My husband and I travel to New England to visit relatives a few times a year. Whenever we cross the border from Pennsylvania into the Garden State, we read the sign aloud, adding our own fake state motto: “Welcome to New Jersey. You got a problem with that?”
I kept thinking of this joke as I heard pundits on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show wonder if the “culture” of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office, his blunt, no-nonsense style, his in-your-face approach, led staff members to believe it was okay to punish the citizenry with traffic jams in order to get back at political opponents.
No, it’s not Chris Christie’s culture. It’s more likely New Jersey’s. Sorry, Jersey residents, but you have to admit: you have a reputation. Or at least, your politics do. To say, as Gov. Christie did at his press conference, that politics ain’t beanbag is an understatement anywhere but especially in New Jersey.
But if the chattering class wants to talk about the corporate culture of an administration leading to bad things, I’m game. Let’s go! How about discussing these questions:
- What kind of culture leads IRS officials to believe it’s okay to target political opponents of the president with audits and hold-ups of tax exempt status?
- What kind of culture leads Department of Justice staff to think it’s a dandy idea to put lives at risk by running guns to Mexico?
- What kind of culture leads to the naming of a news reporter at an aggressive network as a co-conspirator in order to trace a leak?
- What kind of culture leads to blaming the murder of a U.S. ambassador on a little-known video when State Department officials on the scene were telling the administration otherwise?
- What kind of culture leads to bald-faced lies about keeping one’s health plan under the Affordable Care Act when administration officials know otherwise?
- What kind of culture leads to no one being fired when the president’s signature law, the ACA, rolls out with virtually everything going wrong?
- And finally, what kind of cold-hearted steely eyed, don’t-really-connect-with-the-military culture leads a White House lawyer to deny death benefits to grieving military families just to score political points during the government shutdown?
So, yes, let’s talk “corporate culture,” media. I’m all ears.