The Plot Sickens

A number of faithful readers are complaining about how I have been trying to keep them up to speed about the high drama that engulfs the great state of New Jersey, a mystery that asks what great power created a traffic jam of biblical proportion at the GWB and other crimes and misdemeanors too numerous to mention here? Did the butler do it? If not the Magnificent Brontosaurus who now rules as our governor, then whodunit? The suspense is killing me.

Unfortunately, one New Jersey émigré wrote from California, “our drought, fires, heat, Syria, the Olympics, etc., keeps relegating New Jersey to the back burner. All we have is sun, day after day, with the temperatures in the 80’s.”

“We‘ve had enough corruption in our state,” a New Yorker writes, “who needs yours?” After three hours of the GWB fiasco, another correspondent confessed, “I realize that in the immortal words of Rhett Butler, ‘I just don’t give a damn.’”

At the risk of being labeled a paleolibertarian, I say, well, it’s a free country.

I can understand folks not appreciating the importance of what could be the most exciting thing in the news since Comet Kohoutek barely missed both the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway by several million miles.

I can understand how some people could be more passionate about the Golden Globes and other injustices. Not to mention who will win the Super Bowl on Sunday, an event that brought the largest collection of brain-concussed behemoths to our swamps, as we used to call the Meadowlands, since the meteor hit the dinosaurs, who are said to have had the same size brains as your average NFL scholar.

(The Super Bowl, if I can get a parenthetical word in edgewise here, was supposed to be a fitting coronation of Emperor Christie, now shunted into the off-ramp leading to Exit 16 by the multi-investigations plaguing the administration of our leader.)

But where are your priorities, folks? Don’t you realize how big this story really is? Don’t you realize Chris Christie is only 27 people away from becoming our next president?

All His Rotundity, as some of his admirers in the state refer to him, needs to do is avoid indictment, impeachment and/or resigning from office, in short, stay out of jail for breaking Federal laws not only in Fort Lee, Hoboken, and most recently Harrison where the gentrification of the PATH station for no good reason is a new object of curiosity in law enforcement circles.

Having survived all of that, the governor can arrive at the Republican Convention in 2016 with as many arrows in his back as Saint Jerome, which should appeal to the religious right, the solid 25 % base of the Republican Party.

Let me summarize the issues for you newcomers to this mystery:

Now I am not saying the governor is not guilty. I have not lived in the state of New Jersey since 1958 for nothing. All our governors are guilty a priori.

The great Brontosaurus may say stupid things, do stupid things, and pick the wrong people to be most trusted advisers. Whether he is guilty or not, there is no way he could not have known what his people were doing to earn their paychecks.

He is the maestro, waving his baton at the orchestra. Does the conductor at the podium actually make the music of the first violinist? A governor’s job is to set the moral tone and integrity, the honesty, to use a phrase loosely in New Jersey politics.

Now we all know that our elected officials have shady dealings with real estate developers. The clean- as-the-garbage-dumps-in-the- meadows, Gov. Whitman who gave us Xandu in the swamps before becoming the environmental minister in the other GWB government; the fiscal wizard, Gov. Corzine, down to the two mayors of Hoboken (pre- Zimmer) who were jailed for accepting bribes from faux developers.

You can’t throw a rock into the legislature in Trenton and not hit somebody who is in bed with developers at some time in the rise to the top.

What New Jersey is about is not gardens, but real estate development.

Under the administration of Acting Governor Codey (sitting in for the resigned Gov. McGreedy), the state in 2005 conducted a contest to change the state’s slogan (At the time, “Get away with out going far away”).

Over 11,000 voted. The winner: “New Jersey, come see for yourself.” My nominee honored a TV classic: “Let’s make a deal”

Prepare yourself. This story is not going to disappear as quickly as Comet Kohoutek. The mystery is going to be resolved in the 20 subpoenaed hearings. There has got to be one good apple in the barrel who will feel it a civic duty to rat on his friends and associates, singing the traditional aria, “O, Theyaculpa.”

Even if there isn’t a preponderance of evidence, and the other legal malarkey, like benefit of doubt, the media will do it anyway.

As Chris Matthews observed on the night of Jan. 29, the media is on the case “like wolfhounds.” His own MSNBC weeks ago pounced on the story with ardor approaching ecstasy.

A whole generation of journalists, you have to understand, suffer from the Woodstein Syndrome, feeling deprived of having missed Watergate and looking for a chance to become the Woodward and Bernstein of Bridgegate and other gates still to be swung open.

Of course, it’s patently unfair to find a man guilty in the media without a fair trial in a court of law. But who says life is supposed to be fair?

I know I have poked a little fun at the governor, but I want to end this installment by saying a good word for the Fat Man. You have to give His Rotundity credit for not disappearing on the Appalachian Trail, which runs though New Jersey, while the heat is on in the kitchen.

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Marvin Kitman
Jan. 30, 2014

Marvin Kitman is the author of “The Making of the Preƒident 1789.” “George Washington’s Expense Account” by Gen. George Washington and Marvin Kitman PFC (Ret.) was the best-selling expense account in publishing history.