New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie should fire the PR advisors who let him release his bogus Bridgegate report. The report may exonerate Christie from knowledge of the Bridgegate scandal, but the only ones taking it seriously are the Christie true believers.
No Republican can hope to win a national election or a statewide election in New Jersey without independent voters and the Christie appointed review of the Bridgegate incident will convince few independents that Christie didn’t have knowledge. Moreover, the very release of the document damages the Christie rehabilitation campaign.
Let’s first look at the contents. Two topics discussed in the report, prepared by Christie’s favorite law firm, concern independents and main stream media such as the editorial board of the New York Times: one is a disputation regarding the facts and the other a scurrilous interpretation of those facts.
The disputation is the he-said-she-said between Christie and former best bud David Wildstein. Wildstein said he told the governor they had closed Fort Lee lanes to the George Washington Bridge on September 11, 2013, midway through the four-day parking lot that the closure caused. Christie denies it, so the report concludes that there is not enough evidence to point the finger. But like every he-said-she-said, most people believe that there is always a little bit of truth to both sides of the story. And even a little bit of truth on Wildstein’s part sinks the Good Ship Christie. What were the PR people thinking? Certainly not about how people tend to react to these he said-she said accusations.
The truly amazing aspect to the Wildstein revelation and Christie denial is that if Christie had not released the report, he would have postponed or prevented the idea that Christie really knew from taking seed in voters’ minds.
The other killer for Christie in the report is the psychological analysis it does on the intentions and internal workings of Christie’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridgett Anne Kelly. Kelly takes the fall as the sole instigator of the lane closures, a rogue employee going against the rules. The report postulates that she was under a lot of emotional pressure because she had recently broken up with her lover and concludes that the inner turmoil made Kelly do it. I don’t think I’m the first to roll my eyes and wonder sarcastically if she was also having her period that day. What a load of absolute baloney. When what’s left of the Christie brain trust thought of the ham-handed idea of blaming it all on a scorned woman, they must have been punch drunk from a brew of political melodramas and laddie magazines.
Christie blaming it all on the broken heart of a weak women cum rogue employee leaves many wondering why the Republicans can never seem to strike the right note when it comes to women. It’s as if they have absolutely no clue about what makes women click or what they want. A clue to Chris: it’s not to be patronized by assuming that every mistake professional women make stems from their hormones or emotional lives.
This idle speculation over causation not only offends most women and many men, it calls into question the conclusions of the report. Anything that stinks that bad must be rotten.
With the report in hand, Christie and his PR hired guns should not have released it. While it is true that the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannity’s of the world will use it to prove that the issue is closed or to say that it’s the only believable report we will get, most people are sniggering that it was an inside snow job.
Christie should have tossed the report back to his people and told them that they had to take out all mention of psychological motive and just present facts. When the report was appropriately sanitized, Christie should have sat on it…and sat on it. He should have released it the very day of the report from the New Jersey legislature or the U.S. District Attorney. By releasing the report on a separate day, Christies created another news cycle about the scandal. A similar situation recently occurred when the Paterno family released a report for which they paid good money that repudiated the previous report by a commission headed by a former Director of the FBI. The Paterno report changed no one’s mind and had the negative outcome of creating one more news cycle for the sad story of the sainted football coach who apparently turned his back on child abuse.
If, instead of creating this additional round of bad news, Christie had released his version of Bridgegate the very same day that another major report was released, the story would be about dueling reports and not a “he-said-she-said” in which one side or 50% of the witnesses is accusing the governor of early knowledge.
A complete botch by Christie’s PR machine. It’s his report, and yet the Christie whitewash may have nuked the governor’s chances for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. It’s kind of a Fat Boy for the frat boy.