Just a quick note: George Packer’s New Yorker piece on Chris Christie is so good I really have to bring it to your attention. In my last post I compared Christie to Rudy Giuliani. Packer makes a more significant comparison—to Richard Nixon. Packer finds in the antics of Christie’s staff some “weirdly exact” parallels with the Nixonites in 1972. He sees “…a vengefulness so petty that it inescapably called to mind the American President who incarnated that quality, and was brought down by it.” The tone of the e-mails of Christie’s aides recalls
…the thuggery and overweening arrogance that were characteristic of Nixon’s men when the President was at the height of his popularity—utter contempt for opponents, not the slightest anxiety about getting caught. In both cases, whether or not the boss sanctioned these actions, the tone came from the top.
Ed Kilgore of the Washington Monthly perceptively extends Packer’s observations:
[Nixon], too, frequently offset liberal policies and bipartisan political gambits with a base-thrilling public savagery towards The Enemy that was reflected in private skullduggery, and all wrapped in a self-absorbed and paranoid inability to accept honest disagreement with his decisions. Add in a background as a prosecutor—an occupation that’s all about using intimidation to expand the scope of one’s power—and nothing that’s happening to Chris Christie right now should be at all surprising.”