What Would the "Boss" do?
Most by now have heard of the "shit-storm" enveloping New Jersey's governor and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie.
Here's a quick synopsis relevant to the topic at hand:
Christie wants to present himself as the Republican "Everyman" beloved by Dems, too. In his bid for re-election, endorsements from democrats would prove that assertion, but alas, the democratic mayor of Fort Lee, a small borough on the Pallisades, declined to endorse.
Christie was going to win big but in typical fascist fashion, he want to crush the opposition.
Christie's deputy chief of staff and his high-level appointees at the Port Authority which controls the George Washington Bridge, the busiest in the world, concocted a scheme to hurt Fort Lee's mayor for his outlandish independence. It's called payback time.
Over the course of four days, three Fort Lee entrance ramps to the bridge were shut down causing massive traffic jams which impeded emergency response.
Enquiring reporters from the Wall Street Journal and other sources were told it was for a "traffic study."
As the story heated up, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, Christie cronies at the Authority, resigned their positions. Baroni was making about $300K a year. That's called damage control.
The New Jersey legislature intervened and last week emails surfaced proving that the governors' deputy chief of staff was behind the idea of "paying back" the Ft. Lee mayor for his lack of an endorsement by creating traffic hell.
For the past several months Christie has been all brash, bluster and bully, belittling suggestions that he or his staff would stoop to such antics.
That all changed when he recently held a 107-minute press conference where he announced the firing of his deputy and his campaign manager and expressed his deep shock and disappointment. Over what? Getting caught?
The Boss Sets the Tone
Baroni and Wildstein, the Port Authority cronies, resigned a while ago in what was obviously an attempt to shut down the enquiry. Christie said that Wildstein's departure was "planned", a statement that would now seem very dubious.
Christie said that he recently gathered his staff and asked them if anyone knew anything about the affair. They said no. Of course, at least two were lying.
Were they lying because they thought the Baroni/Wildstein departures would end the matter, because they wanted the governor to have plausible deniability, or because they hoped to save their jobs? It could be, and probably is, a mixture.
Chris Christie is a political bully and has surrounded himself with zebras of a similar stripe. They are proven liars and are seemingly content to rule through fear and intimidation.
Even as Christie attempts to distance himself from the event, he is still completely responsible for the culture which led to the intimidation, lying and cover up.
Power and popularity are heady elixirs and Christie would hardly be the first to fall prey to his exalted view of himself. It is especially shocking in his case because he is a former US prosecutor.
Leaders, by their thoughts, words, and actions, inspire those around them. They create (or destroy) the ethical culture necessary for equity and justice.
It has been pointed out that Christie is such a bully that those around him are afraid to tell him the truth, a sad and dangerous situation.
Christie may not have to pay the toll this time but let's hope he takes an exit ramp to no-where.
That's where he deserves to go.