Saturday, March 29, 2014

Genius Liar

Those of us who remember Watergate as it unfolded must surely understand that, just as different outcomes can be imagined for World War II, the American Civil War, and other momentous events which changed the world, so in the case of Watergate, it might have been different. There were many many specifics in the Watergate scandal. Not the least was Nixon himself, his own odd manichean personality: paranoid, surreptitious, yet concerned with ultimate truth and with how even his opponents (enemies he'd call them) viewed him. Nixon's particularities in fact sowed the seeds of his destruction. He might have fallen by other paths. He might have managed to engineer an effective cover-up as well. These are the logical possibilities.

Watching the unfolding of Mr. Christie's cover-up, I have to wonder if he studied Nixon's mistakes. Not the mistakes of character of course. Just the mistakes of craft, of power-wielding. History has been kind to Christie. There is it would seem no great counterweight, no Sam Ervin, no Lowell Weiker, no Archie Cox, no Edward R. Morrow. Add to that happy circumstance the general development of a manichean press which can offer endless "but-ands" to every unpleasant nugget a Rachel Maddow can uncover, and a threshold of boredom in the general public which seems to lie somewhere south of 24 hours in the best of circumstances.

And, perhaps most important, add to all of the general circumstances Mr. Christie's plain ability to lie with a brazen, straight-faced accomplishment which amounts to the opposite of Tricky Dick, a man who was so internally conflicted that people thought he was lying even when he was telling the truth. As yet no one has really been able to indict Christie on the charge of stonewalling. Samantha Bee has come close, but her art lives in the air of poetry, and Christie lives on a different planet. What Ms Bee represents is not so much an exasperation with Christie, as with our credulity, and the ongoing manipulation of the main stream press.

Mr. Christie might still be brought down by the methods of governance he clearly employs. Even if he survives his whole second term in office, a run for the United States Presidency seems to me an unlikely proposition at this point. It's not as though the bizarre Republican base particularly love him, since one of the base's features is a distrust of all things urban. Christie, in other words, may be at least quarantined, inflicted only on a state which at least has a relatively large percentage of educated voters in its favor.

We are nontheless watching a horrible genius at work. I plan on viewing Errol Morris' new documentary on Donald Rumsfeld. I expect and hope Mr. Morris is already working on a project featuring Mr. Christie, an altogether worthy subject for the best documentarian in the land.

Note. I don't mean to suggest that no one sees the obvious. Here, for example, is the Rude Pundit's excellent take on the just out "Christie Exoneration Report":
And Ms Bee pretty much observed much the same characteristics of the report in her piece on Morning Joe, while noting that mostly the main-stream media tends to be an exclusive club, and that the club finds it extremely difficult to expel members once they are initiated, Mr. Christie being in fact a member. You can and should watch the whole Bee piece at the link to Business Insider cited above.

No comments:

Post a Comment