Perhaps it is no big surprise to discover that governor Chris Christie is a vindictive, petty egomaniac contemptuous of the people he serves. But it’s hard to avoid that conclusion when you’ve pored over the new tranche of emails that show how he and his staff made life miserable for a large number of New Jerseyans – and, yes, trapped unnecessarily in traffic is misery, even when you have the gorgeous scenery of the George Washington Bridge to absorb. The point was punishment of a mayor who didn’t endorse the governor, whose re-election was cruising for a landslide victory in any case.
The small details of the email exchanges between Christie staffers are a little insight into the mindset of the men and women Christie surrounds himself with. It’s not a pretty picture. The few that leapt out at me:
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures. Wildstein, the official who ordered the closures and who resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: “Got it.”
What strikes me about this is the Soprano-style archness of it all, the sense of total impunity in vindictiveness, as if this is the way politics is always played in Christie-land. When the traffic jams orchestrated by Christie’s staff snarled up even school buses, we get this:
“I feel badly about the kids,” the person replied to Wildstein. “I guess.” “They are the children of Buono voters,” Wildstein wrote, making a reference to Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, who lost to Christie in a landslide in November.
“I guess.” Fuck the kids – let’s get even, when we have no real need to. Christie has more than one problem here. He has been revealed as a deeply petty man, willing to sacrifice the public good to pursue narrow political vendettas – not exactly a qualification for a president. But he has also repeatedly denied all of this. Is he a bully? Or a liar? Or both?
(Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)