Greenpoint, October, 2015

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Soul as Big as the George Washington Bridge

Dave Frieder (2008)
In his answer to one question at his news conference today on the George Washington Bridge "traffic-study" scandal, Governor Chris Christie claimed he had been doing some "soul-searching." Not once, but four times (once as a verb):

Christie: Well, listen, obviously -- I said earlier, John [King, reporter who asked question], I'm heartbroken about it, and I'm incredibly disappointed. I don't think I've gotten to the angry stage yet, but I'm sure I'll get there. But I'm just stunned. 

And what does it make me ask about me? It makes me ask about me what did I do wrong to have these folks think it was OK to lie to me? And there's a lot of soul-searching that goes around with this. You know, when you're a leader of an organization -- and I've had this happen to me before, where I've had folks not tell me the truth about something -- not since I've been governor but in previous leadership positions -- you always wonder about what you could do differently. And believe me, John, I haven't had a lot of sleep the last two nights, and I've been doing a lot of soul-searching. I'm sick over this. I've worked for the last 12 years in public life developing a reputation for honesty and directness and blunt talk, one that I think is well-deserved. But, you know, when something like this happens, it's appropriate for you to question yourself, and certainly I am. And I am soul-searching on this.

But what I also want the people of New Jersey to know is that this is the exception, not the rule. And they've seen that over the last four years with the way I've worked and what I've done. So I don't want to fall into the trap of saying, well, this one incident happened, therefore the one incident defines the whole -- it does not, just like one employee who's lied doesn't determine the character of all the other employees around you. And so I don't want to overreact to that in that way either, John. But if you're asking me over the last 48 hours or last 36 hours I've done some soul-searching, you bet I have.

The funny thing is, the question John King asked was not, "Governor, have you done some soul-searching over this?" (You bet he has) or "What does this make me ask myself?" (Why me?!) or "How does he feel about this?" (Not angry yet, but he'll get there). No, here is the question (inaudible at the end):

Reporter: So, I'm just asking, what do you ask yourself about -- they either thought this is what the boss wanted, or they -- as a group, they were willing to go rogue and do this and then try to cover it up...

If you're curious about the progress of the soul-searching....

Reporter: Governor, you said you had been doing some soul-searching. I'm wondering if you're soul-searching about the kind of people you hire, or the kind of people who run your campaigns, or the kind of people you want to run the Republican Party who are willing to apparently engage in political retribution and also call the mayor reportedly a racially insensitive man.

Christie: Yeah.

Reporter: Soul-searching on the hiring practice isn't how you judge people?

Christie: Sure, it was a mistake. I mean, the soul-searching is complete on that part of it. It was a mistake.

The soul-searching is complete! Hallelujah! (Full transcript here.)

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