I heard the commentaries after Governor Christie held his marathon press conference on Thursday. George Will, who was on the Special Report All Star Panel that evening, praised him for doing everything right. “He came out and used honest, thumping words, ‘sad, embarrassed, humiliated, heartbroken.'” How superficial. Is this how we judge our leaders, on whether or not they know the playbook, the motions to go through, rather than on their fundamental character?
I’ve heard varied reactions from conservatives to this scandal. Rush Limbaugh appeared to take it quite seriously. Mark Levin, while he strongly dislikes Christie’s policies and seriously questions his character, has taken the position that the scandal is way overblown.
To me, the scandal reveals that Christie is unfit to govern, something I have suspected for quite some time.
I don’t know, and I don’t know if we will ever know, that Christie knew about these specific actions of his staff. Knowing how the management of a complex operation like state government operates, I feel it is likely that he never personally ordered this retribution against Fort Lee, to close lanes of traffic on the George Washington Bridge. But he had to know the character of his aides and he is the one who set the culture of his administration.
I have many years of experience as an employer. I remember back in 2012 that I had to hire a new business manager. She had cultivated a reputation of being a loyal employee, honest, and kind. She appeared that way in her interviews and references validated that assessment. In the first couple of days on the job, I overheard her telling a common “little white lie” to a client. They had called for me, I was in my office but was busy and told her to say I wasn’t available. Instead, she told the client that I was out of the office. I promptly corrected her and told her that in my company, we didn’t lie to clients. But then I heard back from another employee that she had said something to the effect that she rather enjoyed firing people, and then after that I learned of a feigned illness. She was gone in two weeks. She was a total mismatch for the culture of my business.
There are more examples I could cite. If I learn that a key employee is untrustworthy, they will be gone. So I find it very difficult to swallow the idea that Christie had long-trusted aides who were capable of this type of petty retribution and he had no clue. I think, rather, that he does the same type of thing. After he was passed over to be Romney’s running mate because of questions they had about skeletons in Christie’s closet, I don’t think it was an accident that in his convention keynote speech he barely even mentioned Romney. And what about his gratuitous praise of Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy just before the 2012 election. Romney had been gaining in the polls up until that point. No I believe that the culture of his administration is a reflection of his own personality, just as Nixon’s was and Obama’s is.
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