So, the minute New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attempted to throw his old high school friend and patronage Port Authority appointee David Wildstein under the bus by claiming he barely knew the official responsible for personally overseeing retaliatory bridge lane closings, didn't everybody kinda see this one coming?
The former Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Friday that the governor knew about the lane closings when they were happening, and that he had the evidence to prove it.
In a letter released by his lawyer, the official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago.
I hate to say "I told you so," but... wait... no I don't! I absolutely love saying "I told so!" And, um, I told you so:
I am confident that he will never be president if for only one reason: Christie is the governor of New Jersey, and as such he will inevitably be tainted by corruption.
— Goldy, SEP 4, 2012
Gov. Christie is not some sort of political genius. He's the governor of New Jersey, a state with a profound imbalance of power between the chief executive and the rest of state government. All New Jersey governors get shit done, because the rest of state government is so weak. There's no trick to that. And there's absolutely nothing special about Christie.
— Goldy, SEP 27, 2011
Add to that the fact that New Jersey is historically one of the most politically corrupt states in the nation, chock full of autocratic (and sometimes mob-connected) mayors and assemblymen whose Medici-like exercise of local power makes Boss Tweed look like Mike McGinn, and you end up with a state where it's easy to govern like a crime boss because that's what the rest of the political establishment wants and expects you to be.
— Goldy, MAY 17, 2011
I warned you: I've seen this bubble before. Bathed in the spotlights of two giant media markets, and ensconced in one of the most powerful and autocratic executive offices in the nation (Christie recently set a record for most vetoes ever), New Jersey governors always appear effective. But they're never really all that. And lacking a comparable check on their powers, New Jersey governors almost always overreach.
And don't believe for a minute this bridge lane closure scandal comes close to scraping the bottom of the barrel. There is a ton of shit on Christie, dating back to his days as US Attorney, much of it well known in the New Jersey press corps. This scandal just helps put it all in context—it provides a frame on which to build a narrative about abuse of power. And that is a narrative that will only draw more scrutiny to Christie's inevitable abuses.