If the New Jersey legislature acts fast, it will have time to impeach Chris Christie. The governor’s term expires in January 2018, which is only about a year from now, and impeachment is a laborious process, so someone ought to get this thing going. A former Christie ally says Christie knew his cronies had closed three lanes of the George Washington Bridge, creating a massive, four-day traffic jam — delaying commuters, children on the way to school and the occasional ambulance transporting some unfortunate individual who might not appreciate that his life was being jeopardized to punish a Christie political foe. We all have to die, but not for Chris Christie.
As it turned out, the only death was to Christie’s presidential ambitions, which was fitting. According to prosecutors, government witnesses and the hunches of countless New Jersey politicians, Christie was trying to show what a wonderful GOP presidential candidate he would be by winning a huge second term as governor. To do this, he was lining up endorsements by Democratic mayors who, in the scheme of things, normally endorse Democrats. This is a tradition.
The mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., was a Democratic mayor who was refusing to endorse Christie. He needed to be punished, some Christie people deeply felt, and so the bridge-closing scheme was allegedly concocted. Fort Lee, as it happens, is the western terminus of the George Washington Bridge, which is one of the busiest in the world. Traffic would back up, and Fort Lee itself would suffocate in awful fumes and nothing would ever move again. The recalcitrant mayor would see the error of his ways and would become appropriately meek in the presence of Christie.
It is not alleged that Christie knew of the scheme in advance. It is alleged that he knew about it as it was happening. It is further alleged that he thought it was funny — but then he chuckles at Donald Trump also. All these allegations — with the exception of the one about Trump — were made under oath in open court by the former Christie ally, who says he is one of those who came up with the scheme. If he is being truthful, then Christie ought to be impeached if only for choosing idiots as aides.
Impeachment, after all, is just an indictment. It is a way at getting at the truth. It is not a final judgment, which, in this case, should be left to the commuters of New Jersey. But the contempt for the people of the state, for the hapless motorists and for the oxygen-deprived residents of Fort Lee is surely a cause for impeachment.