Deleted Scenes: Bridgegate

Near as I can tell, there are three takeaways from the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal currently besetting NJ Governor and Future Republican Primary Loser (you heard it here first!) Chris Christie, stemming from lane closures on the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 9 to which Christie’s staff has been linked via emails in some vindictive screw-you to the mayor of Fort Lee. And in the interest of The Aquarian’s mandate to inform the public in a responsible and socially aware fashion—bet you didn’t know we even had a mandate!—I’m going to tell you what those takeaways are.

The first? That “-gate” anything is stupid. Really. We as a people need to all get together and decide we’re done with “-gate.” You realize that Watergate was the name of the hotel, right? There wasn’t actually a gate involved. Gates don’t have anything to do with anything and constantly attaching “-gate” to every minor political quibble that comes up has long since stopped being clever. It’s been over 40 years of this crap. Enough. Let it go.

Second? Careful what you wish for. Chris Christie got elected the first time because he was like, “I’m a dick and a bully and it’s New Jersey so you can relate to that,” and he got elected the second time because he was like, “I’ve got this big track record of being a dick and bully and also I hugged your mom after Superstorm Sandy but not in like a violating way and you can relate to that.” As a state, New Jersey got as close as it possibly could to electing Tony Soprano its governor, and you’re really going to be surprised when it turns out that the petty asshole you elected because he’s a petty asshole is a petty asshole? He’s fulfilling the promise of his campaign!

And third: NJ Democrats haven’t got shit on the guy. If you think this is the only time (or the last) that this kind of middle-school-level spiting has gone on in the public/political arena, then please let me be the first to welcome you to the Garden State, the Nation’s Home for Go Fuck Yourself. The only reason “Bridgegate”—god I hate that name, let’s go with the “Bridge Contra Affair” instead—the only reason the “Bridge Contra Affair” is a big deal at all is because Chris Christie hasn’t given anyone who doesn’t like him anything even remotely scandalous to go on since he took office.

He got his brother a job? So what? So did you. Your brother needed that job and you could help your family. Everything in his monumentally prickish track record like calling teachers drug dealers and raping the pension system while giving tax breaks to the wealthy? Not only does he own that shit, but he’s going to try running for President of the United States on having done it! You can’t attack someone with something when it’s the heart of their campaign! “This guy is anti-education!” “Damn right I am!” It just doesn’t work.

So what you get from “Bridge Contra”—see, I shortened it because now we’re more familiar with the idiom—is a feeding frenzy and months of press releases in my inbox about what a big deal it is, when in fact it is not at all a big deal, it’s just the only deal. He closed a lane on the first day of school. Your commute got longer. One old lady died in the heat. As scandals go, it ain’t exactly cigar insertion.

That was good scandal.

And those are the three takeaways. Consider yourself informed.

JJ Koczan