Now that former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has been yanked out of political circulation with his two-year prison sentence, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) can officially ascend to the post of the Most Corrupt Governor In America. Seriously, mark your calendars because Sunday's playoff game in Dallas heralded the end of the Christie presidential campaign -- that is if it ever existed in the first place.
And of course it wasn't just the super awkward owner's box celebration during which Christie, evidently dressed in Fat Albert cosplay, lovingly embraced Jerry Jones and some other guy after the Cowboys clinched the wildcard victory. The freeze frame looks like it's from the end of a wacky 1980s prime time sitcom, just before the credits roll. Have we actually seen Christie hug another human being, like, ever? Not that I can recall, which made his effusive PDA look even more awkward since he only ever gets that close to other humans in order to hector them at the boardwalk. Oh, and during that brief moment in which Jones denied Christie's attempt at a high-five, it made Christie look like a wormy, tag-along sidekick who's desperately seeking approval from the cool kids -- and not getting it.
Not a very presidential moment, to say the least.
And as Jon Stewart pointed out Monday night, Christie is the governor of a state featuring Eagles superfans in the south, and Giants superfans in the north. Both groups are huge Cowboys haters. In fact, I would suggest that Jersey is the nation capital of Cowboys haters, twice as many as in Washington, DC. So, why exactly does Christie love the Cowboys so much?
This puzzling question brings us to the corruption part of the story. Realistically, the weird hugging is all just a sideshow compared with what's emerged in the subsequent two days.
Apparently, Christie attended the game as a gift from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accepted a plane ride to Dallas and a seat at a Cowboys playoff football game in a luxury suite from team owner Jerry Jones, who has a business relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, officials said.
Ethics rules in the Garden State forbid such activities, stating that Christie is barred from accepting gifts from anyone with whom the he and other state officials "deal with, contact, or regulate in the course of official business." Christie's office predictably dodged the charges, suggesting that it's okay for Christie to take gifts from "relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds." Naturally, it doesn't matter because New Jersey and, specifically, the New Jersey Port Authority dealt with Jones on a business deal as recently as two years ago.
It gets more incestuous.
Christie apparently used his political clout to grease the skids for Jones' Port Authority deal. Back in 2013, Legends Hospitality LLC, which is co-owned by Jones' Dallas Cowboys and in which Jones is personally a large investor, was granted approval by the Port Authority to manage the new One World Trade Center observation deck. The day before, both Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed Legends to be the recipient of the contract. When the Port Authority board, which, not insignificantly, is appointed by Christie and Cuomo, voted unanimously to approve the deal, it cited Christie's and Cuomo's announcement as the deciding factor.
David Sirota, writing for IBTimes, reported that Christie "pushed" the Port Authority to approve the deal, but the "government documents" Sirota mentioned aren't provided in the article. So, we should probably be cautious about the existence of such documents until Sirota publishes an excerpt.
Regardless, whether Christie bullied the Port Authority to approve the deal isn't entirely relevant given the timing of Christie's endorsement; the unanimous Port Authority board vote; and the fact that the board is loaded with Christie appointees. And then there's the possible ethics violations -- free travel and owner's box seats -- as well as the reality that until recently did anyone know Christie was such a Dallas superfan? It all smells worse than Christie's briefs when Dallas was down 13 points heading into the 4th quarter.
He might've squeezed out of his previous spate of scandals, but how much more smoke do we need to see pouring out of Trenton before it becomes abundantly clear that Christie's relationship with Jerry Jones is totally crooked? And, seriously, how has every Eagles and Giants fan not burned this guy in effigy? Worse, if Christie somehow wiggles out of this latest fracas and miraculously wins the GOP nomination in 2016, he's already lost the swing state of Michigan where video of his ebullience over the Cowboys denying the Detroit Lions' first playoff victory since 1991 will be aired on endless loop around the clock in attack ads all over the state. Oops.