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Helicopter parents

Like Jane Swift of Masschusetts, Chris Christie uses a state helicopter to attend to familial obligations

Gov. Chris Christie's taxpayer-subsidized helicopter ride to his kid's baseball game puts me in mind of another kerfuffle over a high-profile Republican governor, a chopper, and a child.

Massachusetts Lt. Governor Jane Swift helicoptered from her Boston office to her Berkshires home to be with her sick daughter in 1999 and was later pressured into reimbursing the state treasury $1,250.

The resignation of Paul Cellucci in 2001 elevated Swift to acting governor, the state's first-ever female chief executive. This and other distinctions, including her blue-collar roots (Swift's from my hometown, North Adams) and blunt personality (sound familiar?) put her on the national map.

But the chopper fiasco stuck in the public's memory, and other high-handed incidents turned the perceptual tide; a politician who struck many voters and observers as a breath of fresh air seemed, alas, to be singing the same old song (something like "I Me Mine" by the Beatles).

Back in New Jersey, Christie's ill-advised ride on the taxpayers' dime has landed him in hot water, and the Democrats think they smell blood in it. But a new report about the Obama administration and limousines, not to mention memories of the McGreevey administration and helicopters, could cool off the incipient feeding frenzy.

A few words from a governor who easily decrees "shared sacrifice" by teachers, cops, urban students and pretty much anyone who isn't a millionaire also would be most welcome.

"I'm sorry" is a good place to start.