You have no doubt heard about the “Bridge Gate” scandal rocking New Jersey politics right now, where senior Christie administration officials allegedly helped close lanes on the busiest bridge in the world as means of punishing a community whose mayor did not endorse Christie for his reelection. There is a federal investigation into Sandy relief aid being unevenly distributed with similar purpose.
As much as a jerk I think Christie can be, I don’t think he had a hand in orchestrating the bridge lane closures or any other potentially illegal means of political retribution, as much as it would please Democrats and liberals across the board for such to be true.
And yet, this scandal has the potential to permanently tarnish the reputation and electability of Christie, especially for the oval office which he clearly seeks and is the front-runner for in his party.
American presidential elections are the most ruthless exercises of democracy the world can witness without fearing war afterward. Barack Obama was beaten blue over his pastor, his birth certificate, his college affiliations, his father’s background, and his race. It’s a miracle he’s president given how much complete bullshit he had to wade through. Not only would Christie have to put up with similar nonsense alongside a grueling primary process, but he now has this relevant and serious political scandal that is questioning his effectiveness and competency as governor, let alone leader of the free world. And that’s assuming he is innocent of any criminal wrong doing.
At worst, Christie went to extraordinary lengths to get revenge on a small time mayor who wouldn’t endorse him in a race that he was heavily favored to win anyway. I feel such petty politics with oblivious realization for the consequences seems beneath a man as ambitious and straight forward as him.
It’s the best case scenario which he should be practically concerned about. At best, Christie cultivated an administrative environment in which his most senior staff members felt comfortable applying pressure to New Jersey communities for political support as a condition for funding or favor because they thought it was a just and noble pursuit. If he didn’t actively build this political culture and denies doing so, then his staff willfully undermined his authority without fear of retribution, without considering the shame and embarrassment it would bring the administration, without considering the loss of effectiveness this brings to the state government, and without considering how terrible this would be for Christie’s political career. Look at the leaders of history and you’ll find these are not the underlying symptoms of successful ascensions to power or greatness.