In their ever-widening search for somebody who is not Mitt Romney, conservatives are now souring on Rick Perry and turning their desperate, flailing hopes toward Chris Christie. For his part, Christie says he's not running (but Republicans note that he keeps acting the part).
But should the New Jersey governor decide to dive into the shallow end that is the GOP nomination race, here's a lesser known part of his past that might doom him in the general election.
Christie's failings with hard-right Republicans have been well documented. He favors "some of the gun-control measures." He has gone from denying climate-change to an admission that "climate change is real." Maybe most egregiously, he appointed a judge with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Also harmful, Christie is both a hippo and a RINO.
Yet, as I discovered while among Michele Bachmann's doomed followers, Christie is still the top name of many conservatives' "dream ticket." Yet, should he enter the race and get past the primary, his chances in the general election are dicey. And there's one particular incident in his past that's practically a gift-wrapped present to Democrats.
Before he was flying in state helicopters to his kid's baseball games, Christie was flying on private jets as part of the law firm Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, for whom, as a lobbyist, the future governor fought for the rights of Wall Street. In fact, one of Christie's primary lobbying projects on behalf of Wall Street was to win an exemption for securities fraud from New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act. For those Americans whose 401(k)s have been gouged in the last few years, that won't play well. (The only reason this wasn't much of an issue in his gubernatorial campaign was because his opponent was Jon Corzine, who sucked off Wall Street's teat with even more gusto than Christie.)
But it gets worse for Christie.
In a detail that practically writes its own commercial script, the Wall Street client on whose behalf Christie lobbied was the Securities Industry Association. Which, at that time, was led by one Mr. Bernard Madoff.
The bottom line for Obama's communication team: As a lobbyist, Chris Christie worked to remove securities fraud from a consumer fraud act on behalf of an organization run by Bernie Madoff.
It's exactly the kind of scandal that's easy to understand no matter who you are, involves a universally despised villain who has come to represent all the illegality of the 2008 market collapse, and it would be devastating to Christie in much-needed Florida.