UPDATE: I can hear Chris Christie singing now: Well, your honor, I do believe I’d be better off dead.
His hero, Bruce himself, has humiliated him nationally along with Jimmy Fallon in a must-watch send-up of the (small b) boss. Fallon (put your hair up pretty) is brilliant. Bruce is Bruce. Christie is cooked.
Highways jammed with pissed-off drivers with no place left to go
And the press conference went on and on
It was longer than one of my own damn shows
Some day, Governor, I don’t know when, this will all end
But till then, you are killing the working man
Who’s stuck in Governor Christie’s Fort Lee, New Jersey, traffic jam.
The quick, easy, less-than-two-hour response to the Chris Christie bridge scandal is that he’s done, finished, kaput.
The thing about these predictions (see: Nixon, Dick, circa 1962) is that they are nearly always wrong.
1. There will be hearings. People will be under oath. Those thrown under the bus by Christie will be forced to testify. They will not go to prison (here’s a prediction I’ll stand by) to protect the Big Guy. Maybe Christie knew nothing about the Fort Lee lane closings. But does anyone out there think this was a one-off? Is there anyone who doesn’t think that political retaliation was not constantly in the air that everyone in the governor’s office breathed?
2. It’s New Jersey. And the story reads like a bad Sopranos plot. And everyone who lives in those places where politics is not played rough and tumble has no idea what just happened. For years, Republicans have talked about Chicago politics as if professorial Obama were some crooked ward boss. Well, this is the real thing. And it will trail Christie forevermore.
3. Christie has had his I-am-not-a-bully moment. Whatever else came of the news conference, that is not a good moment to have on the resume. No one likes a bully. And while we say we like our politicians tough and sassy, do we really want a guy whose every move from now on will be judged by where we put him on the bully scale rather than on the bully pulpit? Many people in the political world were worried whether Christie would wear well for an entire presidential campaign, but most figured he could make it through the pre-campaign days. Now that’s not exactly a sure bet.
4. According to the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Christie answered 94 questions. But there are more. If he really wanted to get to the bottom of the scandal, why didn’t he ever question Bridget Kelly, who is at the center of the scandal? And could the governor’s deputy chief of staff really close down those lanes on her own? How does the chain of command work in Trenton? And if I were Christie, here’s one question I’d want answered: Has anyone offered Kelly immunity?
5. Like many people, I’m still puzzled about the entire affair. Like, if you wanted to punish the Fort Lee mayor, why would you instead punish Fort Lee commuters? It’s not like you’d put a threatening horse’s head in the main square. You put it in the mayor’s bed. You’d pressure a donor to stop giving him money. You wouldn’t let him sit at a good table at the next Mayor’s Conference in Atlantic City. Cutting off commuter lanes is an odd form of retaliation. This isn’t revenge being served cold. This is lunch being served four hours late.
6. Fortunately for us, if not for Christie, there will now be hundreds of reporters working on this story. The Bergen Record did a great job getting the emails, but now everyone will want a piece. If there’s something else, if there’s anything else, that is damning about this story, then Christie really is in trouble. If Christie isn’t finished yet, that just means there’s still time to start your office pool.
7. We have Springsteen lyrics as reminders. The best tweet I’ve seen citing Christie’s favorite New Jersey singer: The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.