Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer alleged today on MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki that two members of Chris Christie’s administration told her the state would deny her city funds to repair the damage from Hurricane Sandy unless she acceded to a development project Christie favored. This doesn’t sound illegal, and lacks the cackling villainous paper trail of the George Washington Bridge lane closure, but it’s also not exactly good government, either.
Perhaps more interesting is the aggressive response from Christie’s administration. Rather than express contrition or promise to get to the bottom of the allegations, Christie’s aides are attacking the allegations as untrustworthy. Argument number one: MSNBC can’t be trusted because it has always hated Christie!
Christie’s office goes nuclear on MSNBC: pic.twitter.com/mwYqU6Y3kH— Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato) January 18, 2014
(Obviously, unless Christie thinks MSNBC faked or distorted Zimmer’s allegations, the credibility of the network that broadcast the allegations is completely immaterial.)
And what about Zimmer? Here’s where argument number two comes in: She can’t be trusted, either, because she has always liked Christie:
Christie office sends reporters these Zimmer tweets to push back on her story: pic.twitter.com/AuFSJgVduL— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 18, 2014
There is a certain logic here: Zimmer can't be trusted because she heartily endorsed Chris Christie, who is the subject of numerous allegations of corruption. She must have terrible judgment!
I suppose the implication is that we shouldn’t trust Zimmer’s account of Christie’s handling of the storm, because she is now expressing dissatisfaction after praising him earlier. But Zimmer’s pro-Christie tweets came in November of 2012, whereas the alleged strong-arming occurred in May of 2013. Indeed, Zimmer is a reformist mayor who ran against a corrupt Democratic administration and strongly supported Christie, before belatedly concluding he is also corrupt.
And of course this is the main reason why I think Christie’s presidential aspirations are basically dead. He’s genuinely corrupt. There are numerous allegations swirling around him, and at this point it would require an implausible series of coincidences to believe he’s not implicated in some nasty and quite likely straight-out illegal behavior. Republicans have plenty of strong candidates to choose from who are burdened by neither Christie's ideological compromises with Democrats nor a long list of shady activities. They're going to pick one of those guys instead.