Chris Christie's Response to David Wildstein Is the Rhetorical Equivalent of a Shit Swirlie:
There's no way any responsible circle of Chris Christie's advisers would have allowed the press release titled "5 Things You Should Know About The Bombshell That's Not A Bombshell" to be emailed out to the media. This was the New Jersey governor's response to former Port Authority official David Wildstein's lawyer's claim that "evidence exists...tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed." That's legalese for "Shit that's not in the documents you subpoenaed from our client."
As Josh Marshall says, the thing sounds like it was written by Christie himself who demanded that it go out, unedited. There's so many tells, like "In David Wildstein's past, people and newspaper accounts have described him as 'tumultuous' and someone who 'made moves that were not productive.'" The cited account does contain some negative things about Wildstein's tenure as mayor of Livingston, that Wildstein was such a Republican hatchet man that he was incredibly hard to work with. By the way, the article doesn't say Wildstein was "tumultuous," just that "it was a tumultuous time."
Then there's the list of offenses:
"As a 16-year-old kid, he sued over a local school board election.
"He was publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior.
"He had a controversial tenure as Mayor of Livingston.
"He was an anonymous blogger known as Wally Edge.
"He had a strange habit of registering web addresses for other people's names without telling them."
First off, "kid"? What formal response from government office would contain that? And that social studies teacher said publicly that the "deceptive behavior" was from a misunderstanding. As for the "anonymous blogger" thing, that was one of the reasons Wildstein got into the position he did. Christie's office, when he was U.S. Attorney, would leak information to Wildstein's blog, which would look into it and gladly publish it.
But all of this pales next to the big question. Everyone of these things was known before Christie created "a sweetheart $150,020-a-year patronage position with no job description at the Port Authority" for Wildstein. It's a totally legitimate question to ask that if Wildstein was such a horrible creep, why should the state of New Jersey have to pay him a six-figure salary for a job created out of thin air. Oh, and Christie praised the hell out of Wildstein when he resigned.
The Rude Pundit has nothing but disdain for Wildstein, not just because he looks like he's the kind of guy who wants to make the cool athletes laugh by doing a beer enema for them. It's because what's obviously happened is that, since high school, where Wildstein graduated a year ahead of the governor, he worshiped Christie. No, they probably weren't "friends," but Wildstein was the statistician of the baseball team, the one Christie captained. In other words, Wildstein was wedgie-bait, the kind of guy who gets shit swirlies from the jocks and laughs at his abuse because he gets to hang out at their parties.
Maybe Christie defended him once. Maybe Wildstein returned the favor by giving him glowing coverage in a well-read New Jersey political blog. Maybe Christie returned that favor by giving him this job, by putting a useful dupe in a position where he might one day be needed to do something dirty.
Either way, as attorney Chris Christie would probably tell the governor, you don't need to put out a document attacking your accuser's behavior as a teenager if you have the truth on your side. You keep saying the truth because nothing could exist to prove you're lying.
By the way, Christie's office put out a response before this email that said Wildstein's lawyer's letter "confirms" that Christie didn't know about the George Washington Bridge traffic clusterfuck "before" it happened, only when it happened. That's shown in the photo of Wildstein, Christie, and other officials chuckling it up at a 9/11 anniversary ceremony. (Why were they laughing? Did they read a funny name on the memorial? Hear about the kids stuck in the school buses?)
But we're into Clintonian word parsing here as we get to the question of whether Christie was told about the lane closures while they were happening and what was his reaction. The door to Christie's presidential ambitions is getting thinner and thinner. And he won't be able to fit through it pretty soon.
One last thing: there was a hilarious story in the Washington Post this weekend. The story goes like this: Christie was the starting catcher for his high school baseball team. Another student transferred in who was a better catcher, so Christie was going to be replaced as starter. Christie and his father contemplated investigating to see if the transfer was legit and to sue to try to block it. In high school. Against a teenager. He decided against it, ultimately, because he didn't want a lawsuit to have the effect of canceling the entire season. What a mensch.
Christie has long acted like an entitled dickhead. Now that someone is taking away what he thinks he's entitled to, no wonder he's lashing out. It's what he knows to do.