New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie drives Democrats crazy. It’s clear that the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher investigation into the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, which vindicates Christie, is too much for Democrats to bear. Look at how two of my colleagues at PostPartisan — Jonathan Capehart and Carter Eskew, both mostly reasonable Democrats — reacted with such venom to this report. In their posts yesterday, both attack the report, the authors of the report and, of course, Christie.
Their criticism exposes their hyper-anxiety about Christie, a popular Republican governor from a deep blue state.
To start with, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, founded in 1890, is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished, successful law firms in the country – even globally. The notion that its lawyers are on the take or downright corrupt is insulting and ludicrous. The remarkably credentialed lead attorney on the report, Randy Mastro, is a Democrat – and nothing in his career suggests he would sacrifice his integrity over a politically charged investigation of a traffic jam-related scandal in New Jersey. Second, there are two law enforcement investigations underway – a state investigation and a federal probe. It is absurd to think Mastro and his colleagues would want to embarrass themselves by reaching a wildly different conclusion from the other investigations. Why would they?
It is true that the Gibson Dunn lawyers did not interview everyone involved in the scandal; perhaps the other investigators won’t have the opportunity to interview Bridget Anne Kelly, David Stepien and David Wildstein, either. But their reports can still be viable. By any measure, the Gibson Dunn report is credible, even though Eskew and Capehart cannot seem to accept that conclusion. Capehart says that because Christie “handpicked” the law firm that conducted the internal investigation, that’s “everything I need to know to completely dismiss all this exoneration talk of Christie.” That’s grossly unfair to Gibson Dunn. Eskew is dismayed that “Christie seems to be a man without fear.” Well, maybe that’s because he doesn’t have a guilty conscience.
Let’s also remember that if we were talking about a traffic jam anywhere else — say Utah — it would not be getting anything close to this level of attention. Nobody would care. It is Christie’s proximity to the media elite on the East Coast that has made this such a spectacle. The Democrats are more eager to derail Christie’s career and presidential prospects than I had calculated. Are they that threatened by Christie? It’s a fair question.
As I’ve said before, in politics, being innocent is only an advantage; it’s not determinative. (And being guilty is only a disadvantage.) The Gibson Dunn report has shown us that Christie appears to have an advantage in this case. But Eskew and Capehart can take comfort in the fact that there is always the chance the innocent can become victims when politics is in play.
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