The Truth Fairy
As the Voice of Reason of New Jersey, as I am sometimes known, every day or so somebody asks me what I think of the latest twist in the Bridgegate case?
In a “breaking news” story, as they called it on cable network news (Aug. 11), an ex-employee accused our distinguished governor of lying in the press conference about the GWB Ft. Lee toll booth lane closings, which created the mother of all traffic jams, by saying he did not know in advance about what happened to lanes four and five. Where do I stand on our chief executive’s veracity?
First of all, I must say, I was shocked… Shocked, I say!…that anyone would doubt the honesty of Chris Christie, a pillar of veracity, compared to our previous governors. Corzine, Whitman, McGreevy, Florio are among those who might have graced any perp walk for skullduggery in office.
As this is a case still being investigated by prosecutors, I think it best not to influence prospective jurors. If my opinion led to the eventual trial being moved to Utah to find jurors who were not familiar with the Kitman view of this affair, I would have done a disservice to the citizens of New Jersey, cheating them of being involved spectators in what might well be the trial of the century.
The case regarding lanes four and five, the most famous lanes four and five, in the annals of trafficology, already has made our Gov. Wide Load a household name--even before he had added laurels as the only state’s chief executive who reportedly picks up the candidate’s suits at the dry cleaners and other duties as head of the transition team.
Nevertheless, I will not be endangering my special relationship with Hs Rotundity by reflecting on the general state of truth in the Great State of New Jersey and the rest of the nation.
Without rushing to judgment about a 2014 incident involving a traffic study that went into the ditch, which for a time on cable network news seemed to be approaching Watergate dimensions, that if His Immensity told less than the truth about what he knew and when, I will be risking my reputation as a pundit by saying it was not his fault. It was the air pollution.
New Jersey is caught in a cross wind between two of the most geographically and morality-challenged criminal states.
In Pennsylvania, just the other day, it’s attorney general, the state’s top prosecutor, was convicted of nine criminal charges including perjury and criminal conspiracy.
Both the leaders of its Senate and Assembly being found guilty of crimes have enhanced New York’s reputation as the empire state of political crime and misdemeanors that make Boss Tweed seem like a poster boy for clean government.
The tainted air wafted in from contaminated neighboring states is the reason New Jersey in early years was mistakenly known as The Soprano State, even before the TV series of the same name. How poor air quality affects morality is the subject of a monograph I am writing which will be published here shortly. Suffice it to say, in an earlier day even Diogenes with his lantern couldn’t find an honest politician in Trenton who hadn’t been affected by the criminality-laced air from across the two rivers (the Hudson and the Delaware).
But all of that was before Christie as the crusading Federal prosecutor cleaned up the state. As the U.S. Attorney in Newark for seven years (2003-10), the crime-buster nailed more than 100 politicians, almost all of them lowly Democrats. That’s because Republicans are not into petty crimes, but larger ones like starting an Iraq War.
The Christie administration today is squeaky clean, except for his closest adviser and confidant, David Sansom, who pled guilty to Federal bribery charges last month.
Without rendering moral judgment, if he lied or didn’t lie, it also could be attributed to other extenuating factors such as working in a veracity-challenged environment as a member of the Trump inner circle. Spending so much time with a man of whom it is said, when he’s moving his lips he must be lying, can take its toll. Repeating all his lies with the triplicate tic, Trump will wind up in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s biggest political liar.
If he lied, or didn’t lie, whatever Our Brontosaurus’ final position on the issue, with the usual Jersey accuracy, it probably doesn’t matter, anyway.
Let’s look at the historical record. Senators of the Roman empire, notably Cicero, would suggest to servants and supporters courses of action without clearly ordering the action, knowing full well that the staff would carry out any suggestion as if they themselves developed this plan singlehandedly. This would prevent the central figure from any consequences, while receiving the benefits of the outcome. As a leading scholar of political brontosaurus, Prof. Henry Chernin has noted, “a man in the central chair knows full well the temperament of his staff and what influences would cause them to ‘do the deed.’”
As King James said of Thomas a’ Beckett, “will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Ergo, off with his head or the knife. (I will have to Google).
Well did Our Large One lie or didn’t he lie?
Consider a tertium quid, (third way). Either His Honor knew nothing of the lane closures his Katzenjammer Kid staff was planning, in which case he should have been fired as our state’s CEO for dereliction of duty. Or he did know and has been a malicious liar all these months. That’s the choice: Hopelessly incompetent or despicable liar!
Normally, I’d recommend to my questioners: pick one. But our governor has sufficient girth to easily encompass both.
Anyway, as we get closer to the trial of the Katzenjammer Kids, on the docket for Sept. 19, which will determine who is to take the heat in the next act, so many actors will start to sing they could be in the chorus of our sad tragedy that would make Italian grand opera.
And what do I really think? See me after class.
Aug. 18, 2016