I did not have sex with that bridge.
That was Chris Christie’s Hail Mary play at his press conference last week. He looked us in the eye, he told us he’d done nothing wrong and he prayed it would turn out better for him with George Washington than it did for Bill Clinton with Ms. Lewinsky.
We are good at being lied to. I was not alone in wanting to believe that President Clinton was being straight with us. I was not an outlier when I swallowed Colin Powell’s WMD story at the UN. Despite his hair, “>admitted he was lying. But for several days, his story was credible enough for two hard-boiled Politico reporters to cut him some slack, “>I liked that.) Was his staff afraid he’d gone soft? Was it for Christie’s own good that they’d played the bully card for him? No, I can’t believe that, nor can I believe it never occurred to Christie’s team to tell him. But I can believe the m.o. of their dirty work routinely affords Christie the pretense of deniability.
What makes it possible for anyone to buy Christie’s denial is the swagger with which he makes it. His rise to power was propelled by his snarling contempt for anyone who’d dare challenge him. His ruthlessness was seen as an asset; to take on the vested interests, you have show your enemies how big a bat you swing. It’s the political equivalent of Weiner’s lewd pictures: Look how large I am!
Weiner thought putting his package online would be seductive. Christie’s exhibitionism is the bully’s version of Weiner’s bulge; he, too, thinks voters are turned on by a macho man with the ’nads to whup stroppy “>Barry Blitt’s New Yorker cover art. It’s called ““>Marty Kaplan holds the “>USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.