New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he wants to learn from Bridgegate. But in reality, he is teaching a lesson on how a skilled politician manipulates public opinion.
In the classroom of the real world, here is the syllabus for Christie’s new course in Surviving Scandal 101:
- Investigate yourself – and announce the results before other investigations have a chance to get very far.
- Hire your friends and former colleagues to conduct the investigation. Pay them $1 million, possibly more.
- Don’t use your own money. Stick taxpayers with the bill.
- Enjoy a good laugh when your investigators use circumstantial evidence to embarrass your enemies or conclude your foes are lying.
- Leak the results of the 360-page report to The New York Times to get front-page coverage.
- Hold an hour-long press conference to comment on your self-exoneration. If reporters ask questions you don’t like, instruct them to “cut back the commentary” or “get the facts right if you want to ask me a question.”
- Claim responsibility for being a leader, but be sure your subordinates take the blame.
- Offer interviews to ABC and Fox to sell your version directly to the national electorate. Tell everyone that Bridgegate won’t affect your decision on whether to seek higher office. PS – If your wife and kids are present, Diane Sawyer is more likely to be sympathetic.
- Quietly resume the 2016 Christie for President campaign. Fly to Las Vegas the next day to woo a billionaire political supporter.