Opinion: Big and Small Thinking at the Port Authority

What causes “abject stupidity” and why do grand ideas work out badly?

By Dick Zimmer, Courtesy of NJ Spotlight

The reason I believe Gov. Chris Christie will survive the Bridgegate controversy is that he is too smart to have directed or encouraged what he accurately called the “abject stupidity” of September’s lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, apparently instigated by his two top appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and by his deputy chief of staff. The Record’s Charles Stile compares Bridgegate to the Watergate burglary that brought down Richard Nixon.

That comparison is ridiculous because Watergate began with a break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, clearly a big-time target. In contrast, the intended victim of the lane closures was one Mark Sokolich, the Democratic mayor of the medium-sized borough of Fort Lee, who was purportedly being punished for not endorsing the governor’s reelection.

This is a man who Charlie Stile himself probably couldn’t have identified before he began appearing on TV and whose endorsement of Christie, if it had occurred, would have been packaged in a press release with a dozen other endorsements and would have influenced only a handful of votes. It has been said that politics among academics are so vicious because the stakes are so low. The insignificance of the stakes is the only explanation I can think of for the idiotic decision to lower the boom on Mayor Sokolich by initiating a very public traffic jam.

Read more at NJSpotlight.com

NJ Spotlight is an issue-driven news website that provides critical insight to New Jersey’s communities and businesses. It is non-partisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded. 


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