Christie “Could Melt Down At Any Time,” Some On Wall Street Say

I conspicuously didn’t buy into the post-election meme that Republican gubernatorial wins washed all of Chris Christie’s sins away:

[D]oes anyone think being a figurehead for the RGA in a good year is going to cut a lot of ice with the actual on-the-ground activists and voters who will determine the Republican presidential nomination? Is anyone impressed by this other than the people who never stopped loving him?

I’ll believe it when Christie no longer has by far the worst approval/disapproval ratio among likely Caucus-goers in Iowa. I dunno, maybe at the places they gather Iowa conservatives are buzzing about ol’ Chris just killing it at the RGA. But I seriously doubt it.

But as Politico‘s White and Haberman report, the New Jersey governor himself thinks he’s a political born-again who can now forget all that Bridgegate unpleasantness:

The New Jersey governor sees his position within the party restored and the Bridgegate scandal as ancient history, according to several people who’ve spoken with him. As a center-right governor from next door, he’s confident New York’s conservative money set will be behind him in a 2016 presidential campaign. As for the complaints about his aggressive behavior? Meaningless whining.

If so then Christie probably went into a screaming hate-rage upon reading what the Politico story said next:

Some of Wall Street’s biggest donors take a different view. Many of them believe the New Jersey governor still represents too risky an investment, at least at this stage.

One problem, they say, is Christie’s decision not to resign as governor if he runs for president, despite federal securities rules that could seriously complicate his fundraising from the finance sector.

But the bigger concern is temperament.

In recent interviews, several donors, including several who are high on Christie, mentioned his showdown with a protester at a Hurricane Sandy-related town hall just before the election. “Sit down and shut up!” Christie scolded the man, whom he referred to derisively as “buddy….”

That moment did not sit well with wealthy donors, nearly all of whom asked not to be identified lest they trigger their own confrontation with the potential presidential nominee. Several also did not want to run afoul of firm rules on engaging in partisan politics.

“There’s a sense he could melt down at any time,” said one donor who has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Republican candidates over the past several election cycles, and would be well-positioned to help Christie.

Even longtime Christie allies think the governor’s unwillingness to even dial down his approach even a notch or two could make it harder to get the Republican nomination….

“A lot of these people around Wall Street are more pragmatic conservatives,” said a donor who often serves as a liaison between GOP politicians and Wall Street donors. “And the ‘sit down and shut up’ stuff does not seem presidential to them. It seems disqualifying.”

Disqualifying! Them’s strong words.

No, I wouldn’t want to be Chris Christie’s press secretary today.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.