Philadelphia Daily News
To paraphrase Shakespeare, I come to disinter Christie, not to praise him.
New Jersey's gubernatorial titan is 5 ½ feet under at the moment, and needs a little help digging himself out. I am an unlikely person to do it, however. Some of his recent acts have led me to question his devotion to the conservative cause. A few were merely cosmetic, as when he engaged in an NC-17 rated embrace with President Obama on the romantic windswept sands of the Jersey coast. My heart said, "Get a room," while my mind said, "It's OK, he's in crisis mode."
Other things were a bit more troubling, such as his narcissistic keynote address at the Republican National Convention. We really didn't need to hear about his tough-minded Italian matriarch, and would have done better with a little more Mitt and a little less Mama.
But the thing that really angered me was Christie's cave to the LGBT community when he refused to take an appeal from the court decision making same-sex cake toppers de rigueur in the Garden State. Christie acted like a politician instead of the pit-bull federal prosecutor who believed in his mission. He moved perilously close to the edge of the pedestal I'd put him on with that one.
And then came "Bridgegate," and payback from the liberals (and some conservatives) whom Christie had alienated with his bluster and braggadocio. You do not annoy blue staters with your red-state style, you do not charm the national media with your outsized personality, you do not scream at schoolteachers or other union darlings and you do not -- repeat -- do not cozy up to the Democratic president if you want to avoid the daggers.
But that has always been Christie's style: not caring what people on either side of the political divide think of him. Unfortunately for him, that means that he's made a lot of enemies, and they're well-armed and ready. It's no surprise that we've been blanketed with news coverage of this epic fall from grace.
Christie's critics would vehemently deny that they're out for blood. Their motives, they say, are pure. What looks like sharks coming in to feast on the bloodied Jersey waters is, if they are to be believed, a civic-minded search for the "truth." (Now, let's all pause for a good laugh.) While some might genuinely want to get to the bottom of the scandal for legitimate reasons, those who have had to bend in the direction of the governor's juggernaut these last five years consider the fallout a reward for their suffering.
So, let's get real. Does anyone actually believe that children who are stuck on a bus for, say, four hours and are therefore prevented from being in school are tragic victims of circumstance? I mean, it's not like they were hostages being herded to some work camp. And the hysteria over emergency vehicles not being able to make it to their destinations is an infinitely more legitimate concern, but liberals have a way of making even legitimate concerns sound like political payback. It has been said that a 91-year-old woman died when the EMTs couldn't get to her because of bridge gridlock. If true, this is tragic.
However, the likelihood that there is a direct connection between the bridge shutdown and a 91-year-old woman dying is so attenuated that even a first-year law student would have to scratch her head. Of course, a CNN anchor named Ashleigh Banfield took that ball and ran with it. There's a YouTube clip of her suggesting that Chris Christie or his aides are guilty of "felony murder" because, you know, closing the bridge lanes was a felony and a 91-year-old died and so, you know, that means 20 years in solitary. Banfield makes Nancy Grace look rational, and Snooki, of "Jersey Shore," look like Alan Dershowitz.
Banfield isn't the only one hyperventilating. Rachel Maddow, someone who actually is smart, spent a good part of last week conducting her own Warren Commission autopsy on the scandal. She came to the conclusion that every single email ever sent by Christie aide Bridget Kelly from the time she graduated high school was aimed at furthering this dastardly plan.
And if the media are having an orgasm over these events, imagine how Jersey Democrats feel. Barbara Buono, who looks somewhat like a younger, defrosted Nancy Pelosi, is taking the opportunity to get back at the man who served her an ignominious defeat in November. She's all over the airwaves, along with colleague Loretta Weinberg, acting as if it were 1972 and the plumbers were at it again. You can understand the schadenfreude, because if a woman scorned is dangerous, a woman scorned and with a senatorial district is lethal.
This is not an attack on all liberals (and some conservatives), nor is it an apologia for Christie. But the foam-flecked glee at the governor's troubles is proof positive that for some, this is a political murder in process, not a legitimate search for the truth.
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Email, email@example.com.