There’s a long tradition in politics, and in some corners of corporate life, of falling on your sword to protect the boss. Two more Chris Christie aides have now been convicted in connection with Bridgegate, while Christie himself was never charged.
There’s a simple message here, and not a new one. Being one step away from the boss might be attractive and gratifying in normal times. You get to bask in reflected glory. You get to exercise power in the name of the boss, a power greater than your own. But here’s the flip side: if you’re asked to do something illegal or unethical and your actions come to light, you’ll go down for it, not the person on whose behalf you were acting.
David Wildstein, David Samson, Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni surely knew that. Probably they thought they wouldn’t get caught. But surely, if they did, they didn’t expect Christie to step up and say they were acting on his orders, that he was responsible. Did they?