Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Cristie Campaign Blimp Hits Headwinds

Has Chris Christie's petty vindictiveness caught up with him? Emails published by leading media today point directly to involvement of close aides in the lane closures and resulting traffic jams.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” she emailed David Wildstein, Mr. Christie’s close friend from high school, and one of his appointees at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge. Mr. Christie and some officials at Port Authority have said the closings were done as part of a traffic study, but they caused havoc for days, backing up traffic for hours.

This sort of sabotage is almost certainly criminal. At the very least Christie was clueless about criminal activity of his closest aides, designed to punish his political opponents. It now seems more likely that he was the one pulling the trigger - a fact that even loyal aides might recall when faced with lengthy jail stays.

Christie is hardly the biggest jerk in the Republican Party, but he is one of the most popular jerks. More:

The emails indicate that Mr. Christie’s staff and his associates at the Port Authority were closely aware of the political context. Mr. Christie, a Republican, was leaning on local Democratic officials to endorse his re-election bid so that he could then seek his party’s presidential nomination by arguing that he was the candidate who could attract bipartisan support in a blue state.

Mr. Christie won re-election in November by 22 points, and instantly became a leading candidate for his party’s presidential nomination by winning across many demographic groups. His campaign boasted that he had been endorsed by more than 50 local Democratic officials.

But the documents released Wednesday underscore what Republicans as well as Democrats in New Jersey have long said about the governor: that he is a bully who wields fear and favor to get what he wants, and lashes out at even the smallest perceived slights.

UPDATE: Christie throws staff under bus, backs it over them. He had better hope that they don't hold a grudge.