Politics Magazine


Posted on the 13 January 2014 by Erictheblue


I know that millions of Eric the Blue devotees depend upon me to provide the final, definitive word on the balls of fire accumulating flame as they roll through the blogosphere, so I am tardily here today to weigh in on Bridgegate and the "bravura" performance of Governor Chris Christie at his recent presser.  A few observations:

1. It's not a good sign for the big fella that he was reduced to insisting, "I am not a bully."  When politicians say "I am not an X"--as in "I am not a racist" or "I am not a crook" and definitely including "I am not a bully"--it is ALWAYS a tribute to the strength of the evidence indicating that they are in fact an X.  Why should anyone be persuaded that their self-serving assurances to the contrary trump the evidence?

2. To date, the one concrete, remedial action undertaken by the Governor has been to fire a woman. It's odd the way that saying "I take responsibility" is accepted as a substitute for taking responsibility. 

3. His claim that he didn't know about any of this till the day before the presser, if true, exhibits a startling deficiency of curiosity.

4. Some of the things Christie said are really quite weird.  For example, concerning David Wildstein, the Port Authority official responsible for pressing the levers that caused the traffic jam who also happens to be the Governor's high-school classmate:

Let me just clear something up, O.K., about my childhood friend David Wildstein. It is true that I met David in 1977, in high school. He’s a year older than me. David and I were not friends in high school. We were not even acquaintances in high school…. We didn't travel in the same circles in high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don’t know what David was doing during that period of time…. So we went twenty-three years without seeing each other, and in the years we did see each other, we passed in the hallways. So I want to clear that up. It doesn’t make a difference, except that I think some of the stories that’ve been written implied, like, an emotional relationship and closeness between me and David that doesn’t exist. I know David and, you know, I knew that Bill Baroni wanted to hire David to come to the Port Authority, and I gave my permission for him to do it, but that was Bill’s hire. He asked for permission, I gave my permission for him to hire David. But let’s be clear about the relationship, O.K.?

What is the point of this?  That he was a dick in high school, therefore it's impossible that he should still be one now?

5. I remember the last Election Day.  Christie, with lots of votes from women and nonwhites, rolled to an easy victory in New Jersey, a blue state.  When he strutted onto the stage that evening to claim victory, he easily qualified as The Next Big Thing in Republican circles. Whom the gods would destroy they first permit to be a smashing success. 

6. You never know what's going to happen, but I have always doubted that Christie could be the Republican nominee for president.  It's mainly arithmetic.  The field of Republican candidates is generally crowded with lunatics, the better to appeal to the lunatics who make up the majority of the electorate in Republican primaries.  If four-fifths of the electorate is nuts, and nine-tenths of the candidates are similarly afflicted, then a comparatively sane and able person, which I think describes Christie, can do well: there are too many options for the crazies, too few for the sane.  But as the season progresses, the field narrows, the sane man who survives becomes first one-eighth and then one-sixth and one-fourth of the field, while the electorate remains four-fifths nuts.  It's hard to see how this could work out for Christie, and it's hard to see how Bridgegate advances his cause.

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