But there’s something about how he conducts himself that gives one pause.

Consider this: The day before being elected president in a landslide after a long and arduous campaign, a tired Ronald Reagan said to a persistent heckler at a rally in San Diego: “Aw, shut up!” The crowd responded with a sustained ovation.

What made that moment important was how out of character it was for Reagan, a man of almost inexhaustible patience and self-control, impeccable manners and respect for others. Far from being defining, it was seen as an aberration. But it also showed people that even the good-humored Reagan had a breaking point. In a way, it was reassuring.

That stands in stark contrast to Christie’s retort to a heckler who interrupted him last fall to complain about the lack of government support to residents of towns devastated by Hurricane Sandy. In what has, unfortunately, become characteristic Christie style, the governor told the man to “sit down and shut up.” Some in the crowd applauded, but many observers were unimpressed by the governor’s thin skin, impatience and rudeness — again. It was not the first time he let a heckler get the best of him.