Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, whose 1985 re-election landslide swept his Republicans into power across the state, talks to Charles Stile about Chris Christie's victory last week. Did I just write "talks"? I could have written "unloads." Kean's annoyed with Christie for winning the election, failing to win the state Senate, then backing a challenge to Kean's son, who was set to remain the GOP leader in that upper chamber.
The full failure of Christie's "coattails" campaign is only now being known. Christie had wanted to win the state Senate, cutting ads and campaigning for key candidates. None of his challengers unseated any Democrats. The total Republican gain in the Assembly appears to be ... one. That's better than 2011, when Democrats gained a seat, but even if you factor in the gerrymander that protects Democrats, Kean and other Republicans are amazed that Christie could win by 21 points and carry almost nobody along with him.
So, while the national media goggles at Christie's amazing appeal, he's looking at a 2013 of compromises with Democrats, some of whom have cut deals with him and some who will want to undermine him. You can see why he might just want to call it in 18 months, and start running for president.