The “flap” over the closing of a bridge in Ft. Lee, New Jersey,
is just that. If indeed the bridge was closed, as e-mail
documents suggest it was, as a form of political retribution,
the action itself was wrong and indefensible.
Since its alleged perpetrators were members of the
administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, or
his appointees, he bears an indirect responsibility for it,
as all chief executives do. Persons participating in this action
ought to be, and some so far have been, fired.
On the other hand, let’s be blunt about why this has become
such a national media controversy. Governor Christie is the
frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination, and easily
the most feared GOP figure by the Democratic leadership.
Visiting Washington, DC last September, I spoke with several
Democrats, including one elected official who told me his
party’s strategy was to portray Mr. Christie as a “bully” early
and often. All the Democrats, officials and strategists, echoed
the same theme of trying to create an image of the New Jersey
governor as a “bully.” The bridge “flap’ only gave them an
opening salvo in this public relations campaign.
Chris Christie is easily the most gifted new politician in the
nation. His communications skills are remarkable, and
another demonstration of this was his response to bridge
“flap.” Democrats have every reason to fear him, and the
establishment media which panders to them, and have done
so for years, predictably are trying to make this into a big deal.
Although I would not defend Mr. Christie if it were shown
beyond doubt that he ordered, or even suggested, the bridge
“flap” as a petty retribution, that is apparently not the case.
Mr. Christie is a very aggressive politician. He has acted
fearlessly before special interest groups where other
politicians (of both parties) fear to tread. He wins
virtually all these confrontations with guts, charm and a
brilliant in-your-face psychology. It has made him a very
successful governor of New Jersey. In a liberal Democratic
state, he recently won a landslide victory with the support
of many Democratic politicians and liberal groups. He is,
in a word, a phenomenon.
As we approach 2016, and considering the current timid
and feckless foreign policy of the United States in a
violent and dangerous international political landscape,
it might well be that Mr. Christie would be the ideal person
to restore the nation’s strength and role in the world after
Mr. Obama retires. No tyrant, dictator, or threatening
enemy seems likely to intimidate Chris Christie.
Speaking of the current president, where was the media
outrage when Mr. Obama, hosting Prime Minister
Netanyahu of Israel in the White House, deliberately
ignored him by going to dinner and then having him
ushered out by the back door. A case of political retribution?
So the lesson we have is that when anything controversial is
done by Mr. Obama or Democrats, it is heroic or amusing, and
not worth mentioning, but when it is done by Republicans, it
is abominable and a national scandal.
If Governor Christie does intend to run for president, he
must now know, that his opponents will be relentless in
trying to discredit him, using the media to magnify every
thing he does. This was only the overture to a brutal
campaign to prove him a “bully” and unworthy of being
president. This means he must rise to the occasion again
and again, and it also means that he must keep his own
house in order, something he obviously has not always done.
If he is indeed to be the next president of the United States, he
will have to prove himself at each challenge. That he has the
communication skills and personality to do so is not be
doubted by any fair political observer. Those who are glibly
writing his political obituary might well regret their
Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.