Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Bridge Too Far

The indictments of Bridget Kelly, former deputy chief of staff to New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni over the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013, coupled with the guilty plea of  former interstate capital projects director David Wildstein, a Christie confidante, for his involvement in the scandal have, for now, left Christie himself off the hook. With more information expected to come out in the near future, though, Christie can hardly put this scandal - which involved closing lanes headed to the George Washington Bridge to cause traffic tie-ups and to embarrass the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, the New Jersey terminus of the bridge, for his refusal to endorse Christie's re-election bid - behind him.  Some commentators think that Christie could be indicted or implicated if and when the other shoe drops.  So far, the investigation has caused him to delay the start of his presidential bid, and the evolving nature of this scandal (Kelly and Baroni have pleaded not guilty) may be harder for Christie to get his campaign off the ground.
Even if he's not directly involved in what the media call "Bridgegate," the fact that Christie has inspired and encouraged in his administration the sort of intimidation tactics that Kelly, Baroni and Wildstein used against Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich shows how bad the culture of the Christie administration is when it comes to dealing with others.  Christie's whole attitude - his brashness, his pushiness, and his indifference to others - hasn't played well with potential Republican primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.  With his star fading, he ought to consider forgetting about the Presidency and go back to governing New Jersey. We in New Jersey need a full-time governor who will tackle the state's many problems, not a figurehead.  This isn't Texas.
And please, fellow media creatures, stop calling this scandal Bridgegate.  It's not a clever name, and it makes it sound like the scandal involved the toll booths.              

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