Magazine | March 10, 2014, Issue

Bridge to Nowhere

Imagine a progressively inclined cable-news consumer running through the channels, sneering at the offerings. Fox: a massacre of Venezuelan protesters — damned CIA, up to their old tricks. CNN: An Iranian ship off New York might be dry-running an EMP test — neocon warmongery. You want the real news, you click over to MSNBC and see what Rachel’s uncovered about the biggest story of the 21st century. Ah: She’s just starting.

“Tonight, MSNBC can report exclusively on the breaking news of an exclusive piece of information which is breaking as we speak: We now have evidence that a piece of paper that contained the words ‘bridge,’ ‘shut down,’ and ‘punish’ was in Chris Christie’s possession in advance of the event we have been following here for the last year. More from our reporter Chuck Javert. Chuck?”

“Thanks, Rachel, yes, sources say the document containing the words was found . . . at his home. If you recall during the governor’s press conference, he said nothing about the document, nor did he admit to renting the movie.”

“The movie. I’m sorry, you’ll have to explain.”

“It’s the World War II drama The Longest Day, in which Allied commandos attempt to seize a bridge to keep the Nazis from destroying it. We can confirm Christie did rent the movie from Blockbuster in 1999, and the words ‘bridge,’ ‘shut down,’ and ‘punish’ most likely appear in the script, according to experts familiar with the Allied push into Axis territory. It should be noted that the scene was described in the book but did not make the final cut of the movie, which does give the governor plausible deniability.”

“But some are saying that this could be the smoking gun that proves the governor conceived, executed, and covered up the Fort Lee Lane Closure. Have you reached out to the governor’s office for a comment?”

“We’ve had someone outside the state capitol using a flashlight to send a request in Morse code, but so far there’s been no response, and I think that speaks volumes.”

“Indeed it does.”

MONTHS LATER

Ehh, Fox still boo-hooing about that dirty bomb going off in Tel Aviv; CNN whipping up war fever about that Iranian nuclear test. Gotta go to MSNBC for the good stuff. Darn, it’s already started!

“ — the first definitive proof of a link between Chris Christie, the bridge shutdown, and — I hope you’re sitting down for this — the Koch brothers. We go to Charles ‘The Inspector’ Javert, as we’ve come to know him over the years this story has unrolled. Chuck?”

#page# “Thanks, Rachel, and yes, this might reset the scoreboard. Last week, as you know, we reported exclusively that Governor Christie had met with the Koch brothers in their secret lair underneath a volcano in Wisconsin. Many of our friends on the right scoffed that there are no volcanoes in Wisconsin; I guess they missed the ‘secret’ part. We asked the governor’s office to deny the story, and they faxed over a denial, if you can call it that.

 (Holds up a piece of paper that has a picture of Garfield the Cat laughing.)

“Well, tonight we have received a technical analysis of the fax paper, and it’s consistent with paper made by Georgia-Pacific — which, as you know, is owned by Koch. Rachel?”

“That’s eye-opening, Chuck, but some would say that since the fax came out of our machine here in the newsroom, we supplied the paper.”

“Yes, well, they would, wouldn’t they? If there’s one thing I’ve learned covering this ongoing saga, Rachel, it’s that there are no coincidences.”

MANY MONTHS LATER

“Late-breaking news of the aftermath of the North Korean nuclear strike on an American carrier group, but first an update on the new evidence that ties Chris Christie to a plan — not just to shut down the bridge, but to remove it entirely. Chuck Javert is back from assignment in the Himalayas, where sightings of a Yeti who looks like Christie continue to pour in. Chuck?”

“Thank you, and it’s good to be back. We can report tonight that an aide to the governor sent him an e-mail saying he would be gone on Tuesday — remember, the bridge closed on a Thursday, and both days start with ‘T’ — and the e-mail said he needed to have the bridge removed entirely, because of — and here I’m quoting — ‘the pain it’s been causing.’”

“That’s quite an admission.”

“It is. The aide refers to an operative he calls only ‘The Dentist,’ but we’ve learned it’s a man named Anderson, who was indeed involved in bridge construction.”

“So this Anderson was involved in the traffic study, I take it.”

“Not necessarily. He is a dentist who specializes in reconstructive oral surgery. But the story doesn’t stop there. On the day the aide scheduled the bridgework — and I think the term is significant — The Dentist placed an orange traffic cone in his reserved parking spot. Sources at the office say it was because the sign that said ‘Private Parking’ had been knocked over the night before, and the cone was placed there until the sign was replaced, but the use of an orange cone — which, of course, was what they used to close the lane on the bridge — is an odd coincidence, and some are saying it was a signal.”

“And we don’t know who knocked down the parking sign.”

“No more than we know who knocked down Building 7 at the World Trade Center, Rachel.”

“The mystery deepens. Any response to this latest exclusive from the Christie administration? This is the sort of thing that can ruin a political career.”

“We’ve been calling the White House all day. So far? Not a word.”

– Mr. Lileks blogs at www.lileks.com.

James Lileks — James Lileks writes the Athwart column for National Review magazine and is a frequent contributor to the National Review website. He is a prominent voice on Ricochet podcasts.

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