Editor: I loved “American Hustle” and was delighted to see it win a number of awards at the Golden Globe ceremony on Sunday evening. The film depicted, with a strong dose of irony, humor, irreverence and style, just what dirty politics and other forms of corruption look and feel like.

But I was hardly amused by the New Jersey hustle that “opened” last week in real life and in real time. Realpolitik in New Jersey would have made a perfect satire but in reality it isn’t the least bit funny. Messing with the George Washington Bridge, one of the most heavily trafficked spans in the world, just isn’t amusing. Call it subversive; call it sabotage. It’s something that no public official should even dream of in his or her wildest partisan fantasies.

In these days when incivility has become the norm in public affairs and everything is fit to print or proclaim in any and all media, nothing would appear to be shocking. But New Jersey has shocked us.
Whether Gov. Chris Christie knew or didn’t know about the bridge debacle, whether he lied or his people lied, the use of the lie in politics hit a new high — or low — and respect for the public good played no role at all in the decision-making.

It’s almost impossible to believe that the governor didn’t know about this public indiscretion — but whatever the case, he is responsible — he said so himself. A decision was made that could be construed as a terrorist act. It’s deplorable.


Publication Date: January 15, 2014

Jersey hustle