- Category: Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)
- Published: 29 January 2014
- Written by CHRISTOPHER ORLANDO MANAGING EDITOR
Bridgegate, Sandy advertising, political blackmail and a presidential candidate crumbling. This is what everyone is talking about in the state of New Jersey and around the country. This is the situation that lies in front of New Jersey Republican Governor, Chris Christie. The once GOP presidential front runner has had his political armor scratched up and dented as he defends his administration in the face of three different controversies.
Gov. Christie has been such a dynamic figure in New Jersey politics. I saw him speak in Manasquan following Sandy and he was the champion that New Jersey needed post Sandy. He took the New Jersey fight to Washington over the aid bill that his own party was holding up. I go back and forth about my feelings regarding the Governor. I am fascinated with him as a politician and the role he has played in New Jersey politics. Do I agree with him on everything? Absolutely not. But he did gather my attention with his brass and sometimes rude attitude? Absolutely. Post Sandy, I was glad he was there fighting for the people of New Jersey, especially the local shore area that I love.
With all these scandals circling around, it’s tough whether anything will stick and force the Governor’s hand. Bridgegate has a tie to his staff but not directly to him. It’s tough to impeach a man without a smoking gun (anyone remember the Nixon tapes?). Honestly my thoughts are the same on the Governor, there are some things I respect and some actions he needs to reconsider his position on. If any smoking guns are tied to him directly, duck and cover for the well-deserved fire storm.
The two issues regarding Sandy money is disheartening if true. I was in Trenton when they funded the $25 million and my hope is that it would be used for the good of the Jersey Shore and help put people who really needed the help back on their feet. For my belief in people, I hope that the political game did not matter that much that he would risk people’s well-being.
The Bridgegate scandal baffles me honestly. The Governor had a substantial lead over his opponent, Buono, and he has presidential aspirations whether he publically says it or not. If the Governor was foolish enough to risk a second term in office, where he has earned the respect of politicians on both sides of the aisle, and a 2016 run, that’s politics at its finest and the Governor may end up impeached for it. The scandals have already taken a toll on the Governor’s popularity. According to a Monmouth University poll, the Governor’s approval rating went from 65 percent to 58 percent in a month’s time. According to a Rutgers/Eagleton poll in January 2013 following Superstorm Sandy, the Governor had a 68 percent approval rating and now he is in the mid-50s.
Do I believe the Governor may be impeached? That’s tough to say. As I said before, without a smoking gun, it’s all circumstantial evidence. I would hope that political ambition did not cloud the Governor’s vision of helping New Jersey but it’s hard to say. Bridgegate is a big deal but I think the two Sandy related charges would result in impeachment more than Bridgegate because of the emotions that would be tied to it and because of the political games he said he didn’t want played and how he wanted to assist the people of New Jersey in recovery. So until more information is available, I think everyone should hold onto their fire and pitch forks.
As for his presidential aspirations, well his possible presidential campaign may have found its kryptonite. Scandals can either build up a politician or destroy him. Sandy helped build up Governor Christie and now the three scandals could destroy him. Christie has been the punch line of every late night comedian and other GOP presidential contenders. If Governor Christie has no ties to these scandals, then I think he comes out looking like a fighter who people are looking to destroy but if he is tied to them, I think a presidential campaign should be the last thing on his mind because he might be fighting for his job in New Jersey.