Admittedly, I've been a bit out of the loop for the past few days. As I've cruised through the news stations I've heard some here and there about a scandal involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but I just wasn't engaging. This morning I finally plugged in.
I am appalled. As one who has traveled across the George Washington Bridge via Fort Lee more times than I can count and who has been trapped in New York/New Jersey's maddening traffic jams, I just can't get my head around the idea that the governor's staff...with or without his knowledge and approval...intentionally snarled traffic to "punish" the mayor of Fort Lee for his alleged lack of political support. The flippantly-written email by Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kellly saying "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," sent to David Wildstein, one of Christie's top appointees at the agency that controls the bridge, is not hand-slap worthy, is not job-loss worthy, it's criminal. Wildstein's equally flippant "Got it" response is further appalling. Forget about the people just trying to get home who were caught in the supposed new traffic pattern, let's think about the emergency vehicles that couldn't get through to sick and dying patients, or the schools affected by children being delayed, or the wasted gas as cars sat bumper to bumper, or the thousands of other people whose late arrivals affected work and families in a domino effect resulting in who knows what. Whether or not Christie knew about it doesn't really matter. If he didn't know, this begs the question of what else he doesn't know regarding his administration. And if he did know? Shame on you, Governor Christie. Either way, he's got his foot stuck in a political bucket from which his brash "I'm a Jersey boy so suck it up" attitude might not extract him.
Speaking of that brash attitude, some find it "refreshing" and "charming." What, I'd like to know, is refreshing or charming about a politician calling a reporter an idiot when they ask a question at a televised press conference? I guess the insecure grown-ups out there who humiliated kids on the playground think it's funny. I certainly don't.
Governor Christie, let's see if you take your own advice and cry mea culpa, or if you -- like so many other of your ilk -- toss your staffers under the bus so you yourself can crawl out of the muck toward the 2016 presidental run. New Jersey's fictional character Tony Soprano, the murdering yet strangely compelling and likable and yes...brash...mafiaso, was charming. You, governor, are not.
Oh yes, here's a quote for the books: In the mid-1990s, Christie told his then-running mate after being verbally attacked by another politician: "I'm a Sicilian...we don't get mad, we get even."
Staffers, no matter what your governor says at his press conference today, you'd better get a helmet.