Someone must have airbrushed or Photoshopped this picture. Who has ever seen the George Washington Bridge this empty in daylight?
The bridge is something most of us love to hate. Traffic jams are standard, no matter what they say on the news radio stations. And blue skies or not, the bridge itself has a torn-jeans look to it, a grunge factor you can’t see in the photo but certainly can from your car.
And traffic studies.
And political nonsense.
Governor Doublewide of New Jersey is up to his … um … neck in alligators over an intentional traffic jam designed to somehow punish a low ranking and minor Democratic politician who failed to cross party lines and endorse Double’s re-election campaign or maybe a local state senator.
Petty, small town politics. And this is what Tip O’Neill meant when he said “all politics is local.”
But a traffic jam on the Fort Lee approaches to the bridge is kind of like getting heartburn after eating a pastrami sandwich. You notice it, but it’s nothing new or unexpected. Eventually, it goes away.
So everyone’s up in arms about Double’s jam-on-purpose. Did he know about it? Suggest it? Approve of it before the fact? Approve of it after the fact? Well, he says no. And chances are no one will be able to disprove it.
It’s reported that a nonagenarian woman in a delayed ambulance died sometime after the long, slow trip to the hospital. A shame, really. She died for a political dirty trick.
But this kind of thing really isn’t new, either. You may recall a recent President of the United States who sent who-knows-how-many men and women into Iraq so he could accomplish what his daddy couldn’t.
The dead and mutilated of war are thought of as heroes and they are. But they, too, are victims as was the woman in the ambulance.
Doublewide is an unannounced candidate for President. So the handicappers of political races are already fighting over the effect this all will have on his campaign.
Does anyone in New Hampshire or Iowa or Oklahoma cares about this enough to withhold a vote two years from now? Even the people heading from Fort Lee to Manhattan won’t care by then.
Oh, the opponents in the primary and in the general election will remind us endlessly. The reminders will fall on deaf ears. After all, this is the country that elected Warren Harding, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
There are reasons galore to disapprove of Doublewide and his cronies, appointees and his high school buddy in a Port Authority job without a job description. The forced flash mob at the bridge shouldn’t be one of them.
But one thing we can say for sure at this point, if ever there was any doubt: inside the Big Man is … a small man.
--The working title of this post was “The Bridge from Nowhere” and insulting New Jersey for endless decades is a hard habit to break even for a New York expatriate now self exiled to Pennsylvania. So to be semi-diplomatically, cutting “from nowhere” seemed apt. Being full diplomatic would have meant not telling you about the change.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014