The Fort Lee traffic jam in September is not the first time New Jersey Gov. Christie took on a local mayor while closing off roads and stranding Garden State residents far from their homes. But when Christie bullied and insulted Jersey Shore residents during the panic over Hurricane Sandy, he was widely praised for his judicious use of state power.
Christie has also used the 2012 weather event as a pretext for an unpopular beach engineering project that would threaten the delicate economies of the state’s shore communities.
Christie on Thursday gave a two-hour news conference denying prior knowledge of the closures of a George Washington Bridge on-ramp in September that caused a massive traffic pileup in Fort Lee. Recently surfaced emails suggest Christie aides planned the closure as a political swipe at the city’s mayor. (RELATED: Christie claims ignorance of bridge closure)
But when Christie went to war with a local mayor and blocked off crucial traffic to shore communities in the aftermath of 2012′s largest storm, the media rewarded him with glowing coverage and President Obama came up to the Garden State to give his personal support. Even still-living rock star Bruce Springsteen met with the governor. Prior to that, Springsteen had long given Christie the cold shoulder rather than expressing gratitude that the 2016 presidential hopeful remained a fan nearly 40 years after Springsteen’s last listenable album.
Christie got a lovefest in 2012 because his bullying tactics — which included attacking Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford for providing shelter to displaced residents, repeatedly calling shore stalwarts “stupid” and “irresponsible,” and even punishing people who obeyed his evacuation order by closing roads back into barrier islands days after the storm had passed — because his nanny state impulses in that case appealed to liberal worshipers of government power, who hate the individual liberties on which this country was founded.
“If something looks like it’s stupid, it’s stupid,” Christie sagely announced at the time, adding “Don’t be stupid.”
In another press conference, Christie attacked shore residents who chose to remain in their homes to and safeguard their hard-won property against looters, warning of the “dangers of portable generators” and calling holdouts “stupid and selfish” for staying to defend the inalienable right to property our forefathers died to defend.