If it’s your turn to “lead” in the complicated card game of bridge, you may play any card in your hand. The object is to win “tricks” for your side.
Such is the case with what’s becoming known as “Bridge-gate,” the political scandal emanating from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office. In a ploy to “punish” the mayor of Fort Lee for not supporting Christie’s gubernatorial re-election bid, Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly arranged for several lanes entering the George Washington Bridge closed down for “an emergency traffic study.” What’s been learned since, according to The New York Times, was that after the mayor refused to endorse the governor, “On August 13…Kelly, one of the governor’s deputy chiefs of staff, sent an email to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee at the Port Authority, saying, ‘Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.’ ‘Got it,’ Mr. Wildstein replied. One month later, on September 9, several local lanes onto the bridge, the world’s busiest, were suddenly closed, snarling traffic in Fort Lee and causing problems for thousands of commuters. The lanes remained closed for days.”
Christie’s been doing damage control. And getting out of this jam, pardon the pun, has got to be his top priority if he has any hope of running for president. Last week, during an unusual press conference, Christie fired the person responsible, apologized to the mayor, and answered two hours’ worth of questions without stumbling. It’s Crisis Management 101: first, acknowledge the problem; second, apologize and show empathy for those affected by the problem; next, fix the problem; and last, let everyone know you’ve fixed the problem. Given the circumstances, he’s handled this situation as well as he can–so far.
I believe unless there’s a “smoking gun” which proves his knowledge of the GWB tie-ups, Christie will still be a presidential candidate. But this game of presidential bridge could end quickly. Heaven help New Jersey’s popular governor if the upcoming investigations reveal that he knew about this. His political future will burn out as fast as his star has risen. Your thoughts?