Chris Christie's gotta pay the troll toll
It isn’t often that a politician can go throughout his or her career without some inkling of scandal, trouble or corruption, and unfortunately Chris Christie’s formerly bright star began to fade in early September. It started when Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs, wrote in an e-mail that it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Following closures on the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey, political pundits, citizens and politicians alike questioned the likelihood of Christie’s capability to continue his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. “Bridgegate” may just be the final nail in Christie’s political coffin.
Since his gubernatorial debut in 2010, Christie has been touted as one of the Republican Party’s most popular figures and one of the most authentic politicians out there. That authenticity comes at a price, with many news outlets and pundits labeling him a “bully” who is swift to exact retribution.
According to e-mail records and correspondence, the bridge closures were supposed to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich because he did not support Christie’s bid for governor. It was a childish move by anyone’s standards.
The punishment was ludicrous and tarnished the reputations of both the state of New Jersey and the Port Authority of New Jersey.
To make matters worse for himself, Christie didn’t acknowledge involvement and feigned confusion — claiming to be “misled by staff” — for four days after being confronted with damning e-mails and correspondence from his office. Even Christie’s apology to Sokolich was met with suspicion and worry.
It comes as no surprise that Christie’s approval ratings have also dropped nearly 20 points since the scandal.
This isn’t the first time Christie’s actions have been petty and inappropriate. He shut down the Access to the Region’s Core tunnel project — a project designed to provide critical train access into the core of the Northeast, which would have created thousands of jobs — as a result of inflated projected costs. He has a history of reckless driving, with at least six accidents and 13 recorded traffic violations. He utilizes expensive state helicopters and car services in lieu of public travel and stays in exorbitantly costly hotels like the Four Seasons in Washington on the public tab.
America wants, deserves and admires accountability — something Christie made no strides to give to the public. It doesn’t need a bully, it doesn’t need revenge and most of all, it doesn’t need a politician who refuses to acknowledge participation in an act that should have been his decision in the first place.
Nick Mahon, president of the UA Young Democrats, has a lot to say about Christie.
Following “Bridgegate” Mahon said, “The political corruption and bullying that has come out of Gov. Chris Christie’s office proves that he is unfit for public office, be it president or governor of New Jersey. The people of New Jersey deserve better and I am sure that any higher political ambitions from Christie will be truncated by a backlash from voters.”
The highest office in the land is no place for idle bystanders, much less vengeful schoolyard bullies with penchants for needless public spending. “Bridgegate” might still be under investigation, but Christie’s time pushing around the little guys in politics has come to a close.