He thinks like a lawyer. I know what I'm talking about. I think like a lawyer, too. I am a lawyer. Up until now, it's been a big strength for Governor Christie, too. His career as a big time U.S. Attorney played a big part in the careful image-building public career that preceded his governorship. But now, for Gov. Christie, it's a big problem, the way he thinks, that is, like a lawyer. Because, the way he thinks, makes him think, that there is a way for him to parse and chivvy and jive and talk his way out of this. The end that seems to be coming for him will probably be somewhat Clintonesque, for that reason.
Follow me out into the tall grass for more of what I'm talking about.
For most, the experience of law school results in learning ways of thinking and acting unique to the profession. Trying to explain this transformation of how the World is perceived to anyone who hasn't experienced it might be a little like explaining color to someone born blind to it. Try to visualize it as a display of nodes of various sizes with colored lines running between them of various sizes. Everything is connected and everyone is connected to everything and everyone, properties, places, every kind of relationship imaginable. The entire world is overlain by this matrix. The nodes are subject matter, a person or place or thing. The lines are issues. The colors are the rules. The law touches everything. Most lawyers spend their careers working with just parts of that matrix, called specialties.
Obviously, attorneys vary widely in their skill level of thinking and acting unique to the profession. Some lawyers in the top strata, perhaps Governor Christie, come to believe that they can protect themselves with words because, as they see it, only they see what is going on so much better than anyone else. How else can we explain the way Governor Christie, it is reported today, dealt with the issue of his staff's knowledge of Bridgegate, by rounding them up and ordering:
If there is any information that you know about the decision to close these lanes in Fort Lee, you have one hour to tell either my chief of staff, Kevin O'Dowd, or my chief counsel, Charlie McKenna.If Governor Christie calculates that O'Dowd and McKenna will fall on their swords for him, he may believe himself safe from proof of guilty knowledge. Governor Christie's subsequent statement and presser continue to follow along this line. Poor Governor Christie, betrayed by his staffer(s) who lied. That got her fired along with the Governor's campaign manager who connived in the Fort Lee malfeasance.
And I told them that in an hour I was going to go out in a press conference. And if no one gave me other information to the contrary that I was going to say that no one on my staff was involved in this matter.
But thinking like a lawyer isn't enough to make a man honest, or fair, or true. And success earned by pandering to jurors' prejudices doesn't necessarily mean you are the best legal thinker, Governor Christie.
Sacrificial lambs are piling up in Bridgegate. Gov. Christie inhabits a political world inhabited by many enemies of his own creation. Now that the admitted misconduct of the Governor's staffer(s) has opened wounds, it will be interesting to see what will show up to feed. In a process like that, words don't mean much after a certain point and that process has barely begun to unfold.