The one Republican politician I actually had some respect for, the guy who fought for Sandy relief and stood arm in arm (almost) with our President, the candid, in-your-face Governor Chris Christie may have fallen from grace. What he first dismissed last year by saying he wasn’t on the phone or setting up cones in traffic lanes, suggesting he knew nothing about the traffic nightmare on the George Washington Bridge, has come back to bite him in the butt. Another little lesson about emails – they can become news headlines very easily.
‘Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Ann Kelly, an aide to the Gov wrote to David Wildstein.
Wildstein, a Port Authority executive replied, “got it. ”
Ten little words that could cut short the political ambitions of Christie. I envision a bunch of Greek gods pulling strings to snarl our piddling, sadly human lives. All because a Democratic mayor in Fort Lee didn’t endorse Christie? Closing highway lanes as political retribution might have been brushed off as just another traffic jam, until we hear about life threatening delays in EMT response times.
But this is more about a culture of bullying in the Garden State. Christie sometimes has to be restrained from taking on his critics, physically restrained! His YouTube videos document it. “Walk on” he shouts at someone on the Boardwalk…and if he doesn’t walk, well we all know what that means. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/08/chris-christies-problem-is-that-hes-really-truly-a-bully/
Quid pro quo is something we assume in politics. Oh yes, even in America folks. In my adopted genteel state of VA, our retiring Republican Governor accepted gifts galore from one of his donors, as did his wife and children. Did his office favor certain legislation pertaining to said donor’s business? On the docket right now is ethics reform, along with mental health issues. Are you biting at the bit waiting for House of Cards to return to Netflix?
In an Atlantic article last year, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/jersey-boys/309019/ the author explores Christie’s adoration of his idol Bruce Springsteen. His memory of seeing the Boss early in his career, a union-supporting-Democrat who still does not even speak to him, serves to explain his ability to compartmentalize his politics with his passion.
“There was this moment early on when I realized that Corzine just didn’t understand New Jersey,” Christie explains. “It was a benefit show at the Count Basie Theatre, in Red Bank—it was the first time that Bruce did whole albums through. It was the best show I’ve ever seen. It’s a small venue, maybe 600 or 700 people. I’m U.S. attorney then, I’m thinking about running for governor, and I’m in the front row of the balcony. Corzine is governor and he’s in the front row. And he left during the encores. He just left. You could see him look at his watch. He left during ‘Raise Your Hand’—Bruce is on top of the piano screaming—and it just struck me that unless there’s an emergency, which I found out later there wasn’t, you don’t leave. You just don’t leave.”
Being a Jersey Girl, having watched the Bride’s ballet recitals at the Basie in Red Bank and worked out next to the Boss in Shrewsbury, I have one piece of advice for the great Governor. Don’t cancel anymore public appearances, and get some anger management people into Trenton. Bullying doesn’t become you.