It's hard to feel sympathy for a bully who's been shown up to be one. When the New Yorker does a cover with little boy Chris Christie in the foreground, playing with a ball across lanes on the backed up GW Bridge, you know something's up.
Chris Christie has high ambitions--to be the great white hope, a "centrist" Republican who wins the Presidency. With his landslide re-election, he seemed well placed: he could appeal to independents and Democrats, too.
But, like Nixon's Watergate, his miss-step was born of hubris: he wanted to "run up the numbers," i.e. win by the largest margin possible. He was doing it by bribing (legally, of course) and threatening, in order to gain endorsements of regionally prominent Democrats, or to discourage the kind of insubordination exhibited by Democratic legislators. While the target of the Fort Lee bridge pile up, most media claim, was Fort Lee's mayor, there was also the tangled issue of re-nominating State Supreme Court Justices, in which the majority leader of the NJ Senate, a Democrat from Fort Lee, was at loggerheads with the Governor; Christie publicly referred to the Democratic Senate majority as "animals."
Either Governor Christie knew nothing about the Fort Lee operation to mete out vengeance, meaning he was an inattentive chief executive, who should never have been governor in the first place, or he inspired it (more likely) by a nod and a wink, and attempts to maintain what the CIA calls "deniability."
In either case, crimes were committed, as in Watergate; in this case they involve using public facilities for private purposes, and causing ancillary damage while doing so. It's entirely possible that prosecution will follow.
Even if Christie had no inkling of the plan at Fort Lee, his top-level administrators, and appointees like David "the-same-answer" take-the-Fifth Wildstein, thought that such massive dirty tricks were legitimate. His administration was, at very least, inspired by Christie to retaliate against his perceived enemies by wielding government to harass and frustrate. Perhaps it's his bully-boy persona that inspired his close aides to stage Bridgegate. Is this what a national Christie administration could look like? He could be worse than Nixon, complete with an enemies list and a yen to "get" his opponents. Christie already had a rep for retaliating against people who blocked him. BridgeGate could confirm it.
Christie was the most plausible candidate of the .01%, so he may still be a viable candidate: he could raise enough money to try to wash the Bridgegate stain away, but maybe that's not possible--unless our authoritarian elites remain willing to back him.
Why would they? So far, the only alternatives to surface are right-wing nuts: Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, neither of whom would be trusted by Wall Street. Look for other Republican "moderates" to test the waters. Somebody has to represent the corporate elite, and Democrats are at best unreliable.