A "Morning Joe" panelist asked N.J. Gov. Chris Christie a question this morning about the cultural attitudes which existed in the state government when "Bridgegate" happened. Was Christie's office the sort of place where "the subliminal message is we will do whatever it takes... even if that means shutting down bridges"?
Gov. Christie responds that that sort of thinking is "the refuge" for people who are disappointed to discover he didn't do anything wrong. In fact, Christie suggests that the media should feel "sorry for having prejudged this."
If it were a cultural thing, native to the Garden State, or even to Christie himself, says the governor, "there would have been a lot of these incidents." The past twenty years of New Jersey state government history could support either side of that argument.
KATTY KAY: If you were running against yourself, wouldn't you say this is somebody who surrounds himself to people, to whom the subliminal message is we will do whatever it takes to make sure that we are in the right position politically even if that means shutting down bridges, I don't necessarily want to know about it. I'm not going to talk about it. But that you allowed a culture in your office that would allow that kind of thing to happen?
CHRIS CHRISTIE: Katty, that's where the people that accuse of doing something wrong, when they're disappointed and find out that you didn't, that's the refuge.
Refuge is OK, all right. Remember the beginning it was he did this. He directed it. He's this kind of guy. Then all of a sudden, you're not. Then they say OK. Now what do we do?
So instead of just standing up and saying what they should say, which is we're sorry, Governor, for having jump topped conclusions. We're sorry for having prejudged this. We're sorry for having not only accused you, but convicted you. They say, oh, well, all right, now it's a culture.
It wasn't a culture, because if it was Katty, there would have been a lot of these incidents. There wouldn't have been 100 Democrats, elected Democrats, supporting me for re-election. I wouldn't have gotten a third of the Republican vote, and 51 percent of the Hispanic vote this was a pattern. It's not.
Exceptions happen. Accidents, mistakes happen. You still have to be accountable for them. But it does not mean there was a culture. If there was, there is more than just one person in the governor's office. That's called an exception not the rule.