If Chris Christie Staffers Shutting Down Traffic Was Wrong, What About Obama's Shutdown Theater?


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has found himself in a mess after emails revealed through an open records request indicated that his staffers, and one of his appointees, conspired to manufacture traffic problems for the City of Fort Lee. The mayor of that city had refused to endorse Christie during his re-election campaign.

Christie took responsibility for the scandal this morning, and heads are rolling, but he’s claiming he didn’t know what was happening. If he’s lying about that, he needs to step down immediately. This political pettiness put lives at risk (there are reports of at least one ambulance that was caught up in the resulting traffic). It was an egregious abuse of power, and someone capable of such an abuse doesn’t deserve to hold public office.

That being said, it is interesting to see the difference between the reaction to Christie’s administration shutting down some lanes of traffic, and the Obama administration engaging in “shutdown theater” during the debt ceiling impasse last year.

How was President Obama’s decision to shut down open-air war memorials to the veterans of those wars – at a greater cost to the public than just keeping them open – any better than what Christie’s staffers are guilty of?

Update: To wit:

The White House announced Tuesday that it is canceling tours of the president’s home for the foreseeable future as the sequester spending cuts begin to bite and the administration makes good on its warnings of painful decisions.

Announcement of the decision — made in an email from the White House Visitors Office — came hours after The Washington Times reported on another administration email that seemed to show at least one agency has been instructed to make sure the cuts are as painful as President Obama promised they would be.

In the internal email, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service official Charles Brown said he asked if he could try to spread out the sequester cuts in his region to minimize the impact, and he said he was told not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts Congress had been warned of.

“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be,” Mr. Brown, in the internal email, said his superiors told him.