Today The Nation launches Christie Watch, devoted to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the controversy swirling around him, and his future political prospects as a presidential contender for 2016. As indicated by its subtitle—Governor Chris Christie, the Tea Party and the GOP’s 2016 Civil War—the Christie Watch project will go beyond just the beleaguered governor and his circle to cover what promises to be an epic struggle over who’ll be the eventual Republican standard-bearer three years from now.
The Christie Watch project will appear near-daily as a blog and, in addition, it will show up in occasional columns and investigative features in the pages of The Nation magazine.
It’s reported by a husband-and-wife team, both New Jersey residents, who’ll spend at least part of their time following Governor Christie’s national and local events and travels, legislative hearings, the various investigations of Bridgegate, Sandy relief funds and other potential scandals, and more. Barbara Dreyfuss, who’s written for a number of national magazines including Mother Jones, The American Prospect and The Washington Monthly, spent two decades on Wall Street as a healthcare policy analyst and is the author of an acclaimed investigative book on the hedge fund industry, Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street’s Largest Hedge Fund Disaster. Bob Dreyfuss, a contributing editor at The Nation, has written investigative features and profiles for the magazine for nearly twenty years, and his foreign policy blog appears regularly at TheNation.com. Bob Dreyfuss was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the home of Lou Costello, and grew up in Sayreville, New Jersey, the home of Jon Bon Jovi.
Even in the wake of the scandals that have rocked Christie since December, he’s still one of the most talked-about possibilities for a presidential bid in 2016. Like him or hate him, the governor is one of the most colorful, fascinating, can’t-look-away politicians in the United States, and he’s a formidable fundraiser for the GOP. (Despite the recent controversies, Christie has been largely responsible for the record-setting pace of cash raked in during January by the Republican Governors Association, which Christie chairs.) From his earliest days as a lawyer, lobbyist and politician in the 1990s, through his bombshell years as the US attorney in New Jersey in the 2000s, and into his governorship since 2010—when he went to war against teachers’ unions and public employees, slashed taxes and cut the budget, capped local county real estate taxes at 2 percent per annum and made devastating changes to pensions for state employees—Christie has earned a reputation as a tough-talking Jersey pol. He’s carefully cultivated a man-of-the-people persona, reinforced by scores upon scores of YouTube videos that have gone viral, most of them circulated by Christie’s staff, with a you-won’t-believe-what-he-just-said label, and all of the videos are filmed cinéma-vérité style, with a hand-held camera, by Christie aides eager to get them up on the Internet.