What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

January 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

I have a prediction about the outcome of the Chris Christy story.  I don’t have any crystal ball but it is fun to speculate.  I have entitled this post with my favorite quote from Cool Hand Luke because politicians are notoriously inclined to start parsing sentences and redefining words when they are caught doing or saying something that has become inconvenient.  Remember Bill Clinton’s trouble with the word “is”?

I believe the Mayor of Hoboken is telling the truth.  I also believe that Christy, in some way we don’t yet know, let his office and political staff know that he wanted to punish the Mayors of Fort Lee and Hoboken.   But, as a canny pol, I suspect he left himself with some way out if the projects turned bad.  Like Captain Renault, he wanted to be able to say “I’m shocked, shocked to find out there’s . . .[politics] going on here.”

So first,  forget about finding something in writing.  He’s too smart for that.  We will be left with verbal communication, a form that seldom arrives at the recipient’s ear in the same shape it left the speaker’s mouth, especially when it involves intention.   Common phrases are, “Gee.  I never thought you would ______”  Or, “You must have misunderstood what I meant.”

I think this contretemps or clusterfuck if you prefer, will probably end with a repeat of a famous incident.  When Henry II became enraged at the stubborn behavior of his old friend, Thomas Becket, he is reported to have exclaimed, “”What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest.”  So, four knights heard him, tracked Becket down and killed him.  And  Henry wound up doing penance by walking through Canterbury in his underwear and flogging himself.

The mental image of Christy doing the same in Fort Lee and Hoboken New Jersey is downright titillating.  Not going to happen.  It wouldn’t look presidential.


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