- - Thursday, January 9, 2014

Harassing commuters as payback is no way for grown-up officials to act. Yet the scandal that humiliated Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey could teach President Obama a thing or two about how to take responsibility when improper and unethical official behavior, and perhaps even crimes, take place on his watch.

At a marathon news conference Thursday in Trenton, Mr. Christie apologized to his New Jersey constituents and everybody else for four days of traffic jams at the New Jersey end of the George Washington Bridge.

The jams were apparently contrived to punish the town of Fort Lee with commuter traffic to and from New York City because Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor refused to endorse Mr. Christie’s re-election in November.

Heads have rolled. Bridget Anne Kelly, Mr. Christie’s deputy chief of staff, was sent packing, and the governor quashed his campaign manager’s dream of becoming chairman of the state Republican Party. Both have been implicated.

The governor denied a part in the stunt but rightly insisted that “I am responsible for what happens on my watch — the good and the bad.”

At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the words “You’re fired” have not been heard, at least not lately, even when spite and incompetence cost lives.

From Fast and Furious to the IRS’ intimidation of conservatives to Benghazi and the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, nothing is more secure than a place in the Obama administration, which defines incompetence in government.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. was not sacked after the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal that put thousands of guns in the hands of Mexican drug dealers and led to the death of a Border Patrol agent.

Lois Lerner, the career civil servant linked to IRS malfeasance, got a four-month paid vacation (aka “administrative leave”) before she was allowed to retire with no shrinkage of a generous federal pension.

Kathleen Sebelius remains secretary of health and human services despite creating the world’s most traffic-jammed website, Healthcare.gov.

Far from holding anyone accountable, Mr. Obama has called suggestions that these scandals are actually scandals “fake” and “phony.”

Mr. Christie says he was “embarrassed and humiliated,” as indeed he should have been. Absent a smoking gun, we’ll take Mr. Christie at his word that he didn’t order the dirty trick. Mr. Christie’s re-election was never in doubt, and an inconsequential Democratic mayor’s endorsement was not going to make the slightest difference in the election result.

Democrats think they smell blood in the Hudson River.

“Wow! Time for a federal grand jury,” tweeted state Sen. Ray Lesniak of Elizabeth, N.J. “This smells of corrupt use of government authority at the highest levels.”

Separately, Justice Department prosecutors are looking into the matter, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey said. They’re conveniently silent about the accumulating Obama scandals.

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