I’ve described Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey as a smart politician who deserves to be the frontrunner among Republicans who want to be president. I take it all back.
We’ve had thin-skinned, petty, vindictive, power-abusing presidents before. But we don’t want another one, and that rules Chris Christie out.
Christie’s true character was revealed by e-mails showing his administration deliberately clogged traffic from Fort Lee, New Jersey, headed towards the George Washington Bridge in order to punish Fort Lee’s mayor who refused to endorse Christie in his re-election campaign. Christie’s administration was willing to endanger public safety, to endanger children, to punish those perceived to be his enemies. One of the leaked e-mails dismissed the victims as “the children of Buono supporters,” referring to Christie’s Democratic opponent in his re-election campaign.
Now Christie claims to have had no knowledge of the conspiracy within his administration to punish the mayor of Fort Lee. Like the police chief in the movie Casablanca, he is shocked, shocked to discover what transpired.
But only last month he mocked those who questioned the motives of his administration in restricting traffic from Fort Lee onto the George Washington Bridge. Even if you hope he’s not a bold-faced liar, he could and should have uncovered all the facts before mocking those concerned citizens. At best, Governor Christie is a terrible manager. At worst, he’s a crook who used state resources to punish his perceived enemies.
Anyone familiar with politicians and politics knows that political aides demonstrate their loyalty by fulfilling the wishes of their bosses. Even if, as Christie claims, he did not give the order for the traffic restriction in Fort Lee, all his close aides knew his wishes for retribution against those on his list of political enemies. He has long had a reputation for petty vindictiveness, withdrawing invitations and police protection from, and stalling the initiatives of anyone demonstrating independence from the Christie line.
Chris Christie and his administration have deliberately cultivated the image of a tough guy and a bully, releasing videos of his insults, including calling an ex-Navy SEAL an “idiot” for asking a question Christie didn’t like.
New Jersey is stuck with Chris Christie for four more years. The rest of us need to make sure he never becomes president, especially those of us now on his enemies list.