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article imageOp-Ed: Gov. Christie denies, denies, but should own traffic-jam scandal

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 13, 2014 in Politics
There once was this history, this tradition of honor, whereby a politician took responsibility if his government intentionally created misdeeds to harm constituents. New Jersey governor Chris Christie isn't the first to ignore it, he's merely the latest.
Gov. Christie spent a whopping 108 minutes last week talking to news cameras about how he is innocent in the traffic-jam scandal, how he was "blindsided" by, and "heartbroken" to hear of, the events last September that saw his staff members intentionally close lanes on the George Washington Bridge. In doing so, 'Bridgegate', as it's being dubbed, ensnared countless innocent commuters in traffic-jam hell.
Christie staff members clog traffic
It was been reported a death may have resulted when an ambulance was caught in traffic, though that hasn't been confirmed. All of this chaos was created by members of Christie's administration to take revenge on the Democrat mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, Mark Sokolich, who'd declined to support Governor Christie's re-election campaign.
It is astonishing that Christie could not have known these events went down, the emails back and forth, the gloating before, during and after, the number of those involved, including his appointees to the Port Authority. Given his long history of taking revenge upon political opponents, there are many who do not believe he knew nothing.
And even if he wasn't fully aware he had to have known something of it. It is arguable that he asked to be kept out of the loop to avoid the fallout if it became known, as it has. He was, after all, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the office of the president in 2016 and so would be all the more attached to the notion of avoiding the fallout. He may have wanted revenge but hardly at the cost of his future.
Republicans muddy traffic scandal waters
There are Republicans rallying to Christie's support. Carl Rove is trying to deflect from the controversy by bringing up Benghazi, saying this scandal is getting more play in the press than the attack in Libya. That is false, but the likes of Rove and Rudy Giuliani do not care about facts, they care about keeping alive the hopes of someone who can bridge gaps (pardon the pun) and attract a broad base for 2016.
Another Republican tactic to deflect from the traffic-jam scandal is to claim it pales next to the IRS scandal and Obama's alleged involvement. But despite intense scrutiny there has been no connection yet made to the President. Further, the IRS was merely doing its job, targeting groups that were not eligible for tax exempt status under rule 501 (c) (4) because they were attempting to use taxpayer money to fund a partisan political cause.
That more Tea Party groups were examined than Liberal groups (there were Liberal groups targeted, though Republicans tend to ignore that) is a function of the fact that more of those groups were trying to dupe the taxpayer.
Indeed, before the IRS "scandal" hit the news, the New York Times wrote that: "Almost all of the biggest players among third-party groups, in terms of buying television time in House and Senate races since August, have been 501(c) organizations, and their purchases have heavily favored Republicans...They include 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations, like Crossroads...the top spender on Senate races, and Americans for Prosperity, another pro-Republican group that has been the leader on the House side."
Thanks to those groups getting a tax exempt status they did not deserve, the American public was paying for their partisan political ads. Sounds like something the IRS should have been looking into, doesn't it?
Gov. Chris Christie: 108 minutes of denial
Republicans need to put aside allegiances to a governor who has let them down and accent their allegiances to their country. If politics is getting so out-of-hand-nasty that functionaries of a party are using partisan feelings to harm opponents, not caring about what they're doing to the citizenry, then the problem inherent in partisan politics, the 'us' versus 'them' equation, needs badly to be tempered.
In addition to condemning this act, another way to help the poisoned process of politics to become more civil and healthy is to get back to the days of a leader taking responsibility for an atrocious act and resigning. It's not just Republicans who've been ignoring this, but because of the callous and grave nature of this crime this is an opportunity to catch great attention while restoring an honorable and useful tradition.
For regardless of his level of awareness, Gov. Christie let a flagrantly roguish attack on his own constituents occur in his office. A great leader would not have been standing in front of cameras for 108 minutes declaring his innocence but standing there for 8 minutes, tendering his resignation.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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