New Jersey governor Chris Christie may just have stepped into it, big time. A supposed leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, in early 2014 the recently re-elected Christie became embroiled in what the media have termed, with their usual creativity, “Bridgegate” (it seems since the original Watergate break-in in 1972, every new scandal needs to have the suffix “gate” attached to it). This particular scandal may find Christie burning his bridges, both in front and behind, as he navigates the tricky trail to the White House.
The controversy stems from lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, which connects Fort Lee, NJ with New York City, and is the heaviest-traveled bridge in the world. For several days in September 2013 bridge traffic was virtually shut down by lane closures which snarled motorists. This was apparently done in an act of political retaliation for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee’s refusal to endorse Christie’s re-election that autumn. Emails sent from Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Kelly, to Port Authority senior official and Christie appointee David Wildstein in August stating, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”, apparently prompted the four-day shutdown of two of three access lanes to the offending mayor’s city on September 9-13, 2013.
No prior notice of the closure was given to state or local emergency services, police, or the New York counterparts of the Jersey-side officials. Traffic ground to a halt, countless commuters were late for work, school buses failed to deliver their students on time, and at least one individual, a 91-year-old woman, possibly died as a result, when emergency vehicles were unable to reach her in a timely fashion after she collapsed in cardiac arrest. The situation was only rectified when the Port Authority’s executive director, an appointee of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, went over the heads of the local administrators and ordered the lanes reopened.
Christie downplayed the incident, which was blamed on a traffic study by Wildstein, excoriating members of the press who attempted to get answers, and even going so far as to joke about the episode in a December news conference, stating when queried as to his involvement that he was there incognito, “working the cones.”
But Christie’s bluster fell flat on January 8, when the Bridget Kelly email was made public, along with Wildstein’s two-word reply of “Got it”, indicating that plans had previously been laid for this retaliation. Wildstein had already resigned on December 6 in the wake of the growing scandal, and on January 9 Christie fired Kelly (whom, with typical Christie grace, he characterized as “stupid” and “deceitful”) and forced former campaign manager Bill Stepien, also implicated, to withdraw his name from consideration as head of the Jersey GOP. He then held a two-hour press conference, apologizing to Fort Lee’s mayor and populace, and fielding every conceivable question until the press corps’ curiosity was exhausted.
Speaking of which, Christie, by his account, exhausted his own curiosity about the incident long before, if he ever had any. He staunchly denies any knowledge or involvement, and apparently the traffic crisis itself, the subsequent scandal, the resignations of Wildstein and other Port Authority officials involved, and early press inquiries never made it onto his radar, as Christie professed himself ignorant of the matter entirely until Kelly’s emails were released.
If so, then Christie may emerge from this debacle relatively unscathed, but already both state and federal investigations have commenced, subpoenas issued, and witnesses deposed. Wildstein invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at a New Jersey General Assembly hearing, but intimated that he had dirt to dish if granted immunity from prosecution.
If Christie’s involvement or foreknowledge of the incident is unearthed from the avalanche of texts and emails forthcoming, then his political future is over; some legislators in the Democratic-controlled State House are already hinting at impeachment if the smoking gun is found. (One of Christie’s statements has already been proved false—he averred that he had not seen Wildstein in a long time, but less than a week later photos emerged of the governor with Wildstein at a 9-11 commemorative ceremony in New York, ironically during the midst of the actual bridge closure.)
But in the long run, the outcome here might not matter for Christie’s presidential aspirations. Although he won re-election by a 22-point landslide in a dyed-in-the-wool blue state and currently polls very well nationally in head-to-head presidential match-ups for the 2016 general election (based on a largely unmerited reputation for moderation and bipartisanship), the reality is that Christie likely would fare poorly at the hands of the rabidly conservative Republican primary electorate, and might never make it to the GOP nomination in any case.
Born 6 September 1962 in Newark, New Jersey, Christopher “Chris” James Christie, is the son of Sondra and Wilbur “Bill” Christie, a CPA. His political involvement began early, when at age 15 he volunteered for Republican Tom Kean’s gubernatorial campaign in 1977. Christie completed his undergraduate work at the University of Delaware and earned his JD from Seton Hall Law School in 1987. A year earlier he had married Mary Pat Foster, a fellow U Del student, who became a Wall Street investment banker. The couple has four children.
