Chris Christie still outside my ‘circle of trust’
New Jersey governor’s grovelling apology rings hollow
New Jersey governor Chris Christie. “The epic news conference felt like a scene out of the governor’s favourite movie, The Godfather: Christie offering his tremulous, grandiose, self-pitying public apologia while in cross-cut scenes, his henchmen were getting rid of those who threatened his operation.” Photograph: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
I have learned two things covering politics. One, first impressions are often right. John Edwards is slick. Hillary Clinton is expedient. W was in over his head. Barack Obama is too much in his head. Chris Christie can be a bully.
Politicians are surrounded by spinners who work tirelessly to shape our perceptions of the characters of their bosses. Pols know how to polish scratches in their image with sin-and-redemption news conferences, TV confessionals and self-deprecating turns at hoary Washington press banquets. As Jimmy Carter spokesman Jody Powell joked, if Hitler and Eva Braun came on stage at the Gridiron Dinner and mocked themselves in a song-and-dance routine, Washington chatterers would say, “Oh, they’re not so bad”.
After being showered with spin, you say to yourself, maybe that first impression was wrong. But often it isn’t.
Petty act of malice
Christie’s two-hour “I am not a bully” news conference was operatic about an act of malice so petty it did not merit being called “authentic Jersey corruption”, as New Jersey native Jon Stewart said, adding that it was unworthy of a state with a severed horse head on its flag.
If you’re going to wage a vendetta, at least make it a well thought out one. How can Christie & Co run a national campaign when they can’t even aim straight? How moronic to think the mayor of Fort Lee would get blamed for problems on a bridge that everyone knows is controlled by the Port Authority. If you want to be malicious, it would be so easy to put a project close to the mayor’s heart on hold for a few months or redirect 60 state snowploughs the night before a storm.
The governor grovelled to New Jersey residents after his aides so gleefully burned them (even joking about children being late for the first day of school because of the orchestrated gridlock on the George Washington Bridge).
After zapping Obama for being so clueless that he couldn’t find “the light switch of leadership” in a dark room, Christie is trying to salvage his once blazing career by claiming he was in a dark room, clueless to the bogus traffic study masking a revenge plan that top aides were executing in plain sight.
The epic news conference felt like a scene out of the governor’s favourite movie, The Godfather: Christie offering his tremulous, grandiose, self-pitying public apologia while in cross-cut scenes, his henchmen were getting rid of those who threatened his operation.
Calling his deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly “stupid” and “deceitful,” he threw her off the bridge, without talking to her himself or, as Niall O’Dowd slyly wrote in IrishCentral.com, even extending the courtesy of the old Irish wedding night admonition: “Brace yourself, Bridget.”