I have to apologize for not weighing in sooner on the Chris Christie crisis. I feel as if I have let down my many readers, those of you who don’t feel comfortable forming an opinion until you hear my take. My failure to come to your aid will remain a dark stain on my moral fabric for as long as I live, because, during one of the worst tragedies in the history of the world, I let you down. Because I would not speak, you had no voice.
However, a word in my defense. As you know, I have lately embarked on a mission to become a true wonk, to outwonk the wonkiest, to become even wonkier than Rachel Madcow and Melissa Harry-Perris (who Ta-Nehisi Coates –you can’t make this stuff up-- recently described as “America’s most foremost public intellectual”). When Bridgegate broke I immediately formed profound yet subtly nuanced opinions on the matter, as we public intellectuals are wont to do, and started to write. In order to be a truly wonky public intellectual, I needed a clever play on words involving bridge in my title, “A Bridge Too Far,” or “Christie’s Future: A Bridge to Nowhere.” Something along those lines.
Tragically, all the best puns had been claimed. So I started thinking outside the box (something us wonky public intellectuals are known for). I started chewing on dental implant allusions, but that went nowhere. Guitar references, musical notations, nothing worked, until I hit on the game of bridge, which suited me just fine. Now, if you take time to study the title, “No Trump,” you realize not only is it a bridge term, it is also a brilliant (if I do say so myself) play on words, referring to Donald Trump another man with deep footprints in New Jersey, who three years ago dabbled in presidential politics just as the Big Fella did.
Sorry to bore you with my auto-tooting, but one thing I have learned is wonky public intellectuals leave nothing to chance.
Anyway, back to the steadily unfolding tragedy. Many observers have compared Bridgegate to King Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, though most agree that in terms of bloodshed and self-serving brutality, Herod was a piker compared to Christie. (Consider the timing, though, just after the New Year, right around the Day of Epiphany. A coincidence? Hard to say). It came as a relief that the US Justice Department launched an investigation. “Thank God for Eric Holder,” I thought. “He definitely has our back.”
No doubt the investigators themselves were relieved. It must be dead boring to work in an administration as transparent as this one. What do professional investigators do when there are no scandals to investigate? Hmm, might be worth an essay.
It was not just the Justice Department that rode to the rescue, however. The nation’s media continued to do their job of looking out for the public interest. While some might find their feeding frenzy a tad tawdry, I would like to remind them that the media have a near-sacred duty to root out malfeasance, corruption and abuse of power whenever it occurs. They are sworn to dig to the root of the scandal, while showing no deference for the office or the man or woman occupying it. I warrant that the media’s attention to duty contributes to the depth of affection and admiration we, the American people, hold for our elected officials.
With each passing day it becomes ever more clear that Chris Christie has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. He’s a bully, a thug. Is there a smoking gun? Probably not. Christie didn’t need to give an order. It was enough that he was unhappy. A bully’s henchmen don’t need to be told what to do. There’s a reason they keep their brass knuckles in their coat pockets, and that reason is they’re there to be used.
So, again, with this breach of justice, this example of using the power of the state as a cudgel to punish those who disagree with him, Chris Christie has shown himself to be unfit for higher office. This country does not need, and the people will not abide, a bitter partisan occupying the White House. The job of president is too important to leave in the hands of a small-minded, petty man. The president must be president of all Americans, not just those who share his ideology.
Imagine Christie in the White House. He would divide people on the basis of race and class, he would no doubt refer to the opposing party as his enemies. He would use the Justice Department, the National Labor Relations Board, even the IRS, as his private militia. He would probably refer to the White House as MY white House. He might even refer to the military as MY soldiers. He might say things like, “I can’t ask these soldiers to fight and die for me.” No, Christie would be a disaster as president.
But once again, we are fortunate we have the media to run interference for us. I have no doubt that they would not shirk their duty to reveal the sort of unsavory behavior as that described above, if someone of that ilk were in fact to be elected President.