Lessons Of 'Bridge-gate' (Justin Raimondo, antiwar.com)Submitted by Alliance With None on Fri, 01/17/2014 - 06:43
People talk about "the character issue" in politics, but is there really any other issue when it comes to judging a political candidate? After all, someone may be advocating Peace On Earth and Good Will Toward Men in public, while in private he could very well be hatching demonic schemes of revenge in retaliation for – let’s just say – not endorsing him for reelection. He might even stoop to closing two lanes onto the busiest bridge in the country, resulting in a cataclysmic traffic jam and causing a 91-year-old woman who needed an ambulance to wait for crucial extra minutes before paramedics could reach her. She died soon afterward.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s involvement in what will no doubt be known as "Bridge-gate" is the media mob’s target of the moment, with partisan Democrats pouncing all over it as evidence that the would-be 2016 presidential candidate’s aspirations for higher office are toast. And they may very well be right: but if they are, that isn’t necessarily good news for Democrats. That’s because what Christie and his advisors apparently did – use their authority to punish their enemies without regard for the wider consequences – underscores the utter lawlessness of overweening government power, undercutting the Democrats’ governing philosophy.
A few months ago, Christie engaged in a very public debate with libertarian Republican Sen. Rand Paul, disdaining libertarianism as a "dangerous thought" and opining that the whole issue of government surveillance of American citizens was an "esoteric intellectual debate" of no consequence to hardheaded realists like himself. Such a loose attitude toward the arbitrary exercise of power is perfectly understandable in someone who still insists a plot to exact political revenge at everyone else’s expense was a "traffic study."
In Chris Christie’s world, there are no constraints: stop traffic to get back at a political rival? Spy on Americans? Violate the Constitution? Violate the trust of the people who elected you? You just go right ahead – because you’re Chris Christie, for Pete’s sake! Rules are for the Little People! When you’re a high-ranking member of the political class – when the "donor class" comes begging to you to run for the highest office in the land – the rules don’t apply. You’re exempt – just ask James Clapper.
Christie exemplifies everything that’s wrong with America, not only politically but psychologically: putting aside his "big government conservatism," the man’s a bully. The problem, however, is that America loves a bully. Videos of Christie going ballistic and telling off various of his constituents for daring to question his ultimate wisdom are part of what made him famous – and attractive to the "donor class" as a putative presidential candidate. And while he’s kept his (horrible) foreign policy views relatively close to his vest, so far, if he’ll cause a major traffic jam in his own state to spite a political rival what would he do to spite a rival nation – and what kind of consequences would it augur for the rest of us? I shudder to think about it.