Rich Galen

The national press corps is quivering with excitement over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's problems with a traffic problem.

The issue - and this is the My Weekly Reader version - is this: The George Washington Bridge spans the Hudson River from northern Manhattan to New Jersey. It is a major, major thoroughfare and it carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day in each division.

The first exit on the New Jersey side of the bridge is for Ft. Lee.

Raise hands (not counting those from the NY/NJ metropolitan area) if you've ever heard of Ft. Lee, NJ much less if you're able to locate it on a map.

It seems that someone on the NJ side decided it was necessary to shut down the exit lane to Ft. Lee which led to significant traffic jams.

Even more than the significant traffic jams that drivers in the metropolitan avenue face each and every work day.

New York officials were furious over that decision and made a really big stink about it. Governor Christie maintained he didn't know from nothin' and had nothin' to do with it.

Yesterday Christie released a statement saying, in effect, at least one of his staffers had decided to shut down the ramp to Ft. Lee to punish the Mayor of Ft. Lee for refusing to endorse the Governor in this past November's election.

Christie apparently was not harmed by the Mayor of Ft. Lee's refusal to understand the way politics works in New Jersey (or South Carolina, or Chicago) because the Governor won re-election 60% to 38%.

And he won as a Republican running as a Republican in a Democratic state.

As the New York Times reported:

"In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, Mr. Christie won a majority of the votes of women and Hispanics and made impressive inroads among younger voters and blacks - groups that Republicans nationally have struggled to attract."

Nevertheless, as the Wall Street Journal reported

Newly released emails showed that a top Christie aide suggested that another longtime associate of the governor create "traffic problems" in Fort Lee, N.J. Weeks later, the second official imposed lane closures leading to the George Washington Bridge that choked the town across the Hudson River from New York City in auto gridlock.

At least one staffer had apparently lied - either by commission or omission - and Christie had to fall back on the old "mistakes were made and those responsible will pay the price" that we've become so used to.

The brilliant writer (and now teacher at Yale) Walter Shapiro Tweeted:

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at