Friday, January 10, 2014


How the media loves political/celebrity scandals! And once again the political class seems destined to oblige! Mis-identifying a Croat as a Serb would seem bad enough (in the centennial year of Sarajevo no less!) But if NJ Governor Christie's political staffers or political appointees actually did deliberately cause that serious traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge in order to punish Fort Lee's mayor for not endorsing the Republican Governor for re-election, that's serious (suffix "-gate"worthy) stuff. Or maybe it was to punish some State Senator? Who knows now how many minor NJ politicians may earn their 15 minutes of national fame from this bizarre episode?
More importantly, what possesses appointed political hacks to attempt such stunts? The Watergate burglars back in June 1972 may have thought they could get away with it. But what planet does one have to be on to think that one can get way with such things today - especially after leaving an email trail for everyone to follow? It certainly says something about the tone-deaf, closed-in-on-itself "bubble" in which so much of the political class operates that one could seriously concoct such a scheme and somehow expect to get away with it!
Above and beyond the sheer stupidity of it all, there is the audacious disregard for the public good displayed by such supposed public servants. It was after all the general public who were the actual victims of this action. Of course, our post modern culture disdains moral absolutes. So the imperative that public servants should serve the common good is perhaps less self-evident than it used to be!
The Governor rightly resents being so ill-served by his people. Perhaps, however, he would do well to wonder what might lead staffers to think such actions appropriate in the first place. Such scandals do have a way of revealing more than initially meets the eye. Again Watergate is the perfectly illustrative example. 
In the end, the "third-rate" Watergate burglary became the defining event of the Nixon presidency because at some fundamental level it seemed true to type, that is it seemed to exemplify what that administration was really like, what it was all about at its core. Only time will tell whether this sad scandal says something significantly telling about the Governor or his Administration or his party. But it has already said a lot about the wider moral universe in which our political elites increasingly operate.

No comments:

Post a Comment