The story of September’s sudden and dangerous local lane closures is not just about a bridge (busiest in the world), not just about a traffic jam (NJ has those every day, right?) and not just about a dumb decision (ditto). It’s a story about how things are done here in New Jersey, and one that just may shed light on the Jersey governor with his eye on the White House, and what just seems magically to get done for him.
Paragraphs vs. sound-bites: But my concern about this story is that it’s one you have to tell in paragraphs. You have to distinguish Fort Lee’s 5-day shutdown from ordinary gridlock. Nobody died, but you have to make clear that it could easily have happened, on the first day of school, with nobody telling police, fire or ambulances it was coming. And you have to talk about how this isn’t how stuff is supposed to happen, that even minor traffic shifts get big light boards with the date and time it will happen. And you have to track the players; the influential PolitickerNJ “blogger” who’s been Christie’s friend for decades, the former legislator and top Christie appointee who we now see apparently perjured himself a few days ago.
Bad juju: And Gov. Chris Christie, who plays the press like a virtuoso, can just swat all that bad juju away from himself with a simple joke about “working the cones”. He doesn’t get involved in piddling little things. Nyuk, nyuk.
Why this story matters: But it’s worth the country’s attention if Christie’s rise takes him to the White House. And it’s worth knowing if he’s the kind of guy George W. Bush – to whom Christie owes his political career – was, building a case for war on a lie. And it’s worth knowing if Christie’s the kind of guy Richard Nixon was, for whom some goons with government connections magically broke into the Watergate. How crazy it would have been to suggest that such a piddling little thing spread its stink to him. Right?
Maddow: Maddow does a great job telling a national audience – that hasn’t lived with this story, or Chris Christie – why this story may be a big deal:
Short ad. Video totally worth the wait.