Chris Christie’s national legacy

Chris Christie reportedly is set to abandon his badly faltering presidential campaign. Christie was counting on a strong showing in New Hampshire, but finished in sixth place last night with only 7.4 percent of the vote.

Though he failed to impress voters, Christie leaves quite a legacy. In 2012, he dished out a huge assist to President Obama by embracing the president on virtually the eve of what looked like a close election. Obama was desperately pitching the notion that he could work across party lines. His problem was that he couldn’t point to any Republican to vouch for this proposition.

Up stepped Chris Christie.

Four years later Christie assisted another non-conservative presidential candidate, Donald Trump. He did so by severely wounding Marco Rubio, one of the two rivals to Trump who had a decent chance of upending the tycoon. Not only did Christie wound Rubio, he also ensured that the so-called establishment lane remains cluttered, a development that could also boost Trump’s prospects.

Let’s be clear: the fault for Rubio’s setback lies mostly with Rubio. He wasn’t sufficiently prepared for Christie’s assault and, prepared or not, should have handled it better. But Rubio’s other rivals were smart enough not to undertake a mission that was always likely to help Trump and, if anything, hurt them.

Only Chris Christie couldn’t restrain himself.

Is this the end for Christie on the national stage? I hope so.

There is talk, however, that he might be named Attorney General in, say, a Trump administration. Conservatives should fear a Christie Justice Department. The New Jersey governor is clearly an able man with a strong background in law enforcement. But he’s also a bully who relishes using his political power to administer payback to his opponents. Conservatives can have no confidence that as Attorney General he wouldn’t abuse the prosecutorial power of the federal government.

After eight years of Obama, America needs a break from an overweening, overly intrusive, vengeful Justice Department. And if Trump becomes president, restraint at the DOJ will be all the more important.

Chris Christie would be the antithesis of a restrained Attorney General. Let’s hope he just fades away.

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