Why do I believe Chris Christie?
Inside information, perhaps? The straight scoop handed to me by “those in the know” inside the Christie camp, or friends, spouses or lovers thereof? Not at all. Something better. People may lie, for a multitude of reasons. I believe Gov. Christie is telling us the truth because of two trade secrets, one from politics and the other from crime.
George Bernard Shaw once said all professions are a conspiracy against the laity. What professions don’t have trade secrets?
I personally know men permanently estranged from their grocery-store fathers because as young boys they gagged when taught the “trade secret” of increasing the price by skilled manipulation of the grocer’s thumb on the scale.
We’ve all wondered how people – almost always men – who seem to have a full-nelson on life itself – money, power, fame, high political office en route to even higher – can blow it all for a moment of illicit pleasure. “How could they be so stupid?” we ask as the guilty verdict of child-molestation is followed by resignation and disgrace. And he knew he was almost guaranteed to get caught.
TRADE SECRET! All principles of self-preservation disappear when the temptation is sexual. In other words, most wrong-doers choose to do wrong. Sex offenders are virtually forced to do wrong.
There’s no known force, however, that compels holders of high political office to sabotage bridge traffic in order to teach a lesson to local mayors who don’t support them. Sure, we’ve heard of the mind-changing powers of high political office, but the typical Christie stories all stop with “toughness,” not politically suicidal mania.
The second trade secret is more interesting. Candidates are liable to be ordered to “leave the room” at campaign headquarters in the middle of the meeting! Why? The staff has a plan to damage the opponent. The candidate must, therefore, “preserve deniability.” While the bubble-machine of dirty tricks bubbles on, the candidate himself must be kept in position to stand behind the podium, if the grenade explodes in his campaign’s face, and stare right back at the TV cameras and honestly swear “I knew nothing of this foul scheme, and I’ve already fired two campaign workers, going on a dozen!”
Being a staffer of a successful politician, especially one who’s actually being spoken of as presidential, is a highly attractive, prestigious job. Sure, ambitious people would like to be a Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George Bush, etc. But more realistic ambitious people would also like to be another David Axelrod, James Baker and (How’s your memory?) Harry Hopkins. One way to get there is to confect, organize and implement schemes that will, as one random example, teach recalcitrant mayors and others a lesson. OK, you didn’t go to Yalta and divide Europe. But at least you taught the mayor of Fort Lee a lesson. And, the candidate’s fingerprints are undetectable! “Hey,” the candidate theoretically thinks, “I didn’t think of it. I didn’t order it. I sure-as-hell can’t brag about it or admit any connection to it. But where I’m headed calls for a good staff, and this young man bears watching!”
Don’t be that breathless at the actions and antics of Christie’s cohort David Wildstein, who took the Fifth Amendment half-a-hundred times at the New York/New Jersey Port Authority hearing, or young Bridget Ann Kelly, who suggested via email that “Maybe it’s time for some traffic problems”! Aren’t we all< mice trying to become rats through bodybuilding? Some of us pride ourselves on superior ethical compasses.
If this is the way “Bridgegate” broke, does that make Chris Christie an angel? Far from it, but at least it keeps him several umbilicals from being Satan’s Siamese twin. Yes, he “ordained a political philosophy” which his younger cohorts attempted to implement as a career ladder for upward climbs.
I never said Gov. Christie was kissed by tongues of flame that rendered him blameless. I only said I’m prepared to believe he knew nothing specifically of the plot to blunt traffic across the George Washington Bridge to a standstill and, therefore, has not lied to us from the podium.
The long-gone-but-never-forgotten Damon Runyon once said, “The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong. But that’s the way you bet.”
Trade secrets help so much. The rich, impatient Northerner, motoring through South Carolina, almost exploded with rage when his expensive new sports car began sputtering and had to be towed to a garage. The owner had visions of living in local motel for a month while crucial parts were shipped in from Europe. The Country-and-Southern mechanic lifted the hood, smacked the side of the engine with a hammer, and then everything purred.
“This is wonderful,” said the traveler. “How much do I owe you?”
“That’ll be $500,” said the mechanic.
“Now, wait just a minute,” said the traveler. “You’re a genius, but come on now, $500 for smacking the side of the engine?”
“Oh, no,” said the mechanic. “Just one dollar for that.
“The $499 is for knowing where to smack.”
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