|Drivers stuck in rush-hour traffic on Route 4 east in Paramus on their way to the George Washington Bridge this morning.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Unusually high unemployment and lagging state tax revenues didn't do it. Nor did killing the biggest expansion of mass transit in decades.
Balancing the state budget on the backs of the middle and working classes also didn't disturb editors of The Record of Woodland Park.
No. It took a politically malevolent traffic jam at the Fort Lee end of the George Washington Bridge four months ago to pierce the bubble of invincibility around Governor Christie (A-1).
If the GOP bully is "STUCK IN A JAM," as today's Page 1 headline declares, then the editors of The Record were STUCK IN A CHRISTIE RUT.
Those editors -- and reporters Charles Stile, Herb Jackson, Melissa Hayes and other staffers -- are culpable for giving Christie a pass since he took office in January 2010.
They not only overlooked his mean-spirited policies and whether they were good for New Jersey, but they regurgitated all of the governors' marketing ploys -- from his "Reform Agenda" to "Bipartisan Compromise."
Those reporters and editors gave up one of their biggest responsibilities to readers: Challenge authority.
This morning in Trenton, Christie told the media he is apologizing to the people of New Jersey and the residents of Fort Lee.
He said he has "terminated the employment" of Bridget Anne Kelly, his deputy chief staff, who had e-mailed Christie pal David Wildstein at the Port Authority that it was "time for traffic problems in Fort Lee."
"Got it," Wildstein replied in the Aug. 13, 2013, exchange of e-mails.
In what many might see as a colossal ass covering, Christie claimed his staff lied to him.
The New York Times Web site reported U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman is expected to announce today that he will open an inquiry into the Sept. 9-12 lane closures in Fort Lee.
Christie, a former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, said he plans to go to Fort Lee today and apologize personally to Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, for the lane closures from local streets to upper-level tollbooths of the George Washington Bridge.
The governor said he is "stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here" -- a reference to the closing of those lanes.
Christie said he had no knowledge of the e-mails from Kelly, his deputy chief of staff, to his crony at the bi-state transportation agency.
Wildstein and Bill Baroni, his other appointee to the Port Authority, have already resigned.
It remains to be seen whether Bridgegate will hurt Christie's chances in a 2016 White House race.
But commuters will be stuck with exorbitant tolls and crowded buses and trains for years -- thanks to Christie's short-sighted policies.