For Republicans, the question of which candidate would give the party its best chance to reclaim the White House in 2016 is still very much open. Scott Walker slayed the public sector unions in Wisconsin. Rick Perry might remember that third department to eliminate. Ted Cruz certainly has made a mark in his short time in the Senate, and Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and others still could shake things up.
But Democrats have made their judgment as to which Republican they fear most – and the answer is Chris Christie.
This explains the strange things that have been happening with your TV. Your cable system likely has several hundred channels, and all of them are reporting on Bridgegate. You keep switching and switching – you need new batteries for the remote – but the story is always the same.
What did the governor know about his staff deliberately causing traffic tie-ups in Fort Lee, N.J., and when did he know it? Who were these staffers? And why didn't he supervise them better? Why did they lie to him? Did they do this to the mayor of Jersey City as well? And what about the Hurricane Sandy money? Is this guy Tony Soprano with a closer-to-legit job?
Not since the inglorious end to the neighborhood watch surveillance career of one George Zimmerman has the nation's media – aka the information arm of the Democratic Party – been so obsessed with a scandal. It seems as if there are more reporters on this story than on Benghazi, the IRS harassment of tea party groups and the failed rollout of Obamacare combined.
It's not good to use the power of the state to intimidate political opponents. It is not good for staffers to force the innocent people of Fort Lee to endure four days of traffic hell just because their mayor would not allegedly endorse a candidate of the other party. But the wall-to-wall coverage of this is so excessive, so over-the-top that something else must be at stake here.
And that something else is the 2016 presidential election. And perhaps the midterms of 2014.
The media blitz looks to be a well-orchestrated push by Democrats to permanently damage Christie's reputation with national voters. It's why Republicans sometimes refer to MSNBC as MSDNC.
If Democrats in New Jersey were truly outraged by either the bridge incident or Christie's use of Sandy funds to produce a series of "we're recovering, come on back to New Jersey" tourism commercials, they would have raised them during last year's campaign, which ended with a landslide re-election victory for the governor. They didn't use those incidents – which they surely had some knowledge about – because they knew Christie was going to win in a landslide anyway.
But then, this is no more about New Jersey voters than it is about traffic cones or tourism commercials. This is about Hillary Clinton's coronation and the perceived threat to it posed by this powerful personality in Trenton.
Democrats see Christie as their only true threat to a third term in the White House. They believe he can attract the independent and even moderate Democratic support that, in recent decades, has decided every presidential election. They believe he can appeal to women and ethnic groups and independent voters in swing states.
And they see an opportunity to take a formidable foe off the playing field nearly three years before the election is even held. This also, by the way, explains the dearth of Republicans rushing to his defense.
But there is more to this. Today, 29 states have Republican governors, and 22 of them are up for re-election in November 2014. The new head of the Republican Governors Association – the organization charged with raising money to keep those 22 people in office – is Christie. A scandal that impedes his ability to raise funds could be felt in statehouses from coast to coast.
So Bridgegate, sadly, won't end anytime soon. Committees are piled atop committees to investigate this, and if Christie is proven to have known of the plot beforehand, his presidential aspirations will be in serious trouble.
But the lack of a story won't stop the media from producing a few million of them. Sadly, until the Republican advantage in statehouses is reduced and the coronation of Lady Clinton assured, it will be hard to find much else on TV, no matter how many channels you have.