Chris Christie: Bridge on the River Lie

ChrisChristie2New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is up to his ass in alligators, and they are going to be one well fed group of reptiles by the time this drama is over.  It seems that Mr. Christie has himself embroiled in a scandal that may well end his political career and leave his aspirations for residence in D.C. nothing more than a fleeting flight of fancy.  In a revenge play that was so unnecessary and so dripping with paranoia that even Richard Nixon would have mustered a rare smile at the idiocy of it, Christie found himself at the center of a national spotlight glare that for a possible Presidential candidate must be as unwelcome as another super storm. 

This has to be one of the quickest morphing stories I have come across in some time.  Even as I type, a new layer is peeled from the onion and what began as a dirty political trick is quickly turning into an inferno of misuse of disaster funds to bolster the man’s popularity  and mayors of other cities coming forward to say that they were the victims of Christie’s nasty political shenanigans.

Last Friday, the New Jersey State Assembly committee investigating the scandal released more than 2,000 pages of documents suggesting politics was behind the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge and showed top Christie aides allegedly tried to stonewall media inquiries into the matter.  The governor quickly dismissed two top advisers for their roles, one a friend going back to high school,  in the scandal and has repeatedly apologized for being “blindsided” by what his aides and appointees were doing.

But apparently it doesn’t stop there. Federal officials are investigating whether Christie improperly used Superstorm Sandy relief funds to produce tourism ads that starred him and his family.  The claims are that these ads amounted to nothing more than glorified campaign ads.  Federal auditors will examine New Jersey’s use of $25 million of the funds for a marketing campaign to promote tourism at the Jersey Shore. 

But the bridge scandal and federal investigation brings with it something he really doesn’t need right now: an excuse to warm up the entire Christie record and revisit his tendencies toward pettiness, vindictiveness and bullying.  

It is a record that makes it easier than it should be to imagine him as the mastermind behind the GWB mess — a political payback to a New Jersey mayor who had refused to endorse the governor’s candidacy. 

The record includes a similar kind of payback to a Rutgers political scientist who saw the funding for his university program, a relatively paltry $169,000, personally vetoed by the governor after they had a disagreement about electoral boundary redistricting. 

It also includes a figurative slap in the face to a Democratic predecessor, Richard Codey, who became the only former governor to lose the protection of his security detail after he was mildly critical of Christie in public. 

And it includes the instances when Christie has taken pleasure in dismissing, denigrating or dressing down actual citizens of New Jersey. 

Best remembered: his infamous snarl at a taxpayer who asked Christie at a televised town hall why he was cutting public school funds while sending his own kids to private school? 

“What’s your name?” Christie demanded. 

“Gayle”, she said. 

“Gayle, IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” he spat back. “I DON’T ASK YOU ABOUT WHERE YOU SEND YOUR KIDS TO SCHOOL, DON’T BOTHER ME ABOUT WHERE I SEND MINE!”

Presidential material ?  Hardly !

 

Keith