what’s in store for him.
For this thought exercise, let’s assume that Christie is not indicted for Bridgegate or any other shenanigans that were his doing. While an indictment might put a crimp in his career, other Republicans have come out of bad situations pretty well. See: Richard Cheney, David Vitter.
If Senator Menendez, who is having his own legal problems, is forced to resign, Christie could appoint himself to fill out the rest of that term. This is an unlikely possibility. First, if Christie has any presidential ambitions beyond 2016, his record in the Senate could be a problem for him. I don’t think Christie would join the extreme crazy Tom Cotton wing of the Senate, so his votes could be used against him by both the Tea Party extreme and the Democrats. Also, Christie’s ego would not be served by being a junior member of a 100-person body.
Another possibility is that Christie is appointed U.S. Attorney General in a Republican administration. This would be an attractive option for him because it gives him visibility to stroke his ego. Given that the top GOP presidential contenders are bereft of leadership skills, Attorney General Christie could run roughshod over the Justice Department, and as Dick Cheney-lite could make a name for himself, whether or not it is deserved, as he did when he was the New Jersey federal attorney.
Of course, Christie could leave the public sector entirely (and temporarily) and reap big bucks as an oil lobbyist or Fox “News” commentator. He could have a book written by a ghost writer and remain visible on book tours. Since he would control the narrative, this scenario would also enable him to develop an image for a future presidential run.
One thing is certain. Christie wants to be president. He started his current quest the day he was sworn in as governor, much to the determent of the health, welfare, and safety of New Jerseyans. Now that his 2016 downfall is morphing into a 2020 or 2024 quest, what impact will that have on the people who foolishly gave him a second term?