Prosecutor, Heal Thyself
An item in the Week in the December 5 issue begins: “If there’s anything more New Jersey than having a corrupt political figure create artificial traffic troubles to torment a political rival for no obvious end than sadistic enjoyment, we do not know what it is.” One thing that’s more New Jersey was the near-universal response in the state when it was first reported that Chris Christie’s “traffic survey” had slowed traffic at the George Washington Bridge’s Fort Lee exit to a crawl: “How can they tell?” The surrounding area is notorious for having New Jersey’s worst traffic, and that’s a distinction that we Garden State residents do not take lightly (in fact, Fort Lee’s traffic was recently rated worst in the U.S. by a trucking-industry group). Adding congestion to Fort Lee is like carrying coals to Newcastle, or toxic waste to Linden.
Or corruption to Trenton. Another thing we take seriously in New Jersey is our crooked politicians, and here, sad to say, Chris Christie barely even makes the list. Jailing New Jersey politicians has become a wearisome ritual, like grounding your 17-year-old for staying out past curfew, and many of them were put away by Christie himself, in his days as a U.S. Attorney. He presumably knows where the bodies are buried, and how to run a payoff scheme — which makes the Fort Lee affair even more puzzling, because Jon Corzine, Jim McGreevy, Bob Torricelli, and Bob Menendez all got something for their misdeeds, but Christie’s scheme paid off in neither love nor money. That’s the second thing everyone in New Jersey asked about Chris Christie and Bridgegate: “What was in it for him?” Or as Thomas More might have said: “It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . but for Fort Lee?”