I've been told that Chris Christie is too imperious and too much of a bully to win the Republican nomination, and my feeling on that is that Republicans like imperious bullies (see: John McCain), so I don't see how that could hurt him. I mean, it will in the general, but not so much in the primary. But he hasn't learned the most important lesson of being a Republican favorite, which is that no matter how sure of yourself you may be, if you refuse to pander to bigots, you're screwed. McCain knew this; he changed his position on immigration to the one that most appealed to people who flip out if they hear someone speaking in Spanish in public. But Christie's gone and appointed a Muslim to the state bench of New Jersey, and the wingnuts are freaking out, sure this is a sign that sharia law is imminent. Adam Serwer:

The case against Mohammed -- if you care to tumble down that rabbit hole -- is that he's represented people accused of ties to terrorism. The "stealth jihad" crew, despite ostensibly being concerned about the secular rule of law being subverted by Islamic fundamentalists, don't actually believe in the presumption of innocence, or in providing legal representation to Muslims accused of crimes.

Sohail Mohammed defended some men who were caught up in post-9/11 secret sweeps looking for potential terrorists, and most of them were innocent of the accusation of having ties to terrorism. "Innocent" is a key word here when understanding how completely ridiculous the wingnut reaction is, though grown-ups have to also point out that even if they're not innocent, they have a right to a legal defense, like anyone else accused of a crime. Basically, the tattered remains of the once-powerful 101st Fighting Keyboardists don't believe that there is a difference between "Muslim" and "terrorist".

So now, according to the warbloggers, New Jersey is about to turn into Iran.

– In a widely linked post, “Governor Christie’s Dirty Islamist Ties,” blogger Daniel Greenfield writes that “New Jersey, the Garden State, has just taken its first step toward becoming the Sharia State,” and criticized Christie for being “willing to stand up to the teacher’s union, but not to the terrorist’s union.”

– Hate blogger Pamela Gellar, in a post titled “Governor Christie’s Hamas Pick for Superior Judgeship,” declared Christie’s political career over: “Governor Christie looked and sounded like he could be presidential. He’s not. He’s in bed with the enemy. All the other stuff doesn’t matter if you don’t have your freedom.”

– At Commentary magazine, Jonathan S. Tobin wrote a post about Christie’s “troubling appointment,” and charged that Christie’s “appointment of Sohail Mohammed to the court shows that his judgment on the issue of support for terrorism is highly questionable.”

– The Investigative Project on Terrorism warned Christie’s appointment of an “Islamist” to a judgeship “betrays either naivete or calculation. Either is troubling.”

– PowerLine blog took extra pains to note that “The attorney’s name is Mohammed, first name Sohail — Sohail Mohammed.”

I, for one, cannot wait for the farmer's market to have the crescents to indicate which tomatoes are sharia tomatoes. All that radical juiciness!

I think it's time to start a Republican nomination index. Measure all the potential candidates against each other, see who is ahead which week, etc. My money is still on Christie getting it, but this has weakened the case, and I feel Pawlenty is now ahead. But watch out for dark horse Huckabee.

Who should be on such an index? Maybe creating a graphic for it would be a good idea.