Monday, January 20, 2014

"Politics Ain't Bean Bag!"

Another day…another scandal!
As Chris Christie struggles to recover from the “Bridgegate” scandal, new allegations have surfaced that further point to a culture of political retribution and bullying within his administration.
There are now reports that the Christie administration withheld Sandy relief funds from the city of Hoboken because the city’s mayor refused to support a development project favored by the governor.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer appeared on MSNBC Saturday and told the network that New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kimberly Guadagno informed her that she would have to support a development plan favored by the governor in order to receive Hurricane Sandy relief aid.  Zimmer said that Guadagno told her: “This is a message directly from the governor.”
Guadagno has yet to respond but, according to CNN, she is expected to “categorically deny” the allegations today.
The matter is now in the hands of the state’s attorney’s office.
“Politics ain’t bean bag.”
Republican Governor Christie has been widely praised for his ability to get things done in a very blue state.  Perhaps we are gaining some insight into just exactly how he “reaches across the aisle.”
Not that Christie would be the first.  Felonious behavior aside, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” is how politics works.  Local, state and federal lawmakers country wide have always used the power of their office to get what they want. 
Remember how Mitch McConnell rode to the rescue last November to broker a deal that ended the contentious 16 day government shutdown?  McConnell was hailed as a savior…a savvy experienced deal maker who was able to bring two warring factions together for the good of the country.  McConnell may very well be a patriot but he didn’t broker that deal for free. 
If you dig into the details of that agreement you will see that it includes $2.9 billion in funds for the Olmstead Lock and Dam Authority for a dam project that benefits McConnell’s state of Kentucky.  Not a bad day’s work for a senator who is facing an uphill re-election battle come November.  Some would call these shenanigans “kickbacks.”  The more acceptable term is “earmarks.” 
Is Christie guilty of bullying and retribution?  Or is this simply a form of political persuasion?  It is all the same thing…wielding one’s power to gain an advantage.
It is evident that the Christie administration has no problem using the power of the governor’s office to get what they want. 
Will voters reward his behavior with a seat in the Oval Office?
Or will politics as usual offend their sensibilities?

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