"I'm a sad guy."
"What did I do wrong to have people think they could lie to me?"
With that Chris Christie -- who prefers everyone to genuflect and call him THE GOVERNOR -- stood alone on a podium and did something that was, to observers, stunning and incredulous. He acted almost like a normal politician.
He answered questions without his trademark snarl. He answered repeated queries without telling reporters to shut up, changing the subject, or resorting to crude name calling. For once, he wasn't a hulking schoolyard bully. And he admitted that he had been wrong and his callous disregard for mounting evidence, his disdain for legitimate inquiries, and his derisive, mocking comments had not been warranted.
But what was most stunning about The Governor's prayerful pity party was that he spent two hours expressing incredulity and remorse because his staff and political henchmen and women lied to him. He was not chagrined that they lied to the people of New Jersey. He was not chagrined that they played a mean-spirited, dangerous political prank on hundreds of thousands of people using the George Washington Bridge or living and working in Fort Lee. He was not chagrined that they deliberately blocked firemen, police, and ambulances from serving people in need in Fort Lee. He was not chagrined that they lied about possibly contributing to the death of a 91-year-old woman who did not get emergency medical attention as soon as possible.
No, that was not the priority. The press conference was all about Chris Christie, The Governor. What mattered first and last with The Governor was that his chosen operatives and representatives, who acted and bullied in his name had, apparently, misled him.
The question he should have asked was this:
"What did I do wrong to have people think they could play with the lives of the citizens of New Jersey?"
If he had, just once, indicated that that was his primary concern, then maybe it would be possible to accept his oft-repeated apology to the people of New Jersey. The atmosphere which Christie created, and which his operatives thrived in, was a mean-spirited, spiteful, above-the-law, us vs. them, winner take all political hothouse in which the only thing that truly mattered was continually elevating the national stature of Chris Christie.
What was evident as one watched Christie's televised tour de farce, was a desperate despot throwing one close friend after another overboard to keep his rickety political lifeboat afloat. There was his "stupid" and "deceitful" deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly. Really? If she was that bad, how had she continued amassing ever higher titles with increasing amounts of authority as she sat a couple of feet from him on a daily basis?
And Bill Stepien, who ran his successful reelection campaign and who he named earlier this week to head the state Republican Party and serve as his point man at the National Republican Governors' Conference, an organization intended to be Christie's springboard to national office. Stepien was suddenly "no longer trustworthy" according to the governor. Really?
Christie would have us believe that in the space of five years, two people who were his closest confidants, who helped twice put him in the governor's office, and created the image and record that is enabling him to seriously consider running for president of the United States, morphed into petty political tricksters without his knowing about it.
Continue reading Taking No Prisoners here.