When it comes to politics, they tell you to be ready to get your hands dirty. This, after all, is considered the "dirty game." In America, a land of bipartisan politics, the dirt often stems out of something gone awry in the "you scratch my back and I scratch yours" game. And this brings us to our talking point right now -- the Chris Christie Bridge Scandal. Before we begin analyzing the entire incident like some CSI team, let us just look the sequence of events that led to what happened.
Facts -- Gov Chris Christie is a Republican while the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ, Mark Sokolich, is a Democrat. You might assume that that itself is reason for a natural feud between the two, but the truth is, since Christie was running an administration of bipartisanship, he also had the support of a number of Democrats. So why did Christie's office allegedly choose Fort Lee bridge to create a lane closure that brought traffic to a standstill that risked the safety of thousands of commuters? The answer is, backs were not scratched properly. Sokolich did not lend his support to Christie's nomination in the 2013 New Jersey gubernatorial election.
Typical of political drama unfolding in the Garden State, almost like a plot out of The Sopranos, August 13th saw an email being shot out of Bridgette Anne Kelly's account to David Wildstein, a senior official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that read -- "Time for some traffic problems at Fort Lee" that received an immediate reply saying "Got it." For those who are not familiar with the Christie office, Kelly is the deputy chief of staff to Gov. Christie.
...And what followed
The result was two out of the three lanes of the upper line in the George Washington Bridge being shut and causing heavy delays for local traffic. In the ensuing delays, a Florence Genova of Fort Lee died of cardiac arrest because emergency paramedics could not reach her on time. Moreover, the search for a missing 4 year old child was also delayed due to the lane closure.
What people have to say
First and foremost, Chris Christie apologized for the incident but he denied any knowledge of it. How true that is, only remains to be seen after investigations on the basis of subpoenas on emails and text messages within his office are over. Mark Sokolich called the incident "the worst example of petty political vendetta" but he accepted the governor's apology once it was personally delivered. But that's just men in suits talking about other men in suits. What about the real people whose lives got affected?
The good news is that a class action suit has been filed against the governor and his staff over personal and financial losses that were incurred as a result of the incident. But the greater damage has been done to the Republican name. And that is a loss which will cost a lot for the GOP especially in a region that is quite fragile right now.