01/13/2014 09:58 am ET Updated Mar 15, 2014

Gov. Chris Christie, Unabridged and Unpresidential

Not too long ago, the right was up in arms over a scandal at the IRS. As they saw it, that 'scandal' exposed a litany of truths they had long believed about President Barack Obama's administration. It proved they would use the power of the office to punish the opposition. It proved they were arrogant. It proved they were Chicago-style thugs. It proved that they were liars. And, to some, it proved Barack Obama was unfit to be president.

If conservatives find this type of behavior disconcerting, they might want to take a closer look at the recent scandal surrounding the leading candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination for president, Chris Christie.

Apparently some of the governor's top officials worked with a few close political allies at the Port Authority to shut down a number of access lanes for the George Washington Bridge as political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who declined to support his reelection bid in 2013. While the port authority employees involved resigned weeks ago, Christie and his staff continued to proclaim their innocence up until a few days ago, when emails were released showing the involvement of some Christie staffers.

Using political power to punish the opposition - Check.

Arrogantly believing these indiscretions would never see the light of day - Check.

Acting like thugs - Check.

Lying - Check.

Many believed President Barack Obama had ordered the additional scrutiny delivered by the IRS and found the president's denials completely unbelievable. There were more than a few articles which claimed the president was either lying or incompetent. Obviously, the same logic applies for Chris Christie. Are we supposed to believe he was completely unaware of the actions of his deputy chief of staff? Assuming he is not lying about his involvement, there are litany of other questions that suggest incompetence on Christie's part.

This incident occurred more than a month ago, yet Chris Christie took no action until emails were released proving the involvement of his staff. Was he lying to protect his deputy chief of staff or was he so oblivious as to the actions of the person he hired as one of his top officials? Having that little control over his employees certainly wouldn't suggest Chris Christie is ready to be the leader of the free world.

While many will probably attempt to dismiss this scandal as the actions of one rogue or misguided staffer, Erick Erickson of wrote on Fox News that this sort of brazen political activity was not an anomaly for the Christie administration. In fact it could be considered the hallmark of his governing style.

The disappointing reality is that people in power do lots of unscrupulous things. Be it manipulating the mortgage market to increase profits or using political power to crush critics and stay in power.

But the people deserve better.

Perhaps more unfortunate in this is that most of those who thought the IRS scandal proved Barack Obama was unfit to be president will find a way to dismiss the bridge scandal as an aberration, while others will undoubtedly suggest that not only is this a non story but that it actually proves just how presidential Chris Christie is.

Previously published in the Detroit News.