• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

In Marathon Presser, Christie Fires Top Aide, Expresses Embarrassment Over Bridge Scandal

Christie Jan 9 Presser

When we first learned yesterday of the e-mail exchanges between a top Christie aide and one of the most prominent decision makers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that apparently led to the politically motivated decision to close several lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, many people wondered why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was seemingly so quiet. After all, this is one politician who has never been afraid to take on the press before, and seemingly had the political instincts to know that he needed to get out in front of this story before the feeding frenzy overwhelmed him. Instead, he remained largely behind closed doors at the Governor’s Office in Trenton all day yesterday and it wasn’t until the end of the day that a rather tepid statement was issued denying any foreknowledge of the events described in the emails and promising further action. By the end of the day, and as people woke up this morning, the calls for him to address the growing questions more directly were becoming louder.

Before the end of the morning, though, Christie was indeed out in front of the cameras holding forth in a press conference that lasted nearly a full two hours in which he expressed contrition, anger, frustration, and embarrassment over what he insists are events that he was not fully aware of until he saw the emails for himself yesterday morning:

Gov. Chris Christie apologized to the people of New Jersey on Thursday, saying that he was “embarrassed and humiliated” by revelations that a top aide and other close associates ordered lane closings on the George Washington Bridge to deliberately snarl traffic as an act of political vengeance.

He said he fired that aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff, whom he called “stupid” and “deceitful.”

The revelations became public on Wednesday, when a series of emails and texts showed that members of his administration and others were deeply involved, contradicting the governor’s own earlier public statements on the matter.

“I am heartbroken that someone I permitted to be in that circle of trust for the past five years betrayed that trust,” he said.

In a somber and humbling news conference, Mr. Christie fielded pointed questions for almost two hours. He acknowledged that he would have to work to restore the trust of the people.

(…)

Speaking from the State House in Trenton, Mr. Christie acknowledged that he misled the public, but he said he did so unwittingly. He said he was “blindsided” by the revelations, which he learned about only as they became public on Wednesday morning.

“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution,” Mr. Christie said. “And I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here, regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover, this was handled in a callous and indifferent way.”

It was a dramatic reversal after months of denying that anyone in his administration or campaign played any role in the lane closings, which resulted in a traffic nightmare last September in Fort Lee.

He said that four weeks ago, before publicly addressing the simmering controversy, he gathered his top staff and asked them if anyone had anything to do with the lane closings.

“They all reported that there was no information other than what we already knew,” he said.

“I was being led to believe by folks around me that there was no basis to this,” he said. “I was wrong.”

The fallout from the release of the emails, which are as brazen as they are blunt, reverberated nationally, threatening to undermine Mr. Christie’s carefully cultivated image.

Mr. Christie has been accused of at times bullying political opponents, and he was asked if the tone of the emails was a reflection on his own governing style.

“This is not the tone I have set over the last four years in this building,” he said. “I am who I am. I am not a bully.”

Among other things, Christie said that he initially expressed bewilderment at the idea that the lane closures had any political motive because, as he put it, obtaining the endorsement of the Mayor of Fort Lee had never been on the campaign’s radar as far as he knew. Indeed, that assertion has seemingly been confirmed by the Mayor himself, who said in several media appearances last night that he had never been approached by anyone associated with the Christie campaign about the possibility of an endorsement. Also, in addition to firing his Deputy Chief of Staff, he also severed his relationship with Bill Stepien, the man who ran both his 2009 and 2012 campaigns, was set to become the head of the New Jersey Republican Party, and was in line to get a lucrative consultant’s position with the Republican Governor’s Association, which Christie took over as Chairman at the beginning of the new year. More importantly, Christie said that he had no knowledge of the involvement of these aides in the lane closures, or the contents of the email that become public, until he first saw it himself yesterday morning. Then, after his brief statement, he launched into a round of taking questions from members of the Trenton press corps as well as the plethora of national media that had made the trek to the state capital as soon as the press conference was announced earlier this morning. By the time it was over, the Chris Christie who had walked into the room seemingly contrite, quieter than normal, and looking somewhat drained of energy had transformed back into the Chris Christie of old, and most importantly perhaps giving the appearance of someone who was confident in his position.

