The vitriolic attack -- one which is certain to appear in an Obama 30-second ad if Gingrich is the nominee -- raises the question of whether establishment Beltway Republicans are willing to inflict crippling harm on a potential Republican nominee for President, even to risk a second Obama term, in a desperate attempt to force a Romney nomination and, by extension, to retain control of the national party.
Make no mistake, the movement conservatives and the Tea Party movement scare the Republican establishment, which detests and despises them yet demands their fealty and exploits their enthusiasm, votes and contributions.
The Christie comments -- which, you can be assured, come with the direct approval of Governor Romney and the highest levels of the Republican establishment -- signal that the intraparty fight for the nomination will be a no-holds-barred, bare-knuckled, Texas death-cage brawl. Not surprising: politics "ain't beanbag," as New York congressman Charlie Rangel has said. However, party harmony is both a virtue and a necessity for ultimate victory; see Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment about never speaking ill about another Republican.
In light of these principles and the strong personal attacks on Newt Gingrich (and which, you wonder, follow the behind-the-scenes sudden attacks on Herman Cain), one may validly question whether the Republican Establishment has the attitude of: Romney will be the nominee...or else.
If Republicans share the goal of defeating Obama in November at all costs, Christie's most intentional comments today may prove a horrible strategic blunder. Unless, that is, the Establishment's goal is not victory over Obama at all, but rather, to maintain control of the national Republican Party at all costs.
Even if that means another four years of President Obama.
Eric Dixon is a New York investigative lawyer with substantial experience in the private equity and capital finance fields. Mr. Dixon has worked for over two dozen candidates on ballot access and other issues, and has also been a strategic analyst for several campaigns.