Christie was in private law practice until 2002, when George W. Bush appointed him United States Attorney for New Jersey, a post he held until 2008. In 2009 he ran against and defeated scandal-ridden incumbent Democrat John Corzine, becoming New Jersey’s 55th governor. Known for his brusque, blunt, in-your-face communication style as much as his over-sized frame, Christie is touted as a genial if gruff “man of the people”, a straight shooter who takes no prisoners, famously telling constituents and reporters alike to shut up and sit down when he feels they have overstepped their bounds.
In the wake of the Bridgegate scandal, several other Democratic mayors, who also denied Christie their endorsements, have begun to consider whether they might also have experienced a taste of the Christie payback, with lost or reduced funding, cancelled cabinet-level meetings and public appearances, and ignored requests for aid, some within mere hours of their refusals. If the pattern of retribution broadens beyond Fort Lee, and Christie’s involvement is clear, he may have much to answer for.
The roots of Chris Christie’s rather complex character flaws are easy to see in the birth chart, and the details of this current crisis emerge clearly when PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) are added.
Principal among the astro-culprits is an exact square between Mercury, planet of communication, at 9 Libra, and Mars, planet of conflict, at 9 Cancer, currently under the gun of the Uranus/Pluto square, exacerbating Christie’s natural tendency toward verbal fisticuffs and retaliation. Making things worse is an unfortunate combination of asteroid Niobe, representing arrogance and pride, with TNO (Trans-Neptunian Object) Eris, signaling discord or strife and TNO Chaos, champion of disorder and turmoil, at 8, 10 and 12 Aries, opposing Mercury and squaring Mars. This mini-stellium has been transited successively by Uranus since 2012, with last July’s retrograde station exactly atop Chaos, ramping up the natal effects considerably.
This linkage promotes a desire to lash out at opponents, to speak harshly and bluntly, without due consideration of the effect of those words or their consequences, to be excessively combative. Mars/Mercury can be downright nasty, and the gleam in Christie’s eye as he verbally eviscerates a critic is evidence of the glee with which he enters the fray. With Eris so prominent, Christie is a natural pot-stirrer, delighting in sowing discontent and division, especially sensitive to slights from others, real or perceived. His level of arrogance, pride and a sense of entitlement and grievance are pervasive, and prominently on display in his daily interactions and communications.
Transit Uranus active here is shaking things up, messing with the status quo and the complacency of the patterns he has ingrained over 50 years, as well as encouraging impulsive, not carefully considered responses. Transit Pluto in contact to the natal T-Square is insisting upon making changes in communication styles and expression of anger that Christie has no desire to make, and it seems to be acting in trademark fashion to ratchet up the pressure and bring focus to the fact that old patterns are no longer working for him, adding in the elements of scandal and coercive behaviors.
Natally Christie’s 13 Virgo Sun conjoins Pluto at 9 Virgo, so he’s got a strong, tough-as-nails core and is attracted to control and manipulation of others as ways of self-expression. It’s power that makes him feel alive, and he has that phoenix-like ability to remake himself after total disaster, so he shouldn’t be counted out too quickly, no matter the outcome of these investigations.
But Neptune coming to station retrograde exactly opposed natal Pluto in the spring of 2015, followed by a backhand station direct also exactly opposed just weeks after the 2016 election, says his dream of total power is likely to be only an illusion, a major disappointment in a life arc accustomed to steady success.
A solar eclipse at 9 Virgo exactly atop that natal Pluto in September 2016 also suggests that even if he successfully navigates this crisis and runs the gauntlet of the GOP primary season, where his carefully crafted national “brand” is such a disadvantage, his power base will start to ebb just at the point he needs it most.
The most recent solar eclipse, at 11 Scorpio on November 3, fell exactly on his natal Neptune, throwing Christie’s forward presidential momentum into confusion and perhaps presaging the larger disappointment to follow. Such a contact is also likely to evoke Christie’s deeper instincts toward obfuscation, misdirection and downright deceit, as well as the theatricality of his December press conference where he so cavalierly joked about setting up those traffic cones to block lanes. The hubristic pride of the Niobe/Mercury opposition is also in evidence here, if in fact Christie was aware of the bridge lane closures and assumed he could bluff it out with bravado, that he was untouchable and beyond the reach of justice, or even censure.
