SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- On Thursday, after a day of silence and strategizing in the wake of revelations that top aides in his administration orchestrated the politically motivated sabotage of the George Washington Bridge in September, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared before the press to issue a brief public apology followed by two hours of self-indulgent, self-pitying and, at times, passive-aggressive assurances that he was "a very sad person today." Emails published by the Bergen Record on Wednesday presented indisputable evidence that Christie's top staffers and allies plotted to create four days of lane closures on the bustling connector between New Jersey and New York. Christie fired those responsible and denied any involvement in the incident, but his hefty smorgasbord of inconsistent and dubious statements served to further implicate him as another big fat liar in the scandal, particularly when he told reporters he first heard of the emails while he was "working out."
Christie Biggest Loser, Biggest Victim, Heaviest Heart in Scandal
The emails clearly illustrate that Christie's deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, conspired with two Port Authority officials, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, to reduce traffic on the George Washington Bridge to one lane between September 9 and September 13, presumably as retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who refused to endorse Christie for the 2013 gubernatorial campaign. Christie denied any involvement in or knowledge of the events, believing the story his group concocted about a traffic study taking place. For most people who commute to New York, being trapped in New Jersey is difficult to perceive as anything other than vindictive, willful retribution.
Highlights of the emails include Kelly writing Wildstein: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." His reply? "Got it."
One text message sent to Wildstein on the day of the lane closures referenced mass school bus delays. The closures occurred during the first day of the new school year for many students. The message, sent from an unknown individual, read: "Is it wrong that I'm smiling?"
"No," Wildstein responded.
"I feel badly about the kids. I guess," the person texted back.
Wildstein assured the other party that the students affected were "children of Buono voters," citing Barbara Buono, the Democratic challenger to Christie who lost the election last November.
According to Christie, however, of all the people hurt by the crippling traffic and misled by government officials, he was the biggest victim. (Based on national health standards and the average body mass index of the population, analysts have confirmed that Christie may indeed have been one of the biggest).
Most of Christie's speech dealt with his deeply private sadness, feelings of betrayal and his heartbreak that staff he trusted would deceive him so. Even when reporters brought up the death of a 91-year-old woman who died of cardiac arrest because paramedics trapped in the Fort Lee gridlock arrived too late, the governor missed the opportunity to express his sympathies. He merely described the situation as "awful to hear" and double-downed coldly with: "I've also heard conflicting reports about the cause of death." Perhaps she too had been a Buono voter.
So once again, Christie's distant hopes for a presidential run have been thwarted -- this time, quite possibly forever. Insiders say Christie had been trying to shed enough weight to squeeze into William Howard Taft's fabled presidential tub in the White House.
"I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team," Christie said. "The emotion I've been displaying in private is sad. I'm a very sad person today. I know, without ever having met President Reagan, that he must have felt deeply in his heart that he was called to that moment, to lead our country. But I may never know that moment, and what I feel in my heart right now is primarily suffocating plaque and too much cholesterol. I can't run a lap around my sofa, but I could've run this country."
What Christie can also run, political experts say, is his "big, fat mouth. And that's important at this stage in the crisis."
"I am who I am, but I am not a bully," Christie concluded. To prove his point, he derided Bridget Kelly as "stupid" after telling reporters he'd fired her without even talking to her about the situation.
Hefty Portion of Humble Pie or a Trough of Untruths?
The real problem with Gov. Christie's self-pitying, me-me-me non-apology is that, to many observers, it was a tasteless recipe composed of equal parts Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome and Pseudologia Fantastica, otherwise known as Mythomania or Compulsive Lying Disorder.
Of David Wildstein, Christie's high school friend and appointee to the Port Authority, he said: "I was the class president and an athlete, I don't know what David was doing." Athlete? Observers and those who've dwelt in the ample shadow cast by the governor found the assertion difficult to believe.
Despite photos of Christie and Mark Sokolich together, the governor also claimed he'd never met Fort Lee's mayor. To be fair, analysts noted that in the photos, Sokolich is essentially crowded out by Christie and difficult to see.
Another inconsistency that incredulous journalists have drawn attention to arose when Christie told the press he'd lost two nights of sleep over the discovery of the emails. But the emails were made public on Wednesday, the very day Christie stated he'd heard about them -- directly after finishing his workout. This latter claim, about working out, was to many the biggest lie in the bunch. One Associated Press reporter witnessed a Christie public relations officer throwing her hands in the air and walking away after the remark.
Though Christie's weight has been mentioned countless times in the media, political strategists say it remains a legitimate issue. "Even worse," one aide said, "it returns focus to the need for accessible health care. That's a Republican deal killer right now in the Obamacare wars."
"Another problem for Christie is that he doesn’t have the deep pockets or bloated coffers that other GOP darlings enjoy," explained progressive pundit Ferrel Michaels. "I expect he'll have more trouble overcoming this faux pas than someone like Tom DeLay. Christie's pockets at this point are a little too tight to provide the same level of depth, and his bloat has taken shape in other areas. It's going to be an uphill battle, and of all of the people currently on the political stage, Chris Christie seems the most likely to give out a quarter way up that hill. Or any hill, for that matter."
2014. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.