The more I think about the culture that Christie created in
Newark Trenton among his top staffers the more disturbed I am. Maybe that’s why Henry Kissinger loves Christie so: he reminds him of Nixon. Still, this is the Dish, so a reader sticks up for the governor:
Calling New Jersey politics “Soprano-style” is like explaining what a word means by using it in the definition. There are books written about this kind of corruption (hell, one of them is even called The Soprano State) and this kind of action is par for the course. As a lifelong New Jersey resident, the only difference is that the person involved in this happens to be a major national political figure with the worst case of presidential aspirations. Most of the previous New Jersey political shenanigans end up being a one-off punchline in a late-show monologue or footnotes in political history books.
You ask: “Is he a bully? Or a liar? Or both?“ He’s an asshole. More importantly for the people who want to get anything done in New Jersey, he’s our asshole. I may not like all of his politics and antics as a solid Democrat, but I respect that he gets things done and doesn’t think bipartisanship is a dirty word – as opposed to our soundbite driven, do-nothing Congress. In this age of swinging-dicks politics, it pays to be represented by someone who is eager to pulls theirs out.
I’m not going near that metaphor for obvious reasons. For the most part, though, readers are piling on Christie:
Back during the Hurricane Sandy aftermath, there was the whole debate over whether Congress was moving slowly on funds because the area affected was prone to corruption. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma said, “Everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy.”
Here is Christie responding to the vote delay (not Inhofe directly): “I think, unfortunately, folks are putting politics ahead of their responsibilities,” he said. “It’s absolutely disgraceful. … It’s why the American people hate Congress.”
So now we have Bridgegate, which to those of us out west seems much more corrupt than it may actually be because mobility is much more a part of our lifestyle. If you drive 20 miles to the grocery store, or 50 to a high-school football game, a guy who can get away with closing a highway and city seems as corrupt as Karzai or Putin. Good luck selling that in Iowa.
I loved the comment from Christie’s staffer that all those kids on the buses were kids of Buono voters. I guess that implies that only Democrats send their kids to public schools? Wow.
Another sees a neglected story within the story:
The excerpts you highlight from the Christie administration are, indeed, disturbing. Something else I found outrageously offensive: the repeated references to Fort Lee Mayor Lee Sokolich’s ethnic background, including calling him “the little Serbian.” (Sokolich is Croatian, as it turns out, but it’s the intent I’m getting at, not people’s inability to distinguish between two distinct South Slavic peoples.)
If government officials referred to, say, a Jewish politician as “the little Jew” or incorporated his or her religious/ethnic/cultural identity into demeaning and dismissive comments in other ways, I’m guessing that would be a huge deal and would draw significant attention. Shouldn’t that be the case here as well?
I think anti-semitism has a more disturbing history and connotations than anti-Serbianism, but we’ll see.
(Photo: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is interviewed by Gerard Baker (out of frame), Editor-in-Chief, Dow, Jones & Company, and Managing Editor, The Wall Street Journal, at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council, November 18, 2013 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. By Paul J Richards/Getty.)