Five Best Thursday Columns

Charles Stile on Chris Christie's reputation, Ezra Klein says Christie is a bully, Michael Tomasky on Christie's possiblities, Chris Smith on Cuomo's centrism, and Jack Shafer on the newspaper business. 

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Charles Stile at The Record on Chris Christie's reputation. "Governor Christie often preaches a simple, homespun credo that could have easily been lifted out of an old Frank Capra movie: Tell people the truth, and they’ll stick by you through the missteps and the outbursts," Stile notes. But "the George Washington Bridge furor threatens to rob Christie of his truth-telling franchise, the very quality that distinguished him from every other air-brushed or transparently cautious politician in the country," he argues. It's "about the worst-case scenario for a future presidential candidate who is already building a network of IOUs as this year’s chairman of the Republican Governors Association." MSNBC host Steve Kornacki tweets, "[Read] Charlie Stile, one of the best NJ political writers, on the Christie situation."

Ezra Klein at The Washington Post says Christie is a bully. "The release of e-mails suggesting that Gov. Chris Christie's top aides choked off transportation to a small town as political retribution against the town's mayor are a huge deal," Klein argues. They confirm that Christie is, indeed, a bully. "That doesn't mean he's not also a nice guy who cares deeply about his family and his constituents and his country. It doesn't mean he's not an unusually honest politician who's refreshingly free of cant and willing to question his party. There's a lot about Christie that's deeply appealing. But there's one big thing that's not: He's someone who uses his office to intimidate people and punish or humiliate perceived enemies," Klein writes. Working America writer Seth D. Michaels tweets, "Being a bully — which Christie really is — is one of the worst character traits a person can have." 

Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast on Christie's possibilities. There are three ways the Christie scandal could go: one, "he’s telling the whole and complete truth in yesterday’s statement, that this was the first he’d known that the lane closings were political; or two, "he was in on it from the start and helped mastermind it or at least winkingly approved it; or three, "the middle position, which is that he didn’t have prior knowledge but he learned it was political some time ago—not long after it happened, say—and is now lying about having just learned," Tomasky writes. "If it’s two or three, I’d say you can forget not only his presidential ambitions. He’ll have to resign the governorship. Right?" he argues. Longtime labor researcher Richard Yeselson tweets, "Great super shrewd column on the implacable logic of Christie's scandal."

Chris Smith at Daily Intelligencer on Cuomo's centrism. "One week ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo had a front-row seat onstage at the ceremonial inauguration of Bill de Blasio as mayor, giving him an up-close view of the city's victorious liberals spiking the ball," Smith writes. But Cuomo is "still socially liberal and fiscally moderate, just like he was three years ago when he was first elected governor." In 2014, however, Cuomo won't be able to keep social and economic issues separate anymore when de Blasio pushes for a tax on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-K. So Cuomo's "trying to find a way to accommodate the shift in the political winds while not alienating suburban voters, backing the goal of statewide pre-K without explaining exactly how it would be funded," Smith explains. New York Observer senior editor Colin Campbell recommends the post.

Jack Shafer at Reuters on the newspaper business. Next week, Rep. Henry Waxman will meet with Tribune Co. executives to discuss "the media conglomerate’s plans to spin off its newspapers — which include the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun — into a separate company named Tribune Publishing," Shafer explains. Waxman thinks the spin-off will defund the papers, specifically The Los Angeles Times, which his constituents depend on. But "let’s say the Tribune Publishing spin-off that Tribune envisions is as unviable as Waxman imagines it is. Tribune Co. can’t force people to buy stock in Tribune Publishing if, as Waxman imagines, it has been ransacked on the way out the door and loaded up with too much debt to survive. It’s in Tribune’s interest to make the spin-off attractive to investors ..." Shafer argues. Michael Roston, the social media editor of The New York Times, tweets, "Thank you ."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.