What a shocker: our most pugnacious politician, who apes sneering TV tough guys, finds himself starring in his own reality-survivor drama. The only question remains: is he really a fool (the victimized micromanager who knows nothing) or a low-class knave (with an ex-prosecutor's bag of trick decoys)? Whatever the final evidence, this scandal will devolve from snarling bridge traffic to the trollish character of our pudgiest of pugs.
Tripped by a willful, smack-down staff, the image of the most electable party "moderate" lurched with ease from "straight-talking pragmatist" to rogue pettiness. But what exactly new does the Fort Lee fiasco say about the Christie chronicle? Whoever concocted the Great Bridge Blunder, are we surprised that vendetta stamps the bully who gloats over scorned rivals? My concern is whether Christie's hypnotic persona holds sway over a feisty state that just gave him keys to the kingdom.
And yet, does not this clownish figure, taking bigger than life literally, spotlight a politics of devolution where the least morally-fit survive? For context, let us recount the roughly ten stages that mark the sameness of big-time scandals. Indeed, the audacity of the opening abuse is exceeded only by the predictability of the narrative. On the heels of banksters and fraudsters, why not over-reaching thugsters caught in self-made traffic jams?
Behold today's model scandal in the works:
1) Opening Gambit: Figure you can get away with murder, or the political equivalence. Imagine a ploy so devilish your own doting mother wouldn't go for it. Add invincibility to heightened entitlement and voila, the first stage for a rousing scandal: the impossibility of exposure. Then find a victim or circumstance that lets your inflated self-expression soar.
2) Target Your Victim or Heart's Desire: Whether money or sex, dirty tricks or intimidation, scandals blossom from the moment you convince yourself you alone can game the system, riding your righteous self-interest over rules that restrain the timid. Ordained from birth to rule, indeed commandeer, are you not a breed apart, unshackled, a crusader on wheels?
3) Presume the Suckers (voters, regulators, prosecutors) are, well, Suckers. Because of your ploy's brilliance, secrecy, or novelty, only your inner sanctum will ever know or find out, right? After all, who'd imagine a governor's staff would torture thousands of bridge users (nearly all unrelated to Ft. Lee) and still fail at slapping down the local mayor? Who'd think this sequence wasn't a natural disaster? Boldness in roguery will often obscure detection.