Thursday, January 09, 2014

Chris Christie - Just a Big Fat Bully?

Chris Christie has worked to build an image of being a direct, no excuses politician who speaks his mind.  But now this image is unraveling as it becomes clear that he is also a petty bully willing to screw over constituents when seeking to punish those who do not yield to his demands.  What else explains the now exposed deliberate decision to punish commuters at the George Washington Bridge that connects New Jersey to northern Manhattan.  The paper trail - or should we say e-mail trail - isn't pretty and Christie seemingly is not going to get off easy.  A main editorial in the New York Times takes Christie to task for trying to throw subordinates under the bus to protect his more than ample ass.  Here are excerpts:
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has explanations to make, apologies to give and an administrative house to clean now that his top aides and political cronies were shown to have been fully and gleefully aware of the chaos they caused by ordering up lane closings — and a four-day traffic jam — in September at the George Washington Bridge.

New Jersey residents had suspected for months that the sudden, mysterious shutdown of traffic lanes to the bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., may have had something to do with the refusal of the town’s mayor, Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, to endorse Mr. Christie for re-election. 

That sounded far-fetched, even for someone known to be as sensitive to slights and as politically belligerent as Mr. Christie. He and his aides said such speculation was crazy talk
Turns out it was his old friend David Wildstein, whom Mr. Christie had appointed as director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority, who ordered the closings. Text messages and emails made public on Wednesday show that Mr. Wildstein and Mr. Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, discussed the closings as political payback for Mr. Sokolich, who had no idea the closings were coming. 

The correspondence shows that the lane closings were indeed a stunningly stupid act of petty revenge. They were also an egregious abuse of power. 

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Ms. Kelly said in an email to Mr. Wildstein in August, a few weeks before the closings. 

When the Port Authority’s executive director, Patrick Foye, learned what was happening in Fort Lee, he immediately ordered the lanes reopened, calling the closings dangerous, “abusive,” and probably illegal. 

Mr. Christie, caught out on Wednesday, could no longer scoff at or dismiss the scandal, or blame Democrats for it. There were two possible explanations: either he had been pathetically misled by his scheming staff, and failed for months to get to the bottom of the scandal, or he had spent those months dissembling to any and all. His excuse? He was a dupe. 

Mr. Christie can start by getting rid of every one of his aides and cronies who knew about this scheme and show what actions he will take against the person with ultimate responsibility for his administration: himself. 
 My opinion of Christie certainly has been lowered.  I suspect that I am not alone.

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