Bridging the gap used to be NOLA based car dealer Ronnie Lamarque’s slogan. Maybe they still use it, but they’ve moved on the world of Ronnielogues and such. Lamarque is a larger than life character, he’s owned race horses, sings in his own commercials, and is such a major league douchebag that his ex-wife Carmela put out a contract on his life. He kept the dealerships while she copped a plea and became something of a cult hero locally. Is anyone surprised that a car dealer is a louse and a creep? I thought not…
Where am I going with this dizzy spin down memory lane? The Chris Christie political revenge traffic jam story, that’s where. He and his minions are giving an entirely new meaning to the term bridging the gap with all the gaps in their story and, even worse, their logic. Christie’s defenders keep saying that he’s too smart to have had anything to do with this petty and idiotic mess. I heard that a lot during Watergate: Tricky Dick was too smart to send bozos with CIA ties to burglarize the DNC. He wasn’t so, he did. Is this a Watergate level scandal? Hell no, but I love talking about my original political bete noir and use any pretext to do so. Besides, smart people do stupid things all the time.
I don’t know whether Chris Christie was personally involved in the boffo Bridge Closure payback earlier this year. And I find it very hard to believe he got his fingerprints on it. But he’s managing so far to play into the hands of his political opponents and all national Democrats in the way he’s handling the story. In fact, he’s doing so so completely that I suspect he’s in a situation in which he’s simply not characterologically capable of behaving otherwise.
First, there’s dismissing the story as no big deal. Whether that’s true or not is a subjective judgment. But if your cronies really did massively inconvenience a whole city as part of a political payback that actually is a pretty big deal – and one that raises specific vulnerabilities for Christie and he tries to move on to the national stage.
Second, don’t make false statements that are actually secondary to the story itself. If he ordered his friends to do this (something for which there’s no direct evidence and I can’t imagine it went down that way) then, okay, maybe he just has to deny that. But saying that Fort Lee officials didn’t say anything about the traffic jams at the time seems easily refutable. Why burn through credibility on something like that, especially since it’s not clear that complaints like this would make their way up to the governor’s office.
Governor Pufferfish’s appeal is lost on me but it’s based on his reputation as a blunt, direct, no bullshit tough guy. Stand up guys from Jersey don’t play rope-a-dope, they come out swinging and can take a punch. Christie is squirming, prevaricating and acting like the sort of weasel politician he claims to disdain.
I’m not sure how the bridge affair will play with the cornfed evangelicals who attend the Republican caucus in Iowa but it’s not likely to help Christie’s cause. If anyone out there believes Christie’s yarn, I’ve got a bridge for sale. The George Washington Bridge to be precise.
I’ll give Bruce Springsteen the last word with this song about small time crooks from Jersey who have a meeting across the river. I bet Governor Fat Fuck knows this one:
Yeah, I know, I took artistic license, the guys in the song took the tunnel. My story still makes a helluva lot more sense than Christie’s…