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Chris Christie foibles

By Jim Killebrew

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[January 11, 2014]  When a high-powered official, whether in a private corporation or government office, surrounds himself with a group of confidants and Cabinet-level positions, there is always a danger that one would go rogue and commit some unscrupulous behavior that turns into an embarrassment at best, or a crime at worst. When that happens, the official must consider the ramifications of that underling's actions and make a decision about the action that would mitigate the situation with the least amount of fallout to the office or the corporation.

Democrats have found a new cause in the foibles of a popular Republican. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired his top aide, who lied. That was his decision when his deputy chief of staff apparently closed two lanes of highway on the New Jersey side of the superhighway that connects New Jersey with New York. The portion closed was in front of the George Washington Bridge, which has been described as the "most traveled" bridge in America. Consequently, the closure of those lanes caused such a massive traffic jam that many were delayed, including emergency vehicles. It was done on the first day of school, so many parents commuting with their children to school were also delayed. The problem with the closure: It was done in retribution against a local mayor who had not cooperated in the governor's re-election. Having been done for political reasons placed it in the category of "unthinkable."

In a press conference and apology statement on Thursday, Gov. Christie explained his response immediately after discovering the incident. He said he gathered his senior staff together and asked pointedly if anyone of them knew anything about the incident or if they had been involved in its cause. He stated he gave them one hour to consider their answer, and during that time they were to talk to his chief of staff or his chief counsel. He said if no one admitted to it, he would go out and participate in a public press conference and state no one on his staff or Cabinet had anything to do with it. Apparently, when an email was discovered that "proved" his deputy chief of staff had initiated the action that caused the closure of the traffic lanes, it became certain she had lied to him. He immediately fired her from her job.

The governor may think his action has put an end to the vast news coverage, but in reality it has only begun. Chris Christie is considered a moderate leaning toward conservative thinking, and for that he will pay a price that will go well beyond normal news coverage. The liberal press, media and talk will continue to attack him until they think he no longer represents a threat to their candidate for the presidential run in 2016. Polls have generated comparisons between him and Hillary Clinton. Since Ms. Clinton is the odds-on favorite among the Democrats at the current time, I suspect they will conduct an all-out war against Mr. Christie until he is beat down to a non-threat.

Contrast that with the president whose top aides lied to Congress and the president himself lying to the American people, and no one gets fired. The president's attorney general was cited with a contempt of Congress for his part in the gunrunning "Fast and Furious" operation where thousands of weapons ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartel drug lords and a border guard was murdered. The president's response: providing cover for his attorney general with a shield of executive privilege, claiming national security.

The president's secretary of state repeatedly failed to provide functional protection and security buildup at the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, in Libya, which resulted in killing the U.S. ambassador and another diplomat. At the CIA annex early the next day, two embassy security personnel were killed; 10 others were injured in the attacks. Throughout the investigation, the trail of responsibility was continually thwarted by not providing the requested documents and information from the State Department. Finally, under questioning by the congressional committee investigating the incident, the secretary of state said: "What difference at this time does it make?" The president's response: praising the secretary of state for a job well done. No one was fired.

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The president's Internal Revenue Service engaged in activities of targeting organizations in political opposition to the president's position on issues and denied them nonprofit status, preventing them from having their organization operationalized. The president's response: no responsibility taken, no one was fired.

The president's National Security Administration was discovered spying on citizens of the United States and heads of state of foreign countries. The director of the NSA, in testimony to the congressional investigation committee, lied under oath to the committee. The president's response: protection of the NSA director; no one was fired.

The president himself lied to the American citizens regarding the policies in the Affordable Care Act. He repeatedly said that if a person liked the policy they had, they could keep that policy, period. If the person liked the physician they have had, they could keep that physician, period. In reality the president said that multiple times and allowed his high-level staff to say the same thing many times. The result, as most everyone now knows, is that millions of policies were canceled and people cannot keep their policy and cannot keep their physician. The president's response: tried to circumvent the congressional legislative powers by changing the law through executive powers. The result was that 11 state attorneys general brought suit against the president for the Supreme Court to decide the constitutional abuse of power.

The contrast between these two political leaders is stark. The governor apologized, took responsibility and took action against those who abused their power. The president, on the other hand, has repeatedly protected those who have abused power and misled the Congress and the public.

One thing about all of these scandals that is similar: Both are open, broad showcases of the government's abuse of power. Americans need to be aware that when people become powerful, the effect sometimes brings corruption. When the power of government is used against the citizens of a state or citizens of the United States, the American people need to wake up and watch closely the actions of those in power.


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