Here’s the video of the entire event, via NBC News:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

While this is hardly the end of the matter, it must be said off the top that this was, in the end, the classic Chris Christie that we’ve come to know over the past four years. To the extent that a supporter was watching to see how he’d respond today, or a Republican worried about the man who is currently leading the GOP’s 2016 field, you most likely walked away from this feeling fairly confident because, as Chris Cillizza put it, Christie did everything that he needed to do today:

1. He was remorseful and apologetic. There was no hedged apology, no attempt to foist all of the blame on his staff. (He foisted blame on his staff a-plenty but also took plenty on himself.)  His tone, which represented a major shift from the brashness and bluster on which Christie has built his national reputation, seemed real and heartfelt. He came across as genuinely surprised to learn about the actions of Bridget Anne Kelly. He used words like “heart-broken”, “humiliated” and “sad” over and over again. For someone like Christie — for whom that tone doesn’t come naturally — he came across as sincere.

2. He fired people.  Say what you will about sacrificial lambs but they work.  There’s no way that Bridget Kelly was going to keep her job after the emails she sent were revealed. But getting rid of Bill Stepien, a very close political ally of Christie, cuts deep in the Christie organization.  Jettisoning both Kelly and Stepien and the rhetoric he used to describe them — he called Kelly’s actions “stupid” and “deceitful” — effectively channeled the anger that people feel about these folks who quite clearly repaid a political vendetta at the expense of the people of Fort Lee.

3. He took questions. Then took some more questions. Then even more. It became clear as the press conference wore on (and on) that Christie and his team had decided beforehand that he was going to stay at the podium until no reporter (or anyone else) in the room could think of any more questions. That seems like the right approach — get out everything you can in a single day and make clear that you are open and ready to answer whatever is asked of you. As the presser wore on, some of the more “traditional” Christie began to peek out — he could have done without his answer on knowing David Wildstein in high school — but we still think politicians are better off going long rather than short when it comes to press conferences called to address controversies.

Cillizza goes on to note, correctly, that there are still potential speed bumps ahead for the Governor, not the least of them being parallel investigations by the New Jersey State Legislature, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, and possibly even a Transportation Subcommittee in the United States Senate (Federal Jurisdiction would exist by virtue of the George Washington Bridge’s status as a major interstate traffic conduit.) Additionally, there’s the unknown quantities of people former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly, former Campaign Manager Bill Stepien, and former Port Authority offici.al David Wildstein, who is the official that Kelly had communicated with each other about closing lanes near Fort Lee in the emails released yesterday. Today, mere minutes after Christie’s press conference had concluded, Wildstein was asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege in response to every question asked by a State Legislative Committee in Trenton, a response that is not entirely surprising given the potential legal consequences that he and others may face in this matter. We don’t know right now what these people are going to say, or whether there are other documents out there that might implicate people closer to Christie than these, a fact that even Christie admitted when he said that there will be further investigations of the matter. 

Those investigations, though, will be largely out of Christie’s hands. What mattered for him today was dealing with the issue of immediate political damage, and what this might mean for his political future. For the moment, he has done the best that he can do in both respects. Some analysts are criticizing the press conference for the extent that it was so much about himself, but that was also a matter largely out of Christie’s control given that the vast majority of the questions were about Christie, what he knew, and when he knew it. Indeed, that seemed to be all that the members of the press, especially the nationally press cared about. To some extent, Christie is addressing the other half of the equation this afternoon with a visit to Fort Lee where he hopes to meet with the Mayor and residents of the city to apologize in person. It’s a small step, but one that is arguably necessary given the bad blood that all of this has stirred up. The irony in all of this, though, is the fact that Christie won Fort Lee by a fairly healthy margin in last November’s election.

