First, I’m not a big fan of Chris Christie. He didn’t help Romney in the waning days of election 2012. He gets a little too liberal at times and puts his Republican principles aside.
Could he have acted vindictively in the GW Bridge/Fort Lee traffic problems? Maybe. It fits nicely into our idea of a New Jersey resident. The state’s citizens are not exactly known for high ethics and moral behavior. Still, it seems suicidal for Christie to do something like that and risk his career.
In politics you always have to ask cui bono? Would setting up something like this benefit anyone, say the Clintons? It’s no secret Hillary Clinton would sell her soul to be president. It’s not a big leap for me to see the hand of the Clintons in all of this. Christie has been beating her in early presidential polls. The Clintons surely learned the lesson about squashing your opponents early in the 2008 election.
So when his press conference occurred at 10 a.m., I was curious how he would handle the situation. We all have been treated to the advice of “experts” who relish these situations. They get lots of air time on cable networks to discuss their theories, but it’s always better to listen firsthand and draw your own conclusions.
Christie looked and sounded sincere. He had the look of someone who has been impacted by this, but is keeping cool to get over it. He did not exonerate himself of all blame. As governor, he said, it was his responsibility in the end. He called it “heartbreaking” and described himself as “a very loyal guy.” He entertained questions for more than an hour.
He said he would go to Fort Lee and meet with the mayor. He wanted to meet with the citizens, too, and apologize to them. Those are good steps.
Christie also stressed he would act immediately. He’s already fired a couple of people. Contrast that with the current White House occupant who is still blaming GWB for his problems. Obama hasn’t fired anybody either.
Christie said he is passionate and has heated discussions with people. “I don’t hide my emotions from people. I am not a focus group tested, blow dried candidate or governor and that has always made some people uneasy.” In being himself today he showed why people like his approach.
Christie pointed to his willingness to compromise over the past four years which buttressed his argument that he would not have acted to hurt Fort Lee residents. “I was told it was a traffic study” by a state senator who revealed this to the state legislature, he said. “There was no evidence to the contrary until yesterday.”
The governor pointed out that his campaign had pursued endorsements from lots of Democrats, and didn’t get many. Yet there doesn’t seem to be an attack on any of them. “The reason the retribution idea never even came into my head was because I didn’t even know we were pursuing his (the mayor of Fort Lee) endorsement. He said he wouldn’t have been able to pick the mayor out of a lineup.
There is something attractive about a guy facing his questioners, passionately responding to charges and showing his toughness. He was in command at the podium. He got grilled for more than an hour.
If there’s a pattern of corruption with Christie, we’ll find out. There is no shortage of Democrat politicians or liberal reporters who are looking even now to find a tidbit damaging to Christie.
It’s a long time til the 2016 election, so it’s hard to tell if this will hurt Christie’s chances. I liked his performance under stress. At least Christie took on the issue and looked strong.