Following the Christie scandal in New Jersey is to experience déjà vu. A powerful politician recently wins a re-election by a wide margin faces a minor scandal involving people peripheral to his administration. The press investigates and lo and behold …
Nixon had his Halderman and Erlichman, close aides who orchestrated the “plumbers” – a group of loyal thugs who were willing to punish people on Nixon’s enemies list. The Watergate break-in pre-election was meant to help assure Nixon’s re-election – an election that was already virtually assured. But the Nixon people were arrogant, and they were bullies. The cover-up of the act was as damaging as the crime. Nixon was held ultimately responsible because he was discovered to have known about, and participated in the cover-up. However, many argued that Nixon’s grandiose, paranoid character created a culture among close aides that translated directly into bullying, and even criminal behavior among loyal aides. For a President who has incredible power, these character flaws can prove to be dangerous. The Nixon White House culture and arrogance was at least as much a concern to Congress as the break-in. Nixon’s repeated denials and defense of his aides never broke until secret recordings revealed the truth.
Now Cristie (“I am not a bully”) appears to be a man cut from the same cloth as Nixon. His early denials of the scandal were arrogant and dismissive. As the scandal got closer to his house, he fired a few people but still denied any wrongdoing. Then the secret e-mails broke and the man who claimed to be in charge now claims he was totally in the dark. The fact is that Christie created a close-knit cadre of loyal and like-minded aides, and a culture of arrogance. As his mentor, former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, pointedly asked if we really want a president with those qualities he put his finger on the essential issue. Investigations should continue, and my money is on the announcement of impeachment proceedings in the future. A man that much in control could not be so clueless.
No mention of Clinton in there!? But then again he never had sexual relations with that woman, and when he smoked, he didn’t inhale.