It’s been a week now since Chris Christie was forced to face the scandal that has come to be known as “Bridgegate.” And as the dust from this political payback has settled, heads have rolled and top people within his administration have been
terminated thrown under the bus of political expediency.
During the post-mortem of these events, an interesting colloquy has been developing within Conservative circles. From talk radio to FOX news, talking heads have expressed very little concern over Bridgegate. Instead, they seem to be more interested in how the media is “over-reporting” the Christie scandal while essentially ignoring Obama’s scandals et al. And while media bias and/or hypocrisy is a legitimate gripe, it misses the seriousness of Bridgegate. And it ends up providing the same kind of cover for Christie that they deplore in the mainstream media when they cover for Obama.
Bridgegate is just as bad as any of Obama’s scandals. Just like Obama, Christie’s office engaged in political payback against his enemies. Just like Obama, he claims that he wasn’t aware of things until he read it in the newspaper. Just like Obama, the people responsible will be held accountable.
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” said the governor in a press conference inside the state house Thursday. “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.” (emphasis mine)
Personally, I don’t believe for a minute that Chris Christie didn’t know anything about this. Bridget Anne Kelly wasn’t some part-time mailroom flunky who Christie had never met. She was the Deputy Chief of Staff which means that her primary responsibility is to assist the top executive (Christie) in carrying out the company’s (governor’s) mission. This was NOT someone likely to go rogue in such a politically dangerous manner.
But let’s just say that Christie is telling the truth about not knowing anything about this. Shouldn’t that still raise a few questions in your mind? For example, wouldn’t that be evidence that Christie fails when it comes to selecting his inner circle or that he is a poor manager of the most vital positions within his organization? Since attitude reflects leadership, wouldn’t it mean that he’s responsible for creating an environment where this type of behavior would be tolerated, if not expected?
If those questions sound familiar, they should. Because they sound an awful lot like the questions we have about Obama. Bridgegate, or Bridget-gate as defenders of Christie have started calling it, is no different than IRS-gate, NSA-gate, Benghazi-gate, etc. New Jersey hardball politics and Chicago-styled hardball politics are two sides of the same coin.
Conservatives want to give Christie credit for “taking action” for terminating Kelley, as well as forcing his two-time campaign manager Bill Stepian to take his name out of the running to lead New Jersey’s Republican party. He probably would have terminated his good friend David Wildstein, who was given an executive job with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that didn’t previously exist, but he resigned when this scandal hit the fan in December, 2013.
Speaking of which, doesn’t Christie giving a friend a pretend job in government sound similar to Obama’s use of czars to give his friends the same thing?
By the way, since this whole thing blew up in Christie’s face, he is now under investigation for doing something else Obama has become known for: campaigning with taxpayer money. Obama does his using Air Force One, while Christie used Hurricane Sandy funds to produce commercials that featured him and his family in tourism ads, which just happened to be broadcast during his re-election campaign. What a weird coincidence, huh?
One of the reasons the Strident Conservative enshrined Chris Christie into the G.O.P. Hall of Shame was the BFF relationship he developed with Obama after the Hurricane Sandy disaster. An action that not only bolstered Obama in the 2012 Presidential election during a time when Romney was gaining or leading in many polls, but it also laid the foundation for Christie’s 2013 re-election. He was just too much like Obama for our taste.
Political payola and political payback are just as bad when it’s done by a Republican as it is by a Democrat. And when Conservatives try to change the topic by pointing out the double-standard used by the media in covering such scandals, they become the very things we detest about politics and the media.
The bottom line is this: Christie’s Bridgegate scandal is just as bad as Obama’s scandals.
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