Some members of New Jersey’s press corps, along with Senator Loretta Weinberg, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and the Democratic National Committee seem think they finally have an issue to thwart Governor Chris Christie’s rising star. They’re hoping traffic jams in Fort Lee will prevent Christie from becoming President of the United States.
The Star Ledger has an article this morning quoting Democrats and academics saying “the scandal” could hurt Chrisite’s national ambitions.
But questions about the incident have fueled a scandal that even Christie’s masterful team of brand managers can’t make go away.
The Record’s Charles Stile writes that “Christie won’t easily shake GWB flap.”
Stile and The Star Ledger’s reporters have it wrong. Christie deftly accepted “ultimate responsibility” for the mistakes made in Fort Lee last September, while deflecting blame, at his press conference on the matter on Friday. As NJTV’s Michael Aron said on Reporters Roundtable, the issue is ‘fundamentally over.” If the ‘Bridgegate’ story gets any ink at all in 2014 and beyond, it will be deep in the back pages.
It’s doubtful that the subpoenas that Wisniewski, as Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, issued will result in any smoking gun that proves that Christie or anyone in his inner circle other than Port Authority’s Bill Baroni or David Wildstein knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures that tied up traffic in Fort Lee for a few days is September. Even if a smoking gun is discovered, as Hillary Clinton would shout, “What difference does it make?”
Now that Christie is a legitimate presidential contender, the front runner in the early polls, it is perfectly appropriate that the press and his opponents attempt to make mountains out of traffic jams and other mole hills as part of the vetting process for a president. Barack Obama got a pass from the press and his opponents in 2008 and 2012. Look what that got us.