There’s corrupt, then there’s Christie


Swamp Rabbit was hopping mad about the persistently chilly weather. “Can’t even take my Easter swim, that pond scum out there is colder than ice cream!” He’d been hunkering down in the shack all day, nursing a bottle of Wild Turkey he found under the woodpile. For laughs I showed him an article by Ryan Lizza that tells all you want to know and more about New Jersey’s corrupt Gov. Chris Christie.

Yes, I know — calling an NJ politician corrupt is like calling an NFL player large and fast. You’re probably wondering what the news value of such a story is. But Christie is conspicuously corrupt, a hog monster of hubris, and Lizza does a good job of tracing the slimy trail he left while bullying his way to the governorship.

The rabbit turned the pages of the New Yorker and said, “No thanks, this article is even longer than that dumb-ass book you been writing. Where’s my copy of OK! magazine?”

I read some of the highlights to him, just to amuse myself: Christie works for years as a Republican lobbyist; ingratiates himself with George W. Bush’s people; is named U.S. Attorney for New Jersey; uses his office to ingratiate himself with Democratic power brokers; runs as an “anti-corruption” candidate and is elected governor; cancels construction of a hugely important NJ-Manhattan rail tunnel in order to honor an irresponsible campaign promise; installs cronies at the Port Authority of NY and NJ; tries to strong-arm certain Democratic mayors into endorsing his bid for re-election; is re-elected and gets caught up in the bridge scandal that might end his career.

Lizza uses good quotations from politicians who know Christie, including this one from former NJ Gov. James Florio, explaining how Christie’s talent for driving wedges between different blocs of working-class voters in order to win elections:

In the past, when we had difficult times, people would look for scapegoats — Jews, Catholics, Irish — and Christie provided public workers, teachers, and the civil-service system.

“Tell me, rabbit,” I said, “how does an anti-populist become so popular? How does an obvious scumbag get elected governor twice?”

“Them’s big questions,” the rabbit replied. “Why don’t you save ’em for your book, Odd Man? At least when you’re writin’ I don’t have to listen to you runnin’ your mouth.”

Footnote: The most recent bomb dropped on Christie was the report that he awarded lucrative pension management contracts to hedge funds that contributed to his campaign. Screw workers by cutting their pensions, then screw them again by turning over pension management to big-time gamblers — that’s Christie.

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