The Bully – Governor Chris Christie?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has found that unlikely place where his ambition has collided with his style (or lack of same) and substance.

He’s presented himself on the national stage as a get-things-done, bi-partisan kind of guy. Recent events regarding lane closures at the George Washington Bridge threaten to tarnish that image in front of the nation.

Chris Christie

This nonsense should have been easily avoidable for a guy who constantly touts his political skills. The long and short of it is as follows.

Last September, when Christie was preparing to bury the Democratic challenger to his re-election, he solicited (maybe sought, maybe coerced) support from Democratic elected officials.

Among them was the mayor of Fort Lee (NJ), the town from which the George washington Bridge crosses into New York City.

That mayor, Mark Sokolich, declined Christie’s entreaties.

Mark Sokolich.Fort Lee.mayor
Mark Sokolich, Mayor Fort Lee New Jersey

Then, on the first day of school, a number of traffic lanes leading to the bridge from Ft. Lee were mysteriously closed.

The bridge to New York City
George Washington Bridge


This set off hours of monstrous delays that lasted several days. Mayor Sokolich was apparently stonewalled when he tried to get answers as to the reason for the closures, and when things would get back to normal. The governor’s “people” on the Port Authority, which oversees the bridge, trotted out the rationale that the closures were part of a traffic study.

Christie, meanwhile, treated questions about the bridge lane closures as an unwarranted intrusion on his time. At one point he jokingly told reporters that he himself moved the cones to close the lanes. Little by little, however, things got serious. First, there was the revelation that there was no traffic study. Then, Christie’s brusque denials aside, the public began to see how far up the food chain the conspiracy to close the lanes went.

That culminated in the release of e-mails showing that top members of Christie’s staff did in fact devise the lane closures as political retaliation for an endorsement not made. This was done in collusion with a couple of Christie appointees to the Port Authority, a couple of whom are no longer there.

On Wednesday, Christie the Bully issued a typically political, “this is unacceptable” statement. On Thursday he’ll meet the media in a classic exercise in damage control from this self inflicted wound.

All of which totally misses the point.

The real question is how a bi-state government agency abuses its patrons on such a grand scale? The Port Authority has long been seen as a refuge for political hacks. These latest revelations reveal it to be a nest of vipers as well.

Sadly, when all the legislative hearings are done and the damage to Christie 2016 assessed by multiple media, the issue of getting rid of agencies that abuse their power will not be seriously addressed.

Too bad.

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6 thoughts on “The Bully – Governor Chris Christie?”

  1. Harriet, spot on as usual.

    mark-* hey man*- “marc from williamsburg” really,really miss your voice on the air. Any plans to make with the mike?doesn’t N.Y. get an apology also? Nj Gov. blubber blather bailing bobbin’
    with his hand picked staff

  2. Since WWRL is gone, I tried watching the local morning news this morning to see what they had to say about this scandal. One of the channel went to a diner in NJ and asked customers their opinions. One man, who had such a smirk on his face, started talking about the federal investigations that haven’t gone anywhere, like Benghazi and the IRS. Apparently he didn’t think Christie was guilty of anything because the federal government is corrupt ?!? Must be the talking points on right wing radio. I could only watch a few more, but of the five people I saw, only one thought Christie had done anything wrong.
    So I guess he’s another right wing martyr, being persecuted by the left wing media. They don’t care what happened, who was hurt or inconvenienced. They don’t care about his administration, that his appointees thought nothing of abusing their power. And the Port Authority probably won’t be made accountable for their role in this scandal.
    This has only endeared him more to his supporters.

  3. Chris Christie is wildly successful but only on the regional level, if that, but his hubris is going to make it that much harder if he intends to run on a national level. Extreme right politicians aren’t really feeling him anyway! Also his bellicose style does not help…

  4. NJ governor claims he knew nothing on the bridge incident. It is interesting to think how people at lower end of the governor’s chain of command would take the initiative on making a call that greatly affected the mass public. Won’t they worry on how their superiors (gov. Christie) would react to an unapproved decision making of this magnitude?(specially when a presidential election is on the horizon).
    If gov. Christie knew nothing, then his subordinates enjoy privileges that would be the envy of many.
    Looking forward to hear you on the air.

  5. Mornings are so boring since you went off the air. As an insomniac, I need radio to keep my thoughts from wandering too far into the land of regrets. I always counted on you to keep my mind engaged in those sleepless moments. I’ve tried WBAI (a few good programs interspersed with a lot of crap) and NPR (all-night BBC dullness — tribal feuds in Mozambique, and oil deposits in the Aleutians — stuff like that). The loss of WWRL and particularly you is a real tragedy for a lot of us.

    In any case, I’m glad I can still know some of your thoughts via the blog, and of course you analyzed the Christie situation exactly right. We need to get rid of the Christies of the world. They are a complete disgrace.

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