If you lie down with dogs…

At the advent of 2014, New Jersey politicians are in the grips of scandal once more. Yes, there is another scandal in New Jersey. Who could have seen this one coming?

In what appears to be an attempt at political retaliation against Mayor Mark Sokoloich of Fort Lee for his refusal to endorse Chris Christie in his 2013 bid for governor, members of Christie’s gubernatorial staff ordered the closure of two toll lanes at the Fort Lee entrance on the George Washington Bridge.

These actions led to a colossal traffic jam in Fort Lee that spanned several days. As a result, children were unable to attend school, employees missed work and emergency vehicles were unable to respond to crises, causing the death of at least one person.

Though there is no concrete proof that Christie was directly involved in this incident, what does this mayhem say about Christie’s character? And, has his reputation been so severally compromised by this developing scandal that a 2016 run for president is no longer a viable option for Christie?

Once the extent of the scandal was unearthed, Christie was quick to fire the supposed ringleader Bridget Anne Kelley — Christie’s deputy chief of staff — and hold a press conference to deny all involvement or knowledge of the lane closings.

Though it is too excessive of an assumption to claim that Christie has been entirely dishonest, the prospect of Christie having no knowledge of the events seems all the more ridiculous.

But, even if we assume Christie had no knowledge of these proceedings, his staff’s petty, erroneous choices are a reflection of his judgment. Christie, as a leader, is to some extent responsible for the actions of his staff; after all, he did choose them as his trusted confidants.

The success of a Christie 2016 presidential campaign will rely on Christie’s abilities to clean up this mess, any yet-to-be-revealed facts involving this case and the attention span of the American public.

The election is two years away and it is easy enough to forget these events, but we ask that Youngstown State University students remember the scandal at hand. America has experienced enough controversy recently; it is time to take some preemptive measures and avoid voting for candidates who prove unreliable and controversial. It may sound cliche, but we are the future. The decisions made in politics today will be felt throughout the rest of our lives.

The people of Youngstown are all too familiar with the damaging impact of dirty politics. Before voting for Christie in 2016, exercise caution. Though we may not know Christie’s full involvement in this mess, we do know he is directly associated with the Jersey stereotype of dirt-covered administrators. And as the old cliche goes: if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.