Posted Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010, at 10:05 PM
If it's possible to fly in and out of snow-crippled New Jersey tomorrow, governor Chris Christie is due to return from his
at Disney World. It is true that the governor's decision to go ahead and leave the state with a blizzard blowing in—and to stay away, even as the disruption mounted—has been bad image management. And, yes, it has provided
But mainly, it was disgraceful governing. Not everyone can be Newark mayor Cory Booker, dashing around his city with a shovel, answering the
on Twitter. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was unimpressive this week—
, sour, and
. Asked today about a case where a newborn baby died while emergency responders were bogged down by unplowed streets, Bloomberg
, "Delivery of an ambulance doesn’t guarantee that medical help can get to do what you need to have done." (Never is New York's ultra-technocrat more icily rational than when he's explaining why some failure isn't actually his fault.)
Still, however badly and snidely Bloomberg may have been doing his job, at least he was doing it. Chris Christie up and bailed. The chief executive of New Jersey didn't feel like executing his duties.
"Yes, this was a big snow, but we are a northeastern state, and we get plenty of snow, including heavy hits like this," a Christie spokesperson
, blaming criticism on "partisans."
That's the problem Christie cares about: where he stands on the scoreboard of the eternal campaign. Not getting the state un-paralyzed again. Calling the vacation a political misjudgment misses the point. It wasn't a mistake; it was a genuine reflection of Christie's attitude. The governor doesn't see why he has to be responsible for coordinating police, transportation, and public works in an emergency. And he certainly doesn't see why he should have to suffer alongside the people who elected him. New Jersey's problem isn't his problem.
Part of the complaint about Christie's absence is that he didn't even coordinate his schedule with that of his lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno; while he went in Florida, Guadagno was away in Mexico, leaving the state senate president in charge. Now the Christie administration has
that Guadagno is not traveling for leisure, but to spend time with her cancer-stricken father.
That anonymous piece of spin—"sources did not want to speak publicly about a private matter"—only affirms how monstrously detached Christie is. Not only wouldn't he adjust his own vacation for a blizzard, he wouldn't adjust it for a Stage IV cancer patient, either.