“Does Governor Christie agree with candidate Christie about whether Bencivengo should resign?” – John Wisniewski
It’s a good week to be asking hard questions of Chris Christie. He’s Newsweek’s coverboy; they wonder if Christie’s passed his sell-by date. New York Times, as discussed this morning just blew the lid on Christie’s failure to do much about BFF Bill Palatucci’s dangerous record of privatized halfway houses murderers can just stroll out of. The Atlantic notes Bruce Springsteen’s cold shoulder for the governor who loves him bestest. And Washington Monthly says it’s kinda over.
This is more than piling on a governor whose teflon is slipping. There’s a lot wrong with Christie, and there has been for a long time. But he’s been protected by personality journalism, and a cheering (and funding) section of the class he serves, for whom he is a breath of fresh (if hot) air. But hypocrisies pile up, and eventually even a sluggish press notes critical mass. Christie’s still the Republican poster boy but there’s no reason the rest of us shouldn’t show some brains.
And so we come to John Bencivengo. This morning, the Republican mayor of Hamilton – battleground territory for both parties – was indicted on charges of extortion and money laundering. The law-and-order governor, who made his bones (and, uh, likes to inflate his record) using his federal position to go after corrupt Jersey politicians (read: Democrats) (and read: How Did Chris Christie get off the list?) is silent.
This is candidate Christie in 2009:
“The principle I believe in is, once that cloud is over you, I think you owe it to the people who elected you to step aside and to let someone else who doesn’t have that cloud serve.”
Of course, that was when Democratic Sen. Teresa Ruiz’ husband, Samuel Gonzalez, was accused of election fraud. Christie’s in his comfort zone when it’s about going after Dems. But in April, as there were mounting calls for Bencivengo to step down, Christie’s mouthpiece said he “didn’t think it would be appropriate to comment on the (Bencivengo) investigation at this early stage.”
Okay, so now we have an indictment. And the leader of Bencivengo’s party is still – uncharacteristically – silent. And what Dem Chair Wisniewski wants to know is this:
“Does Governor Christie agree with candidate Christie about whether Bencivengo should resign?”
Know what? It’s a good question.