"Admit nothing, deny everything and launch counter attack" is one of Stone's Rules, maxims for the conduct of political warfare that I have adopted based on a thirty year career in the corroded rectum of the two party system. It seems New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is utilizing my advice now that Port Authority Aide David Wildstein has threatened to dime the big man himself in the decision to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge as political payback for a Mayor who would not support his re-election, or perhaps a State Senator who has challenged him on many issues.
In an extraordinary e-mail widely "leaked" by the Governor's office on Saturday, Wildstein was depicted in essence as an erratic , irresponsible mad man.
Christie's missile said " In David Wildstein's past, people and newspaper accounts have described him as "tumultuous" and someone who "made moves that were not productive "As a 16-year-old kid he sued over a local school board election. He was publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior. He had a controversial tenure as Mayor of Livingston. He was an anonymous blogger known as Wally Edge He had a strange habit of registering web addresses for other people's names without telling them " the Governor counter- attack read. His high school teacher? Really?
In fact Wildstein's political blog was well regarded and became influential. It was indispensable reading for nearly every New Jersey pol- and he sold it to the same media company that owns the New York Observer and PoliticsNJ., only surfacing as the actual writer after the sale.Every one of these facts was know when Christie approved the hiring of his high school classmate. Why then was Wildstein hired at $150K a year to be Christie's enforcer and hatchet man at the PA? If he's so nuts, so crazy, so irresponsible how did he get this PLUM job? Chrtisie's leaked manifesto doesn't seem to address these questions.
Additionally documents released last month under subpoena showed that Wildstein had dinner with the Governor's chief spokesman two nights before he resigned, and that the governor had personally approved a statement calling Mr. Wildstein a "tireless advocate for New Jersey's interests at the Port Authority," and praising his "commitment and dedication." So how had he gone from a dedicated public servant to a loose cannon and why?
I have known David Wildstein since 1979 when I was sent to organize Ronald Reagan's campaign in New Jersey. Although still in his teens,Wildstein was the national campaign manager for former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, then making his eight race for President. Stassen had entered his name in the New Jersey Republican Presidential primary. I would meet him again at the Port Authority two years ago. When I asked a high level PA Executive I knew how Wildsgtein got hired I was told "Chris Christie". Then as now Wildstein is very bright, highly energetic and a likable political brawler. He revered the late Robert Franks, a Congressman from Union County. He is a bomb thrower, a soldier, a loyalist, the kind of man you'd send to close down a bridge.
In his two hour press conference, Christie lied about when he last saw Wildstein.Christie said had not seen Wildstein in the months before his re-election in November, though Port Authority photographs show the two men appearing intimate at a public event at the time of the lane closings- and there in lies the danger for Chris Christie .No documents , e-mails or phone records are now needed. Non-disputable photographic evidence that the men were together is the problem. What did Chris Christie say to Wildstein that day? What will Wildstein say he said?
David Wildstein wasn't a tumultuous lunatic when Chris Christie hired him as his eyes and ears at the New York New Jersey Port Authority. He's only depicted that way today because he has the power to cause Chris Christie's downfall.