The Chris Christie train wreck continues.
According to the New York Times, former Christie functionary David Wildstein’s lawyer has stated in a letter that “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publically in a two hour press conference.”
You may recall that the governor denied having any knowledge of the lane closures until after they were opened saying: “I had no knowledge of this…of the planning, the execution or anything about it…and that I first found out about it after it was over…and even then what I was told was that it was a traffic study.”
The governor’s office pushed back hard against Wildstein’s accusations. In an email titled “5 things You Should Known About The Bombshell That Is Not A Bombshell” the Christie administration proved once again that it is not ready for the prime time.
First they attacked the Times for its “sloppy reporting.”
Then they attacked Wildstein’s character by citing examples of questionable behavior from his days in HIGH SCHOOL: “He was publically accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior.” The email concludes that “David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein.”
Rule #1 in politics…”say little…for anything you say can and will be used against you.”
Rule #2…Greener’s Law as quoted by Mark Twain…”Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.”
“Say little!” Christie likes to hear himself talk. And he really likes to hear himself talk about himself. (See Keynote Speech/2012 Republican National Convention.) We knew weeks ago that Christie was in trouble when he stood before the press for the better part of two hours fielding questions about the GWB lane closures. He was so emphatic and specific in his denials of ANY involvement that the slightest misstatement of fact would lead to his downfall. Christie was so busy basking in righteous indignation that, according to Wildstein, he played loose with the facts.
Say little! During that press conference Christie publically threw three of his most trusted aides under the bus…Wildstein, former campaign manager Bill Stepien, and former deputy chief of staff Bridgett Anne Kelly. Not only did he fire them, he went out of his way to belittle them in front of a national audience. Wildstein is now publically seeking his own brand of political retribution. We have yet to hear from Kelly or Stepien. Our guess is that when we do it won’t be in full throated defense of the governor.
“Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” Shooting the messenger never works. Not only is it a sign of weakness it indicates that there is truth in the story. Christie is never going to win a war of words with the New York Times.
And finally…what is the deal with bringing up stuff Wildstein did in high school? Who among us wants to be held accountable today for our behavior as a 16 year old? Seriously? When Wildstein originally resigned Christie praised his tenure with the port authority. Suddenly the Christie administration is characterizing Wildstein as a man whose questionable character dates all the way back to his days in high school? If Wildstein has always been such a schmuck then why did the governor create a high level job for him at the port authority?
We have no idea if Christie orchestrated the GWB lane closures, lied to cover up the incident or in fact knew nothing about it. Time will tell.
We do however know this with great certainty. We know that he has surrounded himself with a gaggle of amateurs that will be crushed by the day to day scrutiny of a national election campaign. These recent events speak to Christie’s management skills in a very unflattering way. If you don’t have the discipline to whether this storm as governor then how are you going to withstand the pressure of a national campaign…or the White House? Neither Christie nor his staff has demonstrated that they are ready for the pressures of the national spotlight.
The national press has been wondering what affect these recent events will have on Christie’s presidential aspirations. From our prospective those aspirations are toast.
The more appropriate question is will Christie finish out his term as governor.