For the last few days, New Jersey governor Chris Christie and the “Bridgegate” scandal has been dominating the news. Christie had a long press conference wherein he adamantly denied any involvement in arranging the traffic jams on the George Washington bridge. He fired Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff, and disowned his former campaign manager. Those two, along with his high school classmate and ex Port Authority executive David Wildstein, were the scape goats. Watching the press conference, I thought it looked like he was trying too hard to be a victim of this scandal himself.
There is now a new legislative committee probe into this scandal. I’m sure they will be subpoenaing Bridget Kelly, David Wildstein, and the former campaign manager.
In my opinion, I would not be surprised if this probe uncovered some evidence showing that Christie knew something about the traffic jams. It is very hard for me to believe that someone under him would take the reins and do something this big and this orchestrated without orders. I hope that I am wrong because a scandal like this really conjures up notions of the worst sort of abuses of power.
I am sure there are a lot of emails, calls, and documents for the committee to comb through. I can only think that maybe Christie thinks these people will remain loyal to him and either back-up everything he said at the press conference or remain silent. But these people were made the scape goats by him. Will they remain loyal after they were thrown under the bus by him? I am not sure.
Also, even if those people refuse to answer the committee’s questions…how is that going to look? If they do not answer anything, it will just make it seem like there is something being hidden. I remember a few months ago when Lois Lerner went the silent route during the IRS scandal. It was not good for President Obama because it made him appear untrustworthy. I have a feeling the same sort of thing would happen to Christie with Bridgegate.
In short, I think this scandal will have a profound impact on Chris Christie’s national political aspirations. I think his national political career is over at this point. Whatever the results of the probe, if he runs opponents will constantly bring up this this scandal. The GOP primary is going to be filled with popular conservative candidates eager to talk about the abuses of government power seen in this scandal. Primaries are always tough for moderates and this scandal will only make that road tougher. I think his run for the presidency would fizzle out in the primary, in large part due to fallout of this scandal.
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Stephanie Ovadia is a practicing attorney, radio personality and mother of eight children. Stephanie's areas of practice include entertainment law and personal injury. She received her B.A. in political science from SUNY Binghamton and her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law.