My own provisional view, for what it’s worth, is that the “fuck-the-Serbian” scandal is a pretty damn serious one for Chris Christie. I sure hope his “shocked, shocked!” statement today is completely truthful (if not he’s toast), but even having to dress down some of his closest aides for “unacceptable” and “completely inappropriate” behavior casts a bad light on his judgment and, yes, character. You can’t distance yourself from the culture in your closest circle.
But the other reason I think this will sink in is because there are few things that people hate more than traffic jams. What Christie’s closest aides did was create days of traffic jams for ordinary citizens because of a petty internecine feud. That makes them raging assholes in the minds of most normal, sane people who have ever driven a car. And they are assholes.
Then there’s the question of tone. Christie’s deputy chief of staff emailed: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Who is she, a rejected minor character in “House of Cards”? Then this, when Christie’s peeps find out that children are late for school because of their “traffic problems”:
“Is it wrong that I am smiling?” Mr. Wildstein texted Ms. Kelly.
“No,” she texted back.
“I feel badly about the kids,” he texted.
“They are the children of Buono voters,” she said.
This is Sorkin-esque.
Here’s what I want to know. Who misled Christie so he was caught out in a lie/factual inaccuracy by denying all of this not so long ago? And what will happen to the assholes not already fired? How Christie responds in the next few days will be very revealing – either for the good or the bad.
Today was the day when the distinction between Buzzfeed and the New York Times became a lot blurrier; Frum and I duked it out some more on the potential impact of legal weed on poor minority populations; I pondered the morality of Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan; and the power of prayer and meditation in keeping you mentally sharp notched up another study.
See you later tonight on AC360 Later and in the morning.
(Photo: Traffic moves over the Hudson River and across the George Washington Bridge between New York City, and in Fort Lee, New Jersey on December 17, 2013. By John Moore/Getty.)