It’s an old political…and for that matter, Mafia tactic. The person at the top makes sure that they never have anything in writing or are witnessed giving the order to “hit” an adversary. In politics, the pleasant technical term for being deceitful like this is “plausible deniability” (the less technical terms include “Cheney” and “sneaky bastard”).
In other words, it’s okay and unavoidable that people may suspect you’re responsible for an action you clearly look responsible for sanctioning but as long as you haven’t left concrete proof, you can deny your ass off and play betrayed victim as you throw your loyal team to the wolves. Or as Chris Christie supporters call it, “showing leadership and character”.
There are those who exclaim “Innocent until proven guilty!!!” whenever someone exercises simple deductive reasoning to arrive at the conclusion that someone who looks to have probably approved a “hit” did so. However, the proper forum for that sensibility is a court of law. As citizens, we’re allowed to use our ability to reason to come to sensible opinions. In the real world, we can use the “If it quacks like a duck” rule.
Of course Christie knew about all of this, it is just unbelievable that the governor’s closest operatives would be working together to arrange the same kind of bullying Christie is so well known for, in a secret operation that Christie had no involvement in. We are supposed to believe that all of Christie’s closest aides were instead part of a conspiracy that went rogue and took over the Governorship while poor Chris Christie was distracted cutting Sizzler coupons each day?
We don’t need a smoking gun to have an opinion that it is far more likely that Christie did the “Jersey Thing” (“You know that thing with that guy, take care of it.”) than it is that Christie is regarded as a clueless, helpless idiot by his closest, most trusted advisers. It doesn’t need to be proven that Christie approved of this because the alternative is beyond rationality.
It is this kind of game that is both an insult to the people and a license to act like human garbage in elected office. In the old days, just the appearance of impropriety could be enough to get a politician to step down. Now, you can be a Republican House member who’s arrested and convicted for cocaine possession and use and refuse to resign.
The people have the right to expect that those they elect are held to a higher standard than criminal prosecutions of Mafia bosses (which may be why Christie has pulled his nomination of Whitey Bulger to be Attorney General). Not that we need to play his lame game of “Prove I’m Involved!” but isn’t it sufficient to disqualify him from continuing as Governor, that his judgement was reflected in the hiring of these people who have, according to him, staged a coup and used the power of the Governor’s office in a criminal way? These are his people. He thought they were great. He filled up the state government with them and others just like them. Isn’t not having a smoking gun on him for Bridgegate irrelevant when it comes to him not being fit for office (double entendre intended)?
And how could such a person even be considered to fill the nation’s top cabinet, diplomatic and judicial positions as President?
Christie may have technically protected himself just as fictional New Jersey mafia boss, Tony Soprano often did when it came to ordering a “hit” but Christie was still the boss of that criminal mob which was acting to benefit him and harm his “enemies”. There has to be a price to be paid for that alone.
And now comes this new federal probe over Superstorm Sandy aid because Christie gave the contract to a company asking almost double of the other bidder, because it feathered his re-election nest by promoting him on screen just before the election.
How can Christie justify giving nearly $5 million to the firm he did…that offered the ads as a stealth re-election campaign…while turning down another firm that would have only spent $2.5 million on a similar campaign…that did not act as a stealth campaign ad for Christie? Easy, by saying what he did was approved by the Obama Admin…just because they approved the general plan. Is anyone buying this from Christie outside of the Fox News chuckleheads?
Christie has been so confident that he could just schmooze his way out of taking responsibility for his nasty actions because it’s worked so well with NJ residents (don’t forget he wasted millions of New Jersey taxpayer money by forcing there to be a special election for Senator just 20 days before the regular election…and yet NJ residents didn’t seem to care about that corrupt waste of their money used to promote Christie for Governor and President). But there is only so far his skill for schmooze can take him and it looks like this is it.
Even if he succeeds in hiding from some behind the lack of a smoking gun in Bridgegate (not so sure he can hide from the Sandy charges), corruption grows in and around Christie and there is no escaping that. The “funny bully” Christie that was is gone, the best he can be now is the corrupt governor who cleverly avoided having to take the rap for how corrupt he is…in this one case at least.
And that doesn’t make for the best bumper sticker for a Presidential candidate.