Of course many could argue it’s still too early to stick a fork in Christie and declare him done, and that he has time to restore his credibility. However, even if Christie rides the media roller coaster back towards the apex of popularity, this ordeal revealed not just how little value it is being a Republican liked by journalists (such flirtations always prove to be like a summer camp crush never meant to last), but also that the idea of Christie as some bipartisan role-model was a media myth buoyed by a simple picture of Christie hugging Obama after Hurricane Sandy.

With Christie now basically defanged for fear of having future actions compared to the bridge “bullying” and now dismissed as just any politician engaging in typical score-settling behavior, one has to ask is this really the best the Republican Party has to offer in 2016?

Now is the time for Republicans to discover new stars and elevate current elected officials to greater prominence. Neither of which can happen because when Christie stands in the spotlight it’s figuratively — and literally (sorry, hard to resist) — impossible for anyone else to emerge. And since even a scandal-free Christie was never one to light all wings of the Republican Party on fire, would it not be better for the GOP to continue its soul-searching now, while there is still time, for someone who possibly can?