The pull toward the nation’s capital in the birth chart is apparent, with asteroid Washingtonia at 16 Gemini in square to the Sun. But oddly, Washingtonia here is also celestial cipher for the George Washington Bridge, and in a sterling example of cosmic hijinks, this simple square is transformed into a T-Square with the inclusion of asteroid Bridges (#4029) at 11 Sagittarius, itself exactly on a reality-warping Black Hole.
Christie may see that Washington ambition imploded by this Bridgegate scandal, and his cherished parallel reality of living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue may never come to be. Asteroid George (#3854, for the George Washington Bridge) falls at 14 Libra, conjunct Mercury, ruling connective energies like roads and bridges.
Also involved in this unexpected speed bump in Christie’s glide path to the presidency are asteroids Georgia (#359, also for the George Washington Bridge) and Lee (#3155, for Fort Lee) at 1 and 0 Aquarius respectively, right there with Saturn at 5 Aquarius. The conjunction with Saturn shows the importance of these names in Christie’s career, but Saturn also represents roadblocks, frustration and limitation, all of which he is potentially encountering now. Last April’s lunar eclipse at 5 Scorpio highlighted this Saturn precisely by square, and was still in effect when the fatal, perhaps fated, moves were made in August and September. The eclipse also opposed natal asteroid Achilles at 2 Taurus, a point highlighting our weakness and vulnerability, and leading to undoing.
Bridget Kelly is well represented in the natal chart also, principally by asteroid Kelly (#22312) at 25 Gemini, exactly opposing natal asteroid Nemesis at 25 Sagittarius, indicating the role of nemesis which Kelly may yet come to play in the Governor’s life and career. This opposition forms a wide Grand Cross with asteroids Forte (#8780, also for Fort Lee) and Christophe (for Christopher “Chris” Christie) at 28 Virgo, indicating an intimate connection between Christie personally (Christophe), his Deputy Chief of Staff (Kelly) and the locale of the scandal (Forte). Kelly is traveling in the natal chart with asteroid Askalaphus at 20 Gemini, a point noted for tale-bearing. Will Kelly turn state’s evidence and become Christie’s nemesis in fact?
There is also an asteroid Brigitta (#450, for Bridget), which at 27 Taurus exactly conjoins a volatile, controversy-evoking Maser and exactly opposes asteroid Hybris at 27 Scorpio, from which we derive our word hubris, that is, “excessive pride or arrogance”, something which Ms. Kelly may have spurred in her employer, or for which character trait she acted as his surrogate, with or without his knowledge. (Note—Hybris itself is exactly conjunct a spotlighting Quasar, making this “arrogant” facet of Christie’s personality one which shines brightly for all to see.]
More importantly, Brigitta was very tightly drawn into the Uranus/Pluto square as well, in exact semisquare to Uranus’ most recent retrograde station at 12 Aries last June, and sesquiquadrate Pluto, Uranus providing the shocks to the Christie machine, and Pluto the resulting scandal.
Lastly, asteroid Davida (#511, for David Wildstein) at 7 Gemini conjoins natal asteroid Christa (#1015, for both Chris and Christie), implying some sort of closeness, if not hand-in-glove collusion, between the two.
These odd “coincidences” in PNA placement continue throughout the scandal’s saga. When Bridget Kelly’s ill-advised email was sent (time-stamped 7:34 AM EDT August 13, 2013, from Trenton, NJ), asteroids George at 0 Gemini, Davida at 3 Gemini and Lee at 7 Gemini were conjunct the 2 Gemini MC, with Kelly and Washingtonia not far away, at 23 Taurus and 13 Gemini respectively.
This puts all the major known players and places in prominent, highly visible Midheaven venues.
- Transit Washingtonia is repeating its natal square to the 13 Virgo Sun, this time exactly, reinforcing the importance of that name for Christie’s sense of self, both in the present and for his future aspirations.
