Monday, February 3, 2014

Chris Christie and the George Washington Bridge Over Troubled Watergate Scandal

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

My Dear America:

                                          In A World Gone Mad

                                           Chris Chistie is Sad


                                            and Embarassed 

The Super Bowl is over now and New Jersey can get back to finding out what their Governor Knew and when he knew it regarding the September shutdown of two lanes of traffic over four days on the George Washington Bridge separating Fort Lee, New Jersey from New York City.

Clearly this story of lane closures on the George Washington Bridge would have been nothing but a local story if it were not for two things.  One,The George Washington Bridge is a main thoroughfare into probably the most important city in the world.  Two, The Governor of New Jersey was, before this scandal occurred, one of the top contenders for the Republican Nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 Election.  Now this terribly tainted politician will be lucky to be elected Dogcatcher in 2016.

What already seems obvious to me in this ugly and embrassing scandal is that Chris Christie's reputation as a Political Bully has been well deserved. 

Clearly Chris Christie has earned his bully boy reputation by repeatedly showing his ugliness to many of his constituents over the course of his Governorship of New Jersey.  Many New Jersey residents including teachers, parents, politicians and reporters have had the low honor and lack of privilege of being called an "Idiot" or worse by Governor Christie.

To me, as one who has been obsessed with "Watergate" since the Seventies, I am fascinated by some of the similarities between the Watergate Scandal and the Bridgegate Scandal.  

For one thing it was never necessary for either Richard Nixon or Chris Christie to do anything wrong or cause a scandal.  They were both landslide vote getters at the time they tried to cover up illegal actions.  

Both Nixon and Christie seemed to feel entitled to do whatever they wanted in their administrations and to punish people who they felt did not bend to genuflect to their Meglomania.

Both Nixon and Christie were well known to be control freaks who one would certainly assume would know what was going on in their administrations.

Both Nixon and Christie, whether or not they had approved the initial illegal activities by their staffs in the end tried to cover up the illegal activities.

Nixon and his administration tried to over up the Watergate Break in by firing his White House Counsel, John Dean and placing the entire blame of Watergate on Dean's shoulders.

Christie seems to be taking a chapter out of Nixon's playbook by distancing himself from David Wildstein, the Christie's appointee, whose E Mails between himself and Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly show involvement in the lane closings.  Now, after Wildstein's Lawyer in a letter to the Port Authority indicates Christie involvement in the lane closings, Christie has taken his distancing between himself and Wildstein much further.  In a memo sent to selected Christie insiders, suggestions are made regarding how to implement a scorched earth policy with regard to David Wildstein.  This memo indicates a willingness to destroy David Wildstein's reputation in every ugly way possible including stating that David Wildstein was not liked in high school.  Wildstein and Christie were high school acquaintances, although now Christie claims he barely knew Wildstein in high school.

Clearly what the Bridgegate scandal shows is that Christie's ugliness is not just skin deep.  Even if Christie was not personally involved in ordering the closing of the lanes on the George Washington Bridge, there are other matters which have come up as a result of the lane closures that to my mind are far more disturbing than closing those lanes for four days.

First of all, if the lanes were closed to punish the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey for not supporting Christie in his 2013 campaign that is disturbing enough.  Why in the hell should a Democratic Mayor of any city in New Jersey be expected to endorse the Republican Candidate for Governor?

In addition to political retribution against the Fort Lee Mayor, as a result of the GW Bridge Scandal some poking around by reporters has unearthed some other tales of Political abuse of Democratic Mayors in New Jersey.

Mayor Stephen Fulop of Jersey City was even mentioned in one of the Bridgegate E Mails.  When reporters went to talk with Mayor Fulop they found out that after Fulop's election he was told by representatives of Governor Christie that the Governor was willing and anxious to work with Mayor Fulop in every way possible.  Indeed, a day was set aside by the Governor's Office for several representatives of New Jersey Government Agencies to meet with Fulop and begin helping him in every way they could, Fulop was told.  Just a short time before Fulop was scheduled to meet with the several representatives from the state Fulop was asked whether he would agree to support Governor Christie in his Re Election bid.  Fulop advised the representative of the Governor's office that he was not willing to support Christie in the Governor's race and within days all of the state agency representatives who had been scheduled to meet with Fulop canceled their previously scheduled meetings with him.  When Mayor Fulop tried to recontact these NJ Agency reps he was unable to reach them and reschedule.

Also Dawn Zimmer, Mayor of Hoboken claims that she was advised by high ranking Christie officials that if she did not support a land deal with the Rockefeller Group that Hurricane Sandy funds for Hoboken could be adversely affected. 

These intimidation and extortion tactics seem to be business as usual for the Christie Administration.  Why is that?

While we're at it, Where was the New Jersey State and National Democratic Party in 2013 when Barbara Buono (a very good candidate) was running her lonely campaign for Governor of New Jersey with little in the way of money or support forthcoming for her from her party?  Why couldn't some of the Democratic Party All Stars like Barack and Hillary stop by the state to help her?

And by the way what was up with those Democratic Mayors who did support Christie in his bid for re election?

And how did Christie get away with spending enormous sums of Hurricane Sandy funds on the "Stronger than the Storm" commercials featuring Christie and his family that ran constantly during the middle of his re election Campaign in 2013.

What we are left with in January of 2014 is a sitting Governor who is spending a fortune from the state on legal representation and a legislature that is doing the same, while David Wildstein can't seem to get the Port Authority to pay his legal bills.  No wonder he is angry.

Wildstein is, after all, the John Dean sacrificial lamb in this latest ugly New Jersey version of Watergate.

Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher