I admit I’m a political junkie so this developing story in New Jersey about the bridge and the Sandy relief money has had me fascinated. I watched a lot of Governor Chris Christie’s press conference where he tried to put the bridge scandal behind him, but as I was watching I spotted the moment when Christy took that one step too far and probably wrecked his chances to escape unscathed. It happened when he was talking about David Wildstein, the man who had implemented the command “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”. In answer to a question about his relationship with Wildstein going back to high school the governor preceded to distance himself by saying they weren’t that close. But he didn’t just leave it there. He talked about how he (Christy) had been a star athlete and class president, and he had no idea what Wildstein was up to. Now I’m a proud nerd. I wasn’t popular in high school. I was in the chess club for heaven’s sake, so I understood the message Christy was sending loud and clear. “Oh that guy? What a total dweeb. He was a real loser. Not like me.” I literally gasped and fell back in my chair because I knew that in that moment Christy had turned a former ally into an implacable enemy.
I know that American’s are often viewed as naive and provincial, maybe not as sophisticated as other nations, but there is one thing we do quite well. We recognize and really, really don’t like — bullies and mean girls. After the initial excitement over Sarah Palin I watched her approval rating among independent women begin to drop. Because we all recognized what she was. She was the quintessential mean girl many of us had endured in junior high and high school. Christie in that press conference became the guy who would give the class nerd a wedgie. Well it’s Wildstein who’s delivering the wedgie now with his destructive drip drip drip of information released through his lawyer.
And then Christie or his people (if it was his people he needs new people) released that silly email Christie Email about how Wildstein upset his social studies teacher back in high school, and couldn’t be trusted. Which just begged the question — they why did you create a job for him at the Port Authority and praise him so profusely when he resigned? You never, ever punch down, and this email had people wondering if the governor or his staff were starting to come unwrapped.
The entire situation has me once again repeating the old adage I learned in Hollywood. Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.