The qualifier to all of this, of course, is that Christie is telling the truth. If it turns out that he was more closely involved in the closures than he’s let on, or that he knew about his staff’s involvement far earlier than yesterday, then it’s hard to see him having much of a political future. If that’s the case, though, then, as one CNN analyst put it immediately after the press conference ended, then he is a masterful actor. For the moment, I’m taking Christie at his word, though, and, as I said in my New York Times piece this afternoon, it seems eminently clear to me that this scandal is something that he can easily survive if he just follows the same political instincts that got him where he is today

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    If this was a one shot deal and if Christie wasn’t involved or aware, yes, he’ll recover from this. But people are going to be deposed under oath soon. The press will be eagerly looking to see if any more turds get turned over. Picking on one mayor one time seems a very odd thing to do, and the emails don’t smell like this was a unique event.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  2. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Firing people 5 months after the fact, when you’ve spent those 5 months:

    1) doing everything in your power to make the matter go away instead of getting to the bottom of it;

    2) trying to bully people into shutting down investigations, even going so far as to call the governor of NY asking him to shut them down and;

    3) characterizing it as a media witch hunt even as your political appointees “resign”

    is little more than attempting to cover your ass once you’ve been outed. What we saw today was the performance of an exceptionally gifted liar.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 55 Thumb down 4

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I still find it hard to believe that Christy didn’t know about this weeks or months ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I don’t want to believe you’re right – I’m more Jersey by temperament than I am Californian and I like blunt-spoken guys – but I suspect you’re right. His problem is he’s in danger from 1) Anything that contradicts his absolute denial today and 2) Any new example of vindictiveness.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  5. legion says:

    Cillizza is desperately carrying water by the bucketful, and Christie just keeps poking holes in the buckets. He’s still trying to cover his arse with that BS “traffic study” excuse. When is someone going to FOIA that study so we can show what a transparent lie _that_ is too?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  6. C. Clavin says:

    Christie played the victim…and he didn’t begin to explain how a former US Attorney couldn’t get to the bottom of this…in his own f’ing office.
    But he probably did enough to control the damage…assuming there isn’t more waiting to come out.
    Hard to believe this dirty trick was a one-off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    I’d laid fairly decent odds that he directly ordered it. It’s directly in conformance with everything that I know about the man. He gets his way through bullying and is vindictive in the extreme towards those he feels have wronged him. He’s always been that way, but as with all things, proving it is the problem.

    My hope now is that Fishman finds enough basis to prosecute one or more of his acolytes. Let that happen and I suspect the birds will begin to sing in order to save their own behinds.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  8. legion says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    What we saw today was the performance of an exceptionally gifted liar.

    No, what we saw was the performance of a _desperate_ liar. The fact that we amateurs are sitting here picking him apart so easily belies the “gifted” part.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Doug:

    as I said in my New York Times piece this afternoon

    Feels good, doesn’t it? After I made the NYT bestseller list I wanted to tattoo it on my giant bald head. The MSM may not be the fountainhead anymore, but it can still dole out enjoyable recognition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @legion:

    Point taken. We’ll restate it as being the performance of a gifted actor who is desperately trying to lie his way out of a mess that he almost certainly had a hand in creating.

    I wouldn’t believe the guy at this point if he told me that water is wet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I think it’s now official that more people have been fired over the “Bridge Scandal” than over Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservative groups, the ObamaCare website fiasco, and Fast & Furious combined.

    And just how was this letter substantially different from the letter the Obama administration sent out ordering the government agencies to make the sequester cuts as painful as possible? Even if it meant spending more money than simply doing nothing?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 44

  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Deflector shields, activate!

    You go, Herman. :-D

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I actually doubt he ordered it. The beauty of having good suck-up apparatchik minions is that they know what you want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    You’d have to know the guy. He’s a control freak who does not delegate well, at least in my past experiences with him. It would honestly surprise me if these folks went off on this little misadventure without, at a minimum, his tacit approval.

    We may never find a piece of paper or an email thread substantiating that, but my gut tells me that he knew it was going to happen before it did. It’s his style.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Yes, more people fired than were fired over the made-up controversies that inflame the tiny minds of hamsters like you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 1

  16. Stonetools says:

    @gVOR08:

    Who will punish this obstreperous mayor?

    Thats all that need to be said (or words to that effect)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    What gets me is how…punk-ass Christie’s actions were. How penny-ante. How petty. It’s one thing to retaliate against a political opponent directly — while often unfortunate, that’s part of how the game is played.

