The cruelest cut: Springsteen goofs on Christie over Bridgegate

He can live with losing the presidency. Given the startling extent of his Springsteen fandom, I’m not sure he can live with this. As a Twitter buddy said, it’s like One Direction serenading a tween by name about how ugly she is. The song’s not that cutting — except for the line about killing the working man — but the fact that Bruce would make time to join in an easy goof like this makes me wonder if he wasn’t looking for a way to inch away from Christie after all the media blather about their new friendship after Sandy. That was destined to happen anyway if he won the nomination; maybe it’s better that the big break-up song be sung now than in summer 2016. That would be like One Direction singing the “you’re ugly” song to a squealing fan on her birthday.

Meanwhile, in actual news, the mystery deepens: Who or what was the real target in those bridge lane closings?

The explanation — that it was a move to punish a Democratic mayor who had refused to endorse Christie’s reelection bid — is being met with skepticism, both in the halls of the state capitol in Trenton and in Fort Lee, where the tie-up occurred for several days in September…

Councilman Joseph L. Cervieri Jr. said the mayor discussed the possibility of endorsing Christie late last spring or in the early summer and quickly dismissed it.

“The whole conversation was maybe a two-minute conversation,” Cervieri said. That such a minor slight could trigger such a major retaliation months later, as the governor was heading for a landslide victory, is “a possibility — but what is the probability?”

Nor would that be in keeping with the kind of immediate, targeted retribution exacted of another Democratic mayor, Steven Fulop of Jersey City, who said his relations with the Christie administration were abruptly cut off after he declined to endorse the governor in July. That same day, Christie’s aides canceled Fulop’s meetings with administration officials regarding recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.

Christie had more reason than most pols do to crave endorsements from the other party, but if you’re going to punch Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for holding out, why wait? Why not order the bridge lane closings ASAP to make sure the message you’re sending is received? On the other hand, if there’s some innocent explanation for the bridge closings unrelated to political retaliation, why didn’t Christie make that case himself instead of canning Bridget Kelly before she had a chance to explain? He seems convinced that “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” was, and could only be, sinister. Probably true. But why behave sinisterly when you’re 20 points up in your reelection bid? The risk of blowing a sure win in November is so much greater at that point than the meager reward of punishing Fort Lee’s mayor for refusing to endorse Christie that it seems irrational even for a bunch of score-settling staffers on a power trip.

Oh well. Per Quinnipiac, Christie’s job approval stands at 55/38. That’s bit lower than what Monmouth found over roughly the same period (59/32) but hardly evidence of crumbling public favor. He was destined to dip anyway once the honeymoon period after his reelection faded. It took Obama until late March of last year to fully lose his post-election glow; maybe all Bridgegate will amount to is Christie losing his a bit faster. Exit question: Jimmy Fallon does a better Springsteen than Springsteen, doesn’t he?