I Am Not a Crook! Er…Bully!

It doesn’t speak well for me, I’ll admit, but there’s a German word for what I’m feeling: schadenfreude. It means taking pleasure from the misfortune of others.

I’ve disliked Chris Christie ever since he first assumed the office of Governor of New Jersey, and decided to cement his “fiscally conservative” bona fides by refusing to allow the feds to fund a much-needed tunnel under the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. His decision was all theater, and the effect was to screw up traffic engineering in the whole Tri-State area.

Evidently, screwing up traffic is his preferred modus operandi. 

Between his earlier “look at me, I’m not spending federal dollars” and his more recent “Don’t cross me or I’ll shut down your bridge” episodes, we’ve seen periodic outbursts–yelling at people who question him, crude insults lobbed at hecklers–that gave observers a glimpse into the arrogance of this big bully. If he had a coat of arms, it would say “How dare you cross me? Who do you think you are.”

In his rambling press conference, Christie did what bullies tend to do when they are confronted: throw someone else under the bus. He was shocked–shocked, I tell you–to find that his top aides had engaged in such behavior. He had been betrayed by the people he had hired and mentored. He was the victim.

Anyone who has ever been in politics–for that matter, anyone who has ever worked for someone with a huge ego–knows that subordinates act on the desires and/or orders of their bosses. If you believe that Christie didn’t (directly or tacitly) endorse this bit of petty bullying, I have a different bridge to sell you.

Like I said, schadenfreude.

The truly unanswered question arising out of this abuse of authority is: when will those who work for government figure out that office emails are public and discoverable? Didn’t Tony Bennett’s debacle teach Christie’s folks anything?