What do the three GOP leaders have in common?
The trio above is composed of New Jersey Governor – Chris Cristie, Wisconsin Governor – Scott Walker, and former President Richard Nixon. What they have in common is the metaphorical crossing of a bridge to far. The George Washington Bridge closing is just too pregnant with symbolism to pass up – it just begs for a parable. The controversy facing Governor Cristie is not new. It echos back to the classic temptation that has visited the wealthy and powerful throughout human time, the temptation to use power to manipulate circumstances for personal gain, or worse yet, retribution against opponents.
In recent times any political scandal visited on person of power that is met with denial on the part of the accused inherits the suffix “gate”. Of course, this is because of the Grandaddy of all coverups Watergate. If you are now about 50 or older, you will remember the two year long continuous denial of Richard Nixon in a personal way; his stubborn claim that he knew nothing of the break-in at the Watergate office complex in D. C. right up until the day when he was finally threatened with certain impeachment. He was forced to resign his office in shame on August 9 of 1974. This is why the denial of wrong doing on the part of Chris Cristie has already been coined as “Bridgegate”. It is why the on going investigation of Scott Walker in Wisconsin is known as “Walkergate”.
Nixon found himself hopelessly stuck in a mud of denial of the break-in and yet, he spun his wheels for two years to create a rut so deep and so intractable that any other politician so accused is doomed to follow his Watergate track. Cristie and Walker are doomed to drive down the same road, unable to turn their wheels out of the Watergate rut, until they drive off the eventual cliff of embarrassment, denial, and final resignation. Watergate has become the thousand piece jig-saw puzzle with the final picture clearly displayed on the cover of the box. Just like a sequel movie or TV show the “Othergates” of Christie and Walker are solved by the picture on the puzzle box long before the hours of putting all the pieces together proves the fact. But, oh what fun all the endless mystery and intrigue provide for media pundits, and political junkies! “I found a piece!”
All of a piece
The politicians who find themselves trapped behind some “Gate” or other share some common foibles so that the piecing together of the puzzle becomes traceable and predictable. It might be argued that every politician has a big ego, but the “Gate” politicians have ego’s on steroids – like Chris Cristie and Scott Walker. They need to “be someone” far out weighs their need to serve someone.
This obsessive need could not have been made more clear on the part of Cristie than in his two hour news conference when all of his apologies and administrative actions where deeply based in his personal foible: “It’s all about me.” My staff lied to ME. They blindsided ME. Me. I. Me. I. This is the way “Gate” politicians see the world. Scott Walker’s “Gate” has yet to break loose in the national media, but it appears inevitable that he is the next “Gate” on the horizon. Mark my words. Walkergate is a bridge just waiting to be crossed.
Bring on Walkergate
Cristie’s Bridgegate finally broke months after the bridge closure on the first day of school. It first hit the national press as a weird political anomaly on the Rachel Maddow show. She is the first to admit and credit the bloggers and journalists and specifically Bergen Record reporter Shawn Boburg, who continued to delve into all the tedious research making phone calls, and pouring over documents until the balance finally shifted into one of the major stories effecting national politics of the year.
The same tedious research is tracing through the counties of Wisconsin as the two year long John Doe Investigation continues. The same reference as to the atmosphere necessary for a Watergate, Bridgegate, and Walkergate has been defined in Wisconsin. Yes, the culture of seediness and lawbreaking that pervaded the Walker administration at the time he was campaigning for governor, makes Nixon and Cristie look like naughty children when compared to the vile acts that were documented within Walker’s Milwaukee culture.
Not only did Walker’s Chief of Staff, Timothy Russell, set up a secret email network for Walker’s campaign for governor, but he was convicted of stealing money from a veterans group whose mission was to help families of fallen veterans. Where is the national press?
Finally a Special Prosecutor, Francis Schmitz, has been appointed to investigate the criminal activity surrounding Scott Walker.
For two years Walker has said he didn’t know about the secret email network located within 30 feet of this County Executive Office. He has dodged, ducked and dismissed any knowledge or connection with any criminal activities that were all orchestrated to put him in office and keep him in office.
Even if Cristie did not know about the bridge closure, he is being held to the fire by the press for creating a culture of retribution. Even if he did not know, he is responsible for surrounding himself with staff who would orchestrate such and act of retribution on his behalf.
In Watergate the idea that Nixon could be absolved by “not knowing” was addressed by the Arlo Guthrie song “The Presidential Rag”:
Arlo Guthrie – Presidential Rag Lyrics | MetroLyrics
You said you didn’t know
That the cats with the bugs were there
And you never go along
With that kind of stuff no where
Scott Walker’s name is being dropped even more often as a GOP Presidential candidate in the wake of Cristie’s Bridgegate. As he is being paraded out on the Sunday shows, why is he being absolved from the culture of crime he created in Wisconsin’s Walkergate?