Of Motes & Beams: Bridgegate Edition
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
Unlike many of my friends, I am not a particular fan of Chris Christie. Sure, I enjoyed watching him take apart that preposterous teacher who, with tremulous voice, complained that the state of New Jersey wasn’t paying enough of her bills. Delicious, I think, and sound policy to boot.
But notwithstanding his embarrassing protestations to the contrary, I think he is a bully. That’s not the reason I am not part of the Christie fan club, though. To my mind, Christie has about as much chance of being president as all those other establishment candidates who have been paraded before us as “mainstream,” “not divisive,” etc. Remember Bob Dole? Remember John McCain? Remember Mitt Romney? We were supposed to rally round them and eschew other candidates because the other candidates were “extreme” or “unelectable.”
Let’s grant that the establishment candidates were not “unelectable.” But none was elected. Will we never learn?
I also think Chris Christie is very unsound on a lot of issues. He waffled, in a distinctly Islamophilic direction, over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. I’m told by my New Jersey friends that he has failed to rein in state taxes. The aroma of big-government, machine politics clings resolutely to Chris Christie.
That said, there is something surreal about the reaction to the revelations about the George Washington Bridge lane closures. Really, it is like something out of Jonathan Swift.
Aide the first: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Aide the second: “Got it.”
Yikes. And Friday’s allegation by the lawyer for aide number 2, former Port Authority official David Wildstein, that Christie knew about the lane closures when they were happening has the salivary glands of Christie’s enemies working overtime.
Christie denies the allegation. He’s a smart guy, and I suspect the record will bear him out. In the end, I’d wager, the most we’ll discover is that Christie had a Henry II “Will-no-one-rid-me-of -this-turbulent-priest” scene:
Gov (muttering to himself): “Thou lily-livered poltroon mayor of Fort Lee! Darest thou refuse to support my reelection? I will do such things -- what they are, I know not yet. Mayhap you’ll find the traffic around your puny town of pell mell havoc and confusion.”
Well, something like that. And Lady Bridget of Bridgegate, she of the ill-advised email, might have thought, “If it were done when tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly.” Or words to that effect.
So what do we have here? There’s been lots of sanctimonious sniffing from the commentariat and (natch) Christie’s political rivals. “The worst example of a petty political vendetta,” quoth the New York Daily News.” Then there’s the New Jersey Star-Ledger, which has thundered that Christie ought to resign or be impeached if David Wildstein’s allegations turn out to be true.
Do you really think so? What is it, exactly, that Christie is accused of? Creating a traffic jam? No, not quite. Ordering a traffic jam? No, that’s not quite right either. Being irritated with the mayor of Fort Lee, who declined to endorse his reelection bid, and wishing to get back at him somehow and then not minding when he was embarrassed with some really bad traffic over the George Washington Bridge?
That last comes pretty close to what the governor of New Jersey is accused of.
Pretty heinous, eh? I mean, you never see bad traffic on the George Washington Bridge. And of course, no politicians ever indulge in political pay-back.
Governor implicated in traffic jam.
Political opponents demand impeachment.
How’s that for a headline?
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, the president of the United States publicly declares he is willing to contravene the Constitution in order to achieve his agenda. He’s been on that jog for quite a while now, and his State of the Union address last week reinforced his out-of-touch imperial ambitions. Some are joking — some joke! — that he appears to think of himself as a sort of secular Trinity, embodying in his own person the three branches of government.
So what do we have here?