Chris Christie's career in bullying is over: After Bridgegate, "Christie can’t be Christie anymore," writes David Plotz at Slate. "That's a shame," because we need more corruption in American politics. It's how things get done, Plotz notes: "Minor forms of corruption—votes bought with earmarks, traded favors—create a political flexibility that keeps the entire system from collapsing in moments of crisis." Indeed, the end of earmarks under John Boehner has rendered the House less effective.
Earmarks allow politicians to effectively buy the votes they need to push legislation through; President Obama got Arlen Specter's stimulus backing through an earmark, and LBJ spent his presidency using them. Meanwhile, the ban on earmarks prevented Democrats from getting the votes for gun control reform. The real trouble with Christie: "The closing of the George Washington Bridge lanes was so stupid, so heavy-handed, so public," and he was caught. "It suggests Christie actually isn’t an effective practitioner of kneecap politics," Plotz writes. Click for his full column.