    But in this case, what Christie did didn’t even hurt Mayor Sokolich directly — rather, it hurt Christie’s own constituents, the citizens of New Jersey. What did Sokolich suffer? A few tough days at work? But in order to inconvenience one man, Christie was willing to hurt hundreds of thousands of his own people – - and with such a coward’s weapon, with traffic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  18. Rafer Janders says:

    For the moment, I’m taking Christie at his word,

    Based on what?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  19. Buffalo Rude says:

    Christie might not have explicitly known about this particular rat-f**k, but that he wasn’t aware that that kind of stuff was going on within the culture of his own administration beggars belief. No political party has the market cornered on “hard knuckle” politics. But when you are putting the public at risk and messing with interstate commerce in order to exact political revenge, it deserves more scrutiny than I’m sure Christie wants. And while I understand the political strategy behind the marathon-get-in-front-of-it press conference, methinks he made more problems than he solved. Especially since the Feds are getting involved and his buddy was found in contempt for, perhaps smartly, invoking his right to not incriminate himself.

    I don’t doubt for a second that Christie probably has enough plausible deniability to keep his ass out of the dock, the guy is a former prosecutor after-all, but this is going to plague him for the rest of his political life. As it should.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Buffalo Rude:

    My gut says that when;

    a major bridge in your state, the busiest bridge in fact in the entire country, effectively shuts down for 5 days, and;

    your aides tell you it was because of a traffic study, and;

    the executive director of the agency controlling the bridge tells you that no such study exists

    your first response, at least if you are any sort of ethical leader, is to dig in and find out who is lying to you and why the debacle happened.

    You don’t care about / try to avoid doing that only when you already know the answers to those questions.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0

  21. Buffalo Rude says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Funny how most of the RWNJ reaction is to scream BENGHAZI!!1!!, IRS!1!!!, Fast and Furious!!1!, et cetera, et alia and all that. . .

    Wingnut fever dreams are not substantial evidence to advance a narrative. Email and text message dialogues, however, are substantial evidence. But yeah, lets talk about Obummerz, because the wingnuts have no easy way to defend Christie and the perpetual rage innate in the modern right wing precludes them from just shutting-up.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  22. MarkedMan says:

    Doug’s right in that if Christy is telling the truth he will survive this. But having worked in NJ for a decade, my impression that this is simply who Christie is. He delights in surrounding himself with a half dozen security guards and cronies and literally getting in the face of some retirement age school teacher and showing her the contempt he feels for al the weaklings like her. The Big Dog is gonna have him some fun! And his campaign employs a videographer so he can show all his supporters just how he clued her.

    And I can’t help wondering – why exactly did he appoint his long time political hatchet man to the transit authority, if it wasn’t to pull exactly this type of shenanigans? I have no doubt that Doug is correct that Christie’s anger and sense of betrayal are real. It’s just that I suspect it revolves around them leaving an email trail, not about what they did.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Buffalo Rude: I don’t scream about them. At this point, I tend to speak them in sad resignation. The new rule is that no matter how appalling a scandal is, if it might benefit Republicans, the mindless mobs that support Obama will defend him to their dying breaths.

    I only hope the GOP is keeping careful track of just what is now considered acceptable by Democrats for when they take the White House back. Using the IRS to punish your political foes alone has tremendous potential for mischief.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 31

  24. Buffalo Rude says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    your first response, at least if you are any sort of ethical leader. . .

    Ima defer to your gut, though I think the emphasized passage gets close to begging the question.

    Serious question: Do you think Christie’s experience as a prosecutor would allow him to be smart enough to keep just out of the reach of the law? Everything I’ve read about “Big Chicken” seems to indicate that he is an incredibly intelligent and smart person.

    I can imagine him skating on any kind of criminal or civil consequence, but politically, he’s dead. In my opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Wake me up when you apply that kind of forceful judgment to Obama… or any other Democrat, for that matter.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 23

  26. the Q says:

    I love how Christie, in an aside says, “after my workout with my trainer”….and Doug chimes , “in my NY Times piece today”….

    I know this since I was reading OTB today while sitting first class on the Singapore Air A380 heading to meet Prime Minister Abe of Japan btw…..

    PS, Harvard92 takes are most interesting…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  27. Rafer Janders says:

    What seems to be missing from Doug’s post is any sense of outrage that the government would use the coercive power of the state to punish its political opponents and its own citizens…but then again, Doug is a professed Libertarian, so that’s not something he’s really concerned about as a matter of principle….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  28. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I only hope the GOP is keeping careful track of just what is now considered acceptable by Democrats for when they take the White House back.

