Cal Thomas: Bridge fiasco should not disqualify Christie

01/15/2014 12:00 AM

01/14/2014 5:17 PM

A multiple-choice question: Select the scandal(s) affecting the most people and having long-term implications for the country in a time of war, a country with a struggling economy that last month produced the weakest job growth in decades:

A) The closing of traffic lanes in Fort Lee, N.J., allegedly in retaliation for the refusal of a Democratic mayor to endorse New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie for a second term.

B) The role of the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked on Sept. 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, and the lies and possible cover-up about al-Qaida’s involvement.

C) The IRS’ refusal to grant nonprofit status to numerous conservative groups during the 2012 election campaign for allegedly political reasons.

D) President Obama’s repeated statements assuring Americans that if they like their insurance plans and doctors they may keep them under the new Affordable Care Act.

If you are honest you would have to select B, C and D, but who among the media are honest enough to do that?

Christie held a 107-minute news conference last week during which he repeatedly denied knowing anything about the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. He fired Bridget Anne Kelly, his deputy chief of staff, and blocked the appointment of another close associate to a state GOP chairmanship.

Left-leaning Democrats and the establishment media see an opening to keep Christie from winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and are salivating because they think the Fort Lee controversy might harm his chances against Hillary Clinton.

One wishes the media would grill Obama over far more important matters with the same zeal they have applied to Christie.

In light of B, C and D, closing two lanes leading to a bridge is nothing. It does, however, again expose the media’s agenda and their intention to bring down anyone who is a potential threat to a Clinton presidency.

On Monday, CNN reported that Christie is now the subject of a federal investigation into whether he misused $25 million in Superstorm Sandy relief money to fund a marketing campaign to promote tourism at the Jersey Shore. Convenient timing? If wasted federal money is an indictable offense, most of Congress should be behind bars.

Christie spokesman Colin Reed stated: “The Stronger Than the Storm campaign was just one part of the first action plan approved by the Obama administration and developed with the goal of effectively communicating that the Jersey Shore was open for business during the first summer after Sandy. Federal agency reviews are routine and standard operating procedure with all federally allocated resources to ensure that funds are distributed fairly. We’re confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history.” End of controversy? Hardly.

There may be more important reasons why Christie should not (or should) be the GOP presidential nominee in 2016, but the bridge lane fiasco ought not be a factor.

Should Christie be exposed as a liar about lane closures, would that be more serious than the lies the president has told about far more serious matters?

Just asking.

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