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Not pictured: The part you should never, ever attempt to drive on.When we first learned that Gov. Chris Christie was being accused of ordering the closure of two of Fort Lee, New Jersey’s access lanes to the George Washington Bridge because the town’s Democratic mayor had refused to endorse his re-election, we were like “Eh, maybe, seems far-fetched.” But then we kept reading.

We said “Yeah, seems about right” when we read that “half-hour bridge commutes stretched into four hours, buses and children were late for school, and emergency workers could not respond quickly to the day’s events” because we have used the George Washington Bridge and holy shit, do not ever use the George Washington Bridge between the hours of now and ever. We laughed at the initial explanation that it was a “traffic study,” because Hey I wonder what happens if we create a huge fucking mess in Fort Lee, New Jersey, by closing two-thirds of their toll lanes with no warning at all does not sound like a particularly useful study of anything besides how to make people really mad. Then our eyebrow twitched when we read this:

“[Bridge workers testified that] they were instructed not to tell anyone — not the news media, not Fort Lee, not even the Port Authority’s executive director, who is an appointee of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, they said. They protested, but went along, they said, because they feared retribution.”

And here are some more bullet points that might make your WTF sense tingle:

  • About that “traffic study?” “[T]estifying under subpoena in Trenton on Monday, bridge workers described Mr. Christie’s associates’ ordering the closings, and called the different maneuvers “unprecedented,” “odd” and “wrong.” There was, they said, no study.”
  • David Wildstein, the man who gave the order to close the lanes, used to write a political blog under the pseudonym “Wally Edge” before his high school pal Chris Christie gave him a job at the Port Authority. Wildstein has since resigned.
  • The police officer who physically closed the lanes was apparently named “Captain Licorice.”

Basically this whole thing is like a late-period Beatles song.

And now, via Salon via the WSJ, Christie may have called NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo to complain that the investigator looking into this whole delightful affair was being “too aggressive.”

So we have to ask — what the heck happened to Chris Christie being a savvy politician? This is amateur hour the whole way through. If it was really retribution against Fort Lee’s mayor for declining to burnish Christie’s bipartisan bona fides, it’s a powerfully stupid move. If, on the other hand, there is a more innocent explanation — a truthful one, we mean, not “traffic study” — it’s probably better to own up to it now, instead of complain that people are being mean when they try so hard to figure out what happened.

And if retribution remains the most logical explanation, it’s clearly disqualifying for Christie’s presidential ambitions. It won’t actually disqualify him, because liberal media pugnacious fighter bipartisan scourge of teacher-leachers, but it should.

Now if you’ll excuse us, it’s time for tea with Wally Edge and Captain Licorice, who just came in through the bathroom window.

[NY Times / Salon / WSJ]

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