After winning a landslide re-election in November, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is finding his administration at the center of an ever-growing scandal. Rumors have swirled that the Christie Administration orchestrated the days of crippling lane closure-related traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge in August as a form of political payback.
It is believed Christie’s office may have ordered the Fort Lee lockup to punish Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich for refusing to endorse the governor in his re-election bid against Democrat Barbara Buono. While the Christie and his team have been denying any wrongdoing – claiming the traffic nightmare, which may have led to the death of at least one woman, was the result of a “traffic study” – new evidence links Christie’s senior officials directly to the road closures.
While the New York and New Jersey tabloids have been referring to this scandal as “Bridge Gate” among other things, a listener from North Carolina, Mason, called into the radio program this morning and had a better name for the incident: Fat and Furious.
“I don’t know how many Republicans really want somebody like Chris Christie, but this Chris Christie/Fort Lee story is reason number 1 through 100 on why he’s a bad guy. This guy is so Nixonian. This guy is a progressive, and that’s the key here. He is a progressive. He’s not a conservative,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “He likes all of the levers of government, and he will use any of the government levers to punish the people who stand against him. That’s not what a conservative or a libertarian or… a liberal – as long as you’re not a Progressive – you will see what Chris Christie is doing is wrong.”
Since this new information has been released, the Christie Administration has not released any full-fledged denials, and Christie’s public appearances were cancelled Wednesday. Instead, the Governor released the following statement:
What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.
“Conservatives need to run from Chris Christie,” Glenn declared. “This, again, is the quintessential example of why I’m against him. I can’t believe it, because he said all of the right things when he got in… He was great… Oh, no, how foolish were we?”
Christie is widely considered to be the favorite for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, and he has performed well in the polls against his likely challenger, Hillary Clinton. It is unclear what impact, if any, this scuffle will have on his chances, but Glenn thinks the consequences will be damaging.
“Here’s the good news. I think this just ended his political career for president. Here’s my guess: It is over,” Glenn concluded. “[There will be] a press conference, and it will be over, because I can keep my powder dry. I’d wait until he decides to launch his campaign. If I’m on the other side, I say, ‘Shh, shh.’ And let it go away. And when he announces his campaign just torpedo him with this. That’s what I would do. If I’m Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, you don’t think this is the dream come true?”
Below are the communications between Christie’s office and the Port Authority as obtained by the Wall Street Journal: