Who is the real Chris Christie?
A petty, vindictive bully who allegedly retaliated against a Democratic mayor who did not support him for re-election by crippling traffic on the George Washington Bridge?
Or a brave politician who was noble, caring and above politics during superstorm Sandy?
New Jersey Gov. Christie is far from the only politician with a devil and angel on either shoulder.
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was heroic and gallant after the 9/11 attacks. He also paraded his mistress in public while still married and had the NYPD walk her dog.
Eliot Spitzer resigned as governor after a prostitution scandal. As the state’s attorney general, he went after Wall Street con artists before they obliterated the U.S. economy.
And Anthony Weiner was an effective congressman before . . . well, you know the rest.
But if ongoing probes directly connect Christie to the bridge fiasco, he may turn out to be the ultimate example of someone whose baser instincts destroyed a promising career.
Partisan politics is killing this country. People are hungry for the rare politician who rises above bickering and doesn’t see opponents as enemies to be humiliated. When Christie didn’t play politics with Superstorm Sandy, his approval ratings soared.
Christie, who some have pegged as a bully, has seen his job-approval ratings drop. Think other politicians will learn from this lesson? Don’t hold your breath.
Christie was quick to throw his deputy chief of staff under the bus — she initiated the lane closures that snarled traffic in Fort Lee — during his self-pitying news conference last week. But if you think his staff acted independently, or believe Christie’s claim of ignorance, I’ve got a bridge to sell you named after an American icon famous for saying, “I cannot tell a lie.”
Perhaps this storm will blow over without further damage to Christie’s reputation, and he will continue in his quest to be president.
Or perhaps it will end with Christie fondly remembering his shining moment during Sandy if he is impeached, as some New Jersey Democrats now heading investigations have hinted. With that devil on his shoulder laughing in triumph.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.