Chris Christie Epic Fail Ethics The Media

In New Jersey, It’s Time for a Flashback

Prior to New Jersey’s recent election, the New Jersey Star Ledger endorsed Governor Chris Christie even though they think he’s terrible.

This is how they described him at the time of their endorsement.

The property tax burden has grown sharply on his watch. He is hostile to low-income families, raising their tax burden and sabotaging efforts to build affordable housing. He’s been a catastrophe on the environment, draining $1 billion from clean energy funds and calling a cease-fire in the state’s fight against climate change.

The governor’s claim to have fixed the state’s budget is fraudulent. New Jersey’s credit rating has dropped during his term, reflecting Wall Street’s judgment that he has dug the hole even deeper. He has no plan to finance transit projects and open space purchases now that he has nearly drained the dedicated funds he inherited from Gov. Jon Corzine.

His ego is entertaining, but it’s done damage as well. By removing two qualified justices from the Supreme Court without good cause, he threatened the independence of judges at all levels, and provoked a partisan stalemate that has left two vacant seats on the high court. This was a power grab gone wrong.

That doesn’t read like an endorsement, but it was.

The editorial board also went on to say that their hope is that Democrats in the legislature would keep Christie in check and that they fear Christie will veer rightward to please the Tea Party.

Fast forward to today, and the same New Jersey Star Ledger editorial board is calling for subpeonas for members of the Christie administration because they may have conspired to close a portion of a highway to punish a Democratic mayor.

The widely held suspicion is that Baroni and David Wildstein, the PA’s director of interstate capital projects, ordered the traffic squeeze to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, for refusing to endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election.

It’s the possibility of a Christie link — Baroni and Wildstein are Christie appointees — that’s fueling speculation. And Baroni’s flimsy excuses, coupled with Wildstein’s abrupt resignation announcement last week, only add to the believability. [...]

Christie has denied a role in the bridge fiasco, dismissing reporters’ questions with jokes and chiding Democrats for investigating. But this is more than political theater. The amateurish shutdown put people at risk. What if firetrucks or ambulances were stuck in the gridlock? Even Foye called the closure “dangerous” and “outrageous.”

It’s past time for jokes and fairy tales.

Nobody could have predicted.

The Star Ledger may be right in this case, but this is the political culture they endorsed.