Gov. Chris Christie repeatedly apologized to the people of New Jersey on Thursday, saying he was “embarrassed and humiliated” by revelations that a top aide and appointees ordered lane closings on the George Washington Bridge to deliberately snarl traffic as an act of political vengeance.
In a somber and humbling news conference in Trenton, Mr. Christie said he was “blindsided” when he learned of a series of emails that showed intimate involvement by close associates to punish a Democratic mayor who had declined to endorse the governor for his re-election.
Mr. Christie’s comments came after weeks of steadfast denials by the governor that his administration was involved.
“I am a very sad person today,” he said.
Hmm. Yes, this was a cheap political stunt that Christie’s aides pulled. And as Scott Galupo says, it does seem that it didn’t require any deliberation at all on the part of Team Christie to pull this kind of prank. Did Christie know about it in advance — or is it the case that Christie insiders knew the boss wouldn’t mind them playing hardball with his opponents?
I don’t suppose I’m sorry to see Christie twist in the wind over this abuse of power, but mostly I’m thinking, “Um, this is New Jersey. This surprises people?” Believe me, I’m saying this as somebody from Louisiana. It wouldn’t much surprise me if it happened here. Wouldn’t make me happy. But wouldn’t make me think it was the worst thing ever. As with Rudy Giuliani’s jackassery, it’s kind of the point of Chris Christie, isn’t it? He doesn’t mind being abrasive, because he leads in a political environment where being Mr. Nice Guy gets you run over.
The problem here is that he — or his staff — were jackasses not for the greater good, but for unjustifiable reasons, i.e., simply because they held power. In cases like that, comeuppance is always deserved.