    Yep, this is my fear too. We’re potentially in big trouble in about 2032.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  29. Buffalo Rude says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I don’t scream about them. At this point, I tend to speak them in sad resignation.

    I’m happy to hear you’re advancing along the Kübler-Ross model. One more step and we can all move on. . . hopefully.

    The new rule is that no matter how appalling a scandal is, if it might benefit Republicans, the mindless mobs that support Obama will defend him to their dying breaths.

    It’s not often that the projector knocks over the screen.

    I only hope the GOP is keeping careful track of just what is now considered acceptable by Democrats for when they take the White House back. Using the IRS to punish your political foes alone has tremendous potential for mischief.

    Totes unprecedented, duderz. The difference being that Nixon using the IRS to harass political opponents was real, whereas the current IRS thing is an unsubstantiated rightwing fever dream. Lemme know when the nutjob theories are actually backed-up by observable reality. I won’t hold my breath.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  30. C. Clavin says:

    Can you imagine if Obama had done this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  31. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Um…for those things to be analogous…someone in Obamas staff would have had to made them happen.
    So Obamas staff planned Benghazi … And then Obama said Benghazi didn’t happen.
    That’s what your going with?
    Good for you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @C. Clavin: Good point. One of the more interesting things about American politics today is that although, as to be expected, performance is measured against expectations, Democrats and “Liberal” media are measured by one standard involving fairness, accuracy, results and competency. But Repubs and Repub media start from a much much lower level of expectations. It is so ingrained in the US world view that people don’t even realize they are doing it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    There are times I wish he had a bit of the inner thug about him. But to answer your rhetorical question, no, I can’t imagine Obama doing this.

    Mostly Obama spends his time not doing things Right-wingers accuse him of, doing things Left-wingers talked themselves into believing he wouldn’t do, and of course arranging for working people to be able to see a doctor.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Buffalo Rude:

    Serious question: Do you think Christie’s experience as a prosecutor would allow him to be smart enough to keep just out of the reach of the law?

    I think it’s more a question of establishing whether or not he knew about it ahead of time. There is the possibility, however slim IMO, that he didn’t and his office just ended up being populated with petty & vindictive people after his own personality. That goes nowhere legally.

    If he did, I think he’s in trouble, for the simple reason that there are just too many sacrificial lambs involved in this one, and Fishman only needs one or two to get to Christie. I can think of 6 people just off the top of my head who have been thrown under the bus for being involved with this, and that list may grow. If he knew, and one of them flips to save his own butt, then its all over.

    My experience with him gives me the impression of someone who is quite intelligent, but in a two-dimensional and malevolent way colored by his own ego. Chris is the sort of guy who keeps doing what he does because he’s always gotten away with it and believes that he always will. He’s left a long string of folks with axes to grind behind him. I suspect those folks are sharpening their knives now.

    The broader point is that tactics like this are not something that are unusual for him. I know too many AUSAs who worked under him in Newark who all tell the same story. Petty crap like this is typical of him, and under the microscope of well funded opposition in a political campaign, well, let’s just say that I suspect the folks who’ll be coming up out of the woodwork with stories to tell will prove to be highly revealing (and, from a schadenfreude perspective) highly entertaining.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  35. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Buffalo Rude: Back in May, Obama called the IRS scandal “outrageous” and “unacceptable.” Just when did it become rageous and acceptable?

    And yeah, I can’t imagine Obama ever doing anything like this. He just “takes responsibility” without actually doing anything. He seems to think that if he says those magic words, everything gets better and the messes go away.

    in his defense, as far as his lickspittles (so ably present here) are concerned, he’s right…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 26

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    How lucky for you that he won’t be running again.

    Hopefully your case of ODS & conservative victimhood will begin to subside

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: ODS? Oh, yeah, the plagiarized BDS. Too bad you can’t come up with your own term, and have to steal Dr. Krauthammer’s.

    Obama only fires people who embarrass him. Those who break the law or act irresponsibly or reprehensibly get passes; it’s the whistleblowers and those who show insufficient devotion that get sacked.

    Christie is showing how it should be done. And he’s a fool. He should just call it a “phony scandal” and refuse to talk about it. That’s what works these days.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 23

  38. edmondo says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Can you imagine if Obama had done this?

