I am willing to accept New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s word that he didn’t personally order the closure of traffic lanes to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., for not being willing to endorse Christie’s re-election bid. But unless it can be shown that his staffers had personal vendettas against the Fort Lee mayor, one must conclude that they believed they were furthering Christie’s political interests in closing the lanes.

Each elected official, Christie included, creates operating values and sets a tone through words and actions. Staffers note this, and their behavior is guided by these values and tone. I, for one, find the behavior in New Jersey uncomfortably remindful of President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list.”