"And we're here to help," the Times added. Okay, maybe they didn't actually include that verbatim quote in the piece, but the paper's recent actions speak for themselves. In all seriousness, this report outlines the extent to which national Democrats have plotted to exploit the Fort Lee lane closures controversy to go in for the political kill:
Democratic Party operatives have churned out 11 different videos depicting Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey as a revenge-happy gridlock maker who cannot keep his story straight. They are unleashing attacks on any Republican in the country who dares to defend him publicly, from a potential Senate candidate in New Hampshire to a New York congressman. And they are coordinating strategy at the highest levels of the party with a new standing agenda item on conference calls: how to undermine Mr. Christie, a top Republican prospect for reclaiming the White House. As much as Mr. Christie’s current troubles are about the stumbling of a rising star in the Republican Party, they are driven, too, by emboldened Democrats who rue their passivity four months ago as Mr. Christie scored a landslide re-election victory, startling the party by securing support from traditionally left-leaning voter blocs. Now, sensing a chance to redefine Mr. Christie for a national audience, those Democrats are determined to transform him into a toxic figure, whose name is synonymous with the ugliest elements of politics: partisan bullying and backslapping cronyism.
Crushing Christie is now a "standing agenda item" on Democrats' strategy calls, which may explain these comments (scroll to the bottom) from close Clinton ally and current Obama aide John Podesta. The plan is to cast Christie as so radioactive that he's unable to function as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. And if he's forced out at the RGA, that would be a major intra-party black eye ahead of the '16 cycle. Democrats are priming the pump, hoping to bait some of Christie's fellow Republicans into hopping on the bandwagon. Some within the GOP have a strong incentive to ensure that the New Jersey governor doesn't get back up off the mat, for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, Republicans have circled the wagons around Christie so far, with just one semi-prominent member of the party calling for his ouster at the RGA. While the rumored presidential hopeful has lost substantial ground on job approval and favorability among Democrats and independents, he's improved his standing among "core Republican" voters, probably because targets of relentless New York Times and MSNBC attacks tend to engender a spirit of camaraderie among conservatives. At the moment, it looks like the dam would only break if evidence comes to light that proves Christie's been lying -- in which case the party would stampede away from Christie, whose governorship could be in peril. But even the highly partisan Democrat leading the highly partisan legislative investigation into 'Bridgegate' has stated publicly that no such proof has turned up thus far.
As I wrote at Hot Air earlier in the week, the Democrat-media nexus seems to have concluded that they don't need the facts to implicate Christie in order to slay him. Instead, maintaining a drumbeat of negative-sounding coverage may just be enough to permanently infect his image in the public's imagination. They're hoping people won't hear that the Hoboken Mayor's allegations have been exposed as not credible. And they're pushing to create the impression that Christie knew about the lane closures, independent of what actually happened. So often in politics, perception is reality -- and perceptions of Christie have taken a distinct turn from where they were in November after he won a remarkably strong re-election victory. National polls showed him tied with or leading Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 match-up; the bridge story was a chink in his armor, and Democrats are going all-in to strip every last scrap of political armor off of Christie's brand. S.E. Cupp argues that they're overplaying their hand -- after all, there's a long time between now and 2016. In her new column, Ann Coulter says Christie "deserves to be defended," although her subsequent prose skewers him as a weak-kneed, pro-amnesty, self-obsessed RINO. And fat! That's pretty standard fare among Christie's conservative critics, but it's a bit odd coming from Coulter. Just a few years ago, she was insistent that Christie must be the party's nominee in 2012. Have his policy positions or personal flair changed dramatically since she uncorked this memorable analysis?
Parting thought: A new Q-poll in Colorado shows Christie and Hillary virtually tied, with the former Secretary of State also even with, or trailing, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan. The same survey pegs Obama's job approval rating at 37 percent in the swing state, with Sen. Mark Udall's re-elect number hovering in the low 40's.