    Well, then the same people who are on here calling Christie a liar would be telling us that Obama was trying to solve New York City’s traffic problems by keeping automobiles in NJ and we just don’t understand 13th dimensional chess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You bring up an interesting possibility here – he was an AG. He had a lot of power to exercise. If Doug is right, he never used that power in a significantly petty and vindictive way. If I am right though, and his personality almost requires it, it is quite possible he left a paper trail and some of the victims will probably have long memories.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    ODS? Oh, yeah, the plagiarized BDS. Too bad you can’t come up with your own term, and have to steal Dr. Krauthammer’s.

    Hey, if the shoe fits. It’s telling that you didn’t dispute the assertion, but instead attacked the messenger. That seems to be a consistent tactic from you.

    Frankly, it’s boring.

    Those who break the law or act irresponsibly or reprehensibly get passes

    For example (and be specific …)

    Christie is showing how it should be done

    Eh, no. If that were the case, he never would have screwed up by calling Cuomo, and he wouldn’t have left this mess swinging in the wind for 5 months while acting all petulant & trying to play the victim.

    The biggest complaint I had heard, up to now anyway, from friends in Jersey is that the governor didn’t seem to give much of a damn about what happened (about which they were, and remain, quite hot). Today’s performance did nothing to rectify that. If anything, it made it worse.

    He walks away from this looking either incompetent or malevolent, and outside of the blabbering faithful, it has harmed him politically. The knives will be out now.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  41. mantis says:

    @edmondo:

    You don’t even understand two-dimensional chess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    He was a US Attorney, and just speaking from what I have been told by the multitude of AUSAs I know who worked under him in Newark (I was an AUSA in Manhattan, and the two offices interact quite a bit), Doug is very, very wrong on that one.

    The guy didn’t wake up a few months ago and decide to be a prick. He’s always been one, and yea, the line of folks in his wake who are sharpening their long knives at the moment is pretty substantial.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  43. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    I was thinking about the Republican reaction if he did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  44. the Q says:

    Unless Chrisie used that day long meeting yesterday so everyone could swear to an omerta, he would be foolish to go out on such a limb if indeed he knew about it.

    Maybe the 3 aides will go Susan McDougal and cover for the boss and take the penalty. Who knows?

    Christie has some pretty big balls to expose himself if he was lying today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Bush had people tortured and he still walks, so Christie ain’t goin’ down over a 91 year old grandmother with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel (IOKIFYAR). I was unable to watch and I only heard parts of his presser, but I thought he was doing pretty good right up until he said, “I am not a witch bully.”

    That is in every political ad from now until he is in his grave. Nasdrovia!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  46. KansasMom says:

    If this is how Christie’s foes were treated what did his friends get? Time to follow the Sandy money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Christie has some pretty big balls to expose himself if he was lying today.

    Nail on head.

    He does, huge ones, and that is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: For example (and be specific …)

    Lois Lerner: allowed to retire gracefully even after perjuring herself.

    Eric Holder: Still holds Obama’s trust and faith despite perjuring himself.

    On the other hand, the ATF agent who blew the whistle on the murderous idiocy that was Fast & Furious has been muzzled and disciplined — so far, the only official to face any disciplinary action over the scandal that has literally led to hundreds of deaths.

    There’s three off the top of my head.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 18

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: Heh. Thanx Michael. It was a long day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Really? I seem to recall Lerner judiciously invoking her 5th Amendment right not to testify. While suggestive, that is not perjury.

    As for Holder? Ask your buddy Doug about that one. As you noted in your commentary on that one, you are not a lawyer. Your best bet is probably not to try to be one.

    You know, that said though, I have no problem with these folks being punished if they are proven to have committed wrongdoing.

    Are you prepared to say that same about Christie? Because I have to tell you, at this point you’re just playing the same old worn-out victim dirge that hasn’t aged well.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  51. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m more Jersey by temperament than I am Californian and I like blunt-spoken guys

    There’s blunt-spoken and honest, and blunt-spoken and dishonest. If you’re blunt-spoken in the service of a lie, then it’s not an admirable quality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  52. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Quite frankly, I don’t give two craps about Christie. What interests me here is the all-too-predictable hypocrisy of the commentariat here. You just can’t even pretend to hold Obama to the same standard you want to hold Christie to.

