Don’t you hate when people say “I hate to say I told you so” — when you know at that moment there is nothing they relish more than saying those words? I am at that moment right now. I won’t lie. I love telling you I told you so. As promised in my post last week, the third in the continuing series of Chris Christie scandals is here.
The latest scandal to bubble to the surface comes from a charge by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that those devastated by Hurricane Sandy in her town were denied million of dollars in recovery money from the Christie administration because she refused to give her approval for a politically connected construction project.
This is yet another allegation by a mayor that comes with another denial from the Governor’s office. You know what they say in politics, if you’re denying, you’re losing. Right now the Christie people are losing big time.
In denying Mayor Zimmer’s story, Christie’s spokesperson Colin Reed claims the administration has been trying to help Hoboken get money since the Hurricane struck. “It’s very clear partisan politics are at play here, as Democratic mayors with a political axe to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television,” Reed said.
The first Democratic mayor out of the aforementioned woodwork was Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich who claimed that four days of mind-numbing traffic jams caused by lane closings at the entrance to the George Washington Bridge was punishment for not endorsing Christie for re-election.
Reed and the Christie administration denied that charge too, even ridiculed it. At a December 2nd news conference Christie said, “Unbeknownst to anyone, I was working the cones.” A month later when emails made it clear beyond a doubt that members of the Christie administration were working the cones, figuratively, if not literally, the governor dropped the flippant act and claimed immunity from scandal because he had been lied to by his own staff.
Then came scandal No. 2 and allegations that the governor used millions in federal money that was supposed to go Sandy victims to instead make self-serving “Stronger Than the Storm” ads just in time for his re-election campaign. When it was leaked that the feds were investigating, Reed again claimed it was all politics.
There are a couple of big problems with Reed and the Christie administration’s position. First, you can’t play hardball politics and then complain when others do. Second, once you deny a scandal so definitively and then have to eat crow, no one believes you the next time or the time after that.
There will be more scandals to surface as Christie’s opponents are emboldened. I compared Jersey politicians to a flock of seagulls who kill their wounded. The flock is pecking now and will keep it up until someone stops them.
But who will do that? The most startling discovery in the Christie saga is that no one has stepped forward to defend him. He is the chair of the Republican Governor’s Association. Where are the other governors? If he is, or was, the frontrunner in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, where is the Republican establishment?
Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s Morning Joe noted that Christie got out too far in front of his supply lines and was left without support. Christie didn’t feel he needed political allies because he had the media on his side. The New Jersey governor made the same mistake that so many past Media Darlings have made. He believed the love affair with the media would last forever. When, in truth, the media is like a stray cat, it loves the last person who fed them. And Christie’s enemies are feeding a juicier story right now.
And so, as I crow about being right about scandal No. 3, I can say with equal confidence that it won’t be the last. The seagulls aren’t through with Christie yet. Can he survive? Yes, if scandals Nos. 2 and 3 are unfounded and he doesn’t get caught in a lie. That’s a lot of ifs, and that is without taking into account the scandals to come.
Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.