Saturday, November 5, 2016

Photo of the Day: New Home Projected for Bridgegate’s Kelly and Her Boss

I took the photo accompanying this post in front of the same lawn in Tenafly, NJ, that I spotlighted just before Halloween. That earlier post featured a Presidential candidate that I’ll torture by not even writing his name. In any case, I think it’s a safe bet that the creator of this Halloween décor is not a Republican.

Unless he’s a different animal. Maybe, for instance, he shares my animus against bullies wherever they might be found, whether in the playground or the penthouse. And God only knows that virtually the only point that the prosecution and the defense could agree on in the recently concluded Bridgegate trial is that the boss of Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly was a bully. (I made my feelings about the affair amply known two years ago, in this post.)

The creator of this improvised jail cell for Chris Christie and Ms. Kelly was, I suspect, a trifle bit premature in projecting the future abode of the New Jersey Governor and his former deputy chief of staff. Some appeals court judge may accept the defense’s contention that the jury should have been instructed to consider whether an adequate motive had been established for the stunning decision to shut down two of three access lanes into the George Washington Bridge. 

But, even if the guilty verdict on all counts is overturned on appeal, Ms. Kelly has lost so much already. She’s lost who knows how much to legal fees, since, unlike Christie, she did not have the backing of a major party. She has been diminished in the eyes of friends, neighbors and parishioners who are now left to wonder how someone they thought they knew could become involved in such a crazy scheme.

She will almost certainly be regarded as radioactive by future Republican officeholders. She may well get a job from some future kind soul who’s ready to overlook what pushed her out of the New Jersey government, but other people have taken far longer to find a job through no fault of their own. She will have to explain to her young children why she is spending less time with them and why they may be hearing bad things about her from other children or parents.

No wonder she has looked bad, both in this made-up decoration and the photo of her in real life with her lawyer as she emerged, wrecked, from the devastating verdict just rendered against her. I share the feeling of an acquaintance who, in talking about the verdict--and admitting he had voted for Christie, twice--still lambasted the governor for making this single mother of four the scapegoat for a scheme Christie had to have known about and approved

On the other hand, though I have considerably more sympathy for her than for Christie, that feeling only extends so far. She could explain away (albeit with difficulty) what she meant by her now-infamous remark, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." It is 1,000 times harder to explain the meaning of, “Is it wrong that I am smiling?”

This week, she learned—courtesy of ordinary people, the kind she had once belonged to before she hitched her wagon to a now-faded Presidential star—that the answer to her question is “Yes.”

Many people are now wondering why Christie will not, like Kelly and Baroni, be wearing an orange jumpsuit any time soon.  The average New Jerseyan can render his or her own verdict against Christie on Tuesday by voting against the candidate he supported early in the race, one who may well appoint him chief of staff in a new administration: Donald Trump. And after that, the state and the country can do something the governor dreads: ignore him from now on.

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