Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Founded by Mark Kleiman (1951-2019)
Chris Christie at Canossa
Hard to see how Christie survives the Fort Lee episode now.Â In his presser this morning, we learned that for four months, he was unable to learn anything about the little game his nearest and dearest played with the people in Fort Lee in September, and that when he called everyone into the room weeks ago to tell him if they knew anything about it, he accepted “no’s” without even asking for the email correspondence that came out yesterday, or, apparently, having individual conversations (he’s an ex-US Attorney!) with folks to see if their stories matched.Â So with all the powers and authority of his office, he managed to be the last person on the planet to know what his people were up to.
A couple of angles on this story worth noting: First,Â Christie himself has a public record of indifference to cross-Hudson commuters generally, going back three years, so maybe his people were just making reasonable inferences about what would make him happy.Â Second, the pettiness and pointlessness of the whole exercise.Â The bridge trick might be a useful signal to other state pols about the cost of crossing the gov, but that only works if it’s widely known that it happened and why! Other than that, it’s striking that no-one made a penny from the whole thing, and I must say, if New Jersey corruption conventions have so completely departed from their historic basic values, things are in a really bad way there.
More interesting, and not emphasized yet in reporting, is his repeated insistence throughout this morning’s damage control that he threw Ms. Kelly under the bus because she lied to him.Â Not, because she obviously has terrible judgment and a petty vengeful streak, or that her continuation in any office is a clear and present danger to the people of the state: because she lied to him.Â Personal loyalty is what it’s about for Chris, and there are few more dangerous qualities in a government official than to count your lieutenants’ devotion to your short-term comfort above their ability or motivation to do their jobs.Â Good pols seek out people to play Nathan to their Uriah moments; bad ones just have a posse of yessers.
Author: Michael O'Hare
Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training.
He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at UniversitÃ Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs.
At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4Ã—5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.
View all posts by Michael O'Hare
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