Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Chris Christie’s Doomsday Gap

Jerry Stratton, April 3, 2014

The New Jersey “Bridgegate” scandal is back in the news. To be honest, I don’t trust New Jersey’s internal investigation any more than I trust anyone else’s internal investigation. We’ve seen far too many internal investigations turn up nothing wrong at the top in the last several years, from Fast and Furious targeting the whistleblower to the IRS exonerating itself over targeting conservative groups.

That said, I still haven’t figured out how the political conspiracy to cause a traffic jam was supposed to work. It’s like a cross between the How I Learned to Love the Bomb doomsday machine and South Park’s underpants gnomes.

The doomsday machine, if you’ll recall, was the highly-secret Soviet computerized nuclear response; if we bombed the Soviet Union, their computers would automatically blanket the United States with nuclear missiles, too. It was the perfect deterrent to nuclear attack… except that they kept it a secret. If your enemies don’t know about it, it can’t affect their decision-making.

For the Fort Lee lane closings to be political retribution, at some point they needed to make it public. New Jersey has traffic jams all the time. It has lane closings all the time. It’s not punishment if nobody knows it’s punishment.

Further, what was the payback supposed to be? Political retribution is usually intended to change behavior. Whose behavior was going to be changed, here? Was Fort Lee’s Democrat mayor going to become a Republican? Were the Fort Lee voters expected to start voting for Christie’s mayoral choice now that they experienced traffic delays?

Wikipedia says merely,

The disruption was apparently created for political retribution, but the precise target or motivation is unclear.

My emphasis on the part that’s putting it mildly.

In South Park, the underpants gnomes stole people’s underpants as part of a dot-com-like business plan:

  1. Collect underpants
  2. ?
  3. Profit!

In the current media reports, we’ve got:

  1. Cause traffic jam in Ft. Lee
  2. ?
  3. Chris Christie wins!

We’re getting a whole lot of punditry on 1 and 3, but nothing on 2. And what could step two be? Keeping it a secret isn’t going to change anything politically; if anything, blocking the toll roads is going to rebound negatively on the governor’s office. But publicizing that he blocked the roads for political reasons will be even worse for him.

Perhaps it could have been practice to keep potential Republican opponents from filing.

I suspect that when we do find out what the true reason was, it will turn out to be some sort of standard big-government cronyism rather than punishment, or even a semi-honest attempt to perform a study by a group of politicians so caught up in the political establishment that they failed to consider what the ramifications would be outside their offices. The real scandal may simply be that politicians think they know everything, don’t care whether your life is obstructed by their programs, and don’t even bother to think about it.

  1. <- Crony criminalism
  2. Texas 2014 ->