- Transit Achilles (weakness, vulnerability, undoing) at 16 Virgo has just recently come to conjoin the natal Sun, and is still within orb, while exactly squared natal Washingtonia, exposing his potential weakness as a presidential candidate.
- Transit Christa at 22 Pisces conjoins natal Forte at 21 Pisces, while
- Transit Christophe at 14 Libra exactly conjoins natal George, once again bringing together several story elements in perfect celestial symmetry.
The 6 Pisces Descendant of that chart exactly aligns with Christie’s natal Jupiter (politics), while transit Saturn at 5 Scorpio is exactly squaring its natal degree, indicating a crisis to come in career matters. That Jupiter will be hit by a Neptune transit this year, perhaps bringing confusion and disappointment to political ambition, with a station retrograde at 7 Pisces in June, repeated as a station direct in November 2015, just as the presidential battle begins to heat up in advance of the first primaries and caucuses.
The synastry continues with the release of that email on January 8, 2014. Washingtonia and Lee combine at 13 and 14 Gemini, both squared the natal Sun and in tight trine to transit Mars and Achilles at 14 and 15 Libra, atop natal George and reflective of a fatal weakness or vulnerability (Achilles) surrounding anger management issues (Mars).
Mars/Achilles also opposes transit Nemesis at 14 Aries, Mars exactly; it’s Christie’s temper that will prove his undoing. Asteroid George joins TNO Chaos at 19 and 16 Gemini, both within orb of Lee and on Christie’s natal Washingtonia, identifying the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee as the epicenter of the chaos unleashed by Christie’s staff’s retaliatory measures.
Asteroid Georgia now opposes natal Georgia/Lee/Saturn from 3 Leo, exactly squared the Nodal Axis at 3 Scorpio/Taurus, with the Aquarian stellium now conjoined by transit Pandora, Brigitta and Icarus at 2, 5 and 7 Aquarius. Pandora suggests the foolish release of unexpected and horrific consequences, Brigitta represents Bridget Kelly, and Icarus is rash, reckless actions heedless of the consequences, leading to disaster. Transit Christophe at 10 Sagittarius conjoins natal Bridges, seeming to tie Christie directly to the scandal.
Even Kelly’s firing is prefigured, with asteroid Kelly at 7 Taurus conjunct asteroid Requiem (named for the funeral mass for the dead, and representing endings or terminations) at 3 Taurus, all centered on Christie’s natal Achilles, that exposed chink in his political armor. Davida at 2 Gemini matches the MC of the email’s inception exactly, and is about to return to its natal place in Christie’s birth chart.
There is certainly a shoe or two more to drop in this saga, and who can tell where it leads? But for now it’s looking more and more like a potentially very formidable general election nominee for the GOP in 2016 is fading fast. And who wouldn’t smile, just a little, at that?
[Author’s postscript: On January 18, Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer came forward in an interview on MSNBC’s “Up with Steve Kornacki” to reveal an alleged conversation with New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno wherein the mayor was explicitly told that Hoboken’s access to Hurricane Sandy relief funds was directly dependent upon her backing a Rockefeller Group development project in her city, supported by the Christie administration. By Zimmer’s account, Guadagno admitted that to link the two “wasn’t fair”, but she needed to cooperate if she wanted the funding, and that Guadagno would deny ever having had the conversation if Zimmer made it public.
The Sun that day at 28 Capricorn was exactly conjoined Christie’s natal asteroid Zimmer (#3064), both exactly squared his natal asteroid Rockefellia (#904, for the Rockefeller Group) at 28 Libra. A transit T-Square of Venus retrograde at 17 Capricorn with asteroids Achilles at 16 Libra and Nemesis at 17 Aries portrays a woman (Venus) exposing a weak spot (Achilles) and potentially bringing about his undoing (Nemesis). Transit Askalaphus (tale-bearing) at 15 Virgo had recently conjoined Christie’s 13 Virgo Sun, with transit Zimmer at 4 Taurus exactly opposing transit Rockefellia at 4 Scorpio, staring each other down across the Nodal Axis at 3 Scorpio/Taurus, which is also highlighting Christie’s natal exact opposition from asteroid Christy (129564) to Achilles, at 2 Scorpio/Taurus.
It looks very much as if Chris Christie’s no-holds-barred governing style is catching up with him.]