    Besides, this is all battlefield preparation. It’s getting things ready for Hillary. The media and the left (but I repeat myself) are doing the exact thing they did in 2008: pick their favorite Republican that they can use to beat down other candidates, then turn on him and destroy him. Christie’s just the new version of John McCain.

    I actually expected this to happen later, after the race really starts revving up. But I guess this whole bridge mess (which really is a “local news” story, like the Kermit Gosnell charnel house was dismissed as) was too good an opportunity to pass up. They usually aren’t this stupid. Craven, dishonest, manipulative, and hypocritical, but not usually this stupid.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 25

  53. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: And as for Lois Lerner? I’ll repeat what I said at the time. When an employee is asked to discuss how they executed their duties as an employee by the people who pay their salary and they take the 5th, they have every legal right to do so and not be prosecuted. But they should expect to be fired on the spot. If you can’t discuss how you did your job, how you acted while on the clock and acting as a representative of your employer to your employer, they have a duty to can your ass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  54. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Oh, let’s just run with that one. What would have happened if Christie had gone behind that giant podium and said that he did nothing wrong in the whole mess, he was completely innocent of any wrongdoing, but he was asserting his 5th Amendment right to not incriminate himself and refusing to discuss the matter?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You seem to have the legislative branch and the executive branch confused with one another.

    I’d suggest a primer on separation of powers.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Apparently they didn’t teach Civics 101 at Harvard — or you missed it. Congress holds the purse strings, so Congress paid her salary. Plus, they have the Constitutional right to oversee the bureaucracy, so she has the legal obligation to cooperate with that oversight. It’s literally part of her job.

    She refused to do her job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  57. HarvardLaw92 says:

    What interests me here is the all-too-predictable hypocrisy of the commentariat here. You just can’t even pretend to hold Obama to the same standard you want to hold Christie to.

    How did you get that from this:

    You know, that said though, I have no problem with these folks being punished if they are proven to have committed wrongdoing.

    At least you are consistently inconsistent.

    Besides, this is all battlefield preparation. It’s getting things ready for Hillary. The media and the left (but I repeat myself) are doing the exact thing they did in 2008: pick their favorite Republican that they can use to beat down other candidates, then turn on him and destroy him.

    Ah, there’s the conspiracy theorist we all know and love.

    Governor’s staff and political appointees (and potentially governor himself as well) monumentally screw-up by enacting petty prank in order to target a political opponent. Traffic snarled on the busiest bridge in the US, at least one lady dies waiting for an ambulance that got there too late because it was stuck in said traffic, then governor tries to quash the investigation aimed at finding how it happened.

    LOL, how dare the media report on that. I mean, it’s just news that affects hundreds of thousands of people. Why, the nerve of those bastids! Who do they think they are?

    Come to think about it, maybe you’re just consistently consistent.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Congress holds the purse strings, so Congress paid her salary

    No, Congress funds the Executive Branch agency that paid her salary. Subtle but important difference.

    Plus, they have the Constitutional right to oversee the bureaucracy, so she has the legal obligation to cooperate with that oversight. It’s literally part of her job.

    Which she did by appearing before the committee. Or have you invented some alternate universe where Congress has the power to waive the 5th Amendment?

    She refused to do her job.

    And she is no longer employed. Remind me what, again, exactly you are bitching about?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  59. dazedandconfused says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t want to believe you’re right – I’m more Jersey by temperament than I am Californian and I like blunt-spoken guys – but I suspect you’re right. His problem is he’s in danger from 1) Anything that contradicts his absolute denial today and 2) Any new example of vindictiveness.

    I share the sentiment. I think he’s at least as good as anyone can expect from the current GOP. This was a mistake of loyalty to staff who did not deserve it. They did something so stupid that I’d bet he’s not lying at all about being stunned, just about when he was.

    He certainly should have known about it right after, and certainly did when his top aide was subpoenaed a month ago. That was when this speech needed to take place. I suspect there will now be petty lies to be picked at. There are almost always flaws in the weave…

    Already got one: He said he spent “two sleepless nights” on something that supposedly “blindsided” him yesterday morning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  60. C. Clavin says:

    Has Jenos ever owned up to being 100% wrong about Benghazi?
    I guess he’s moved on to this to be wrong.about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  61. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: She wasn’t fired, she retired. And since she wouldn’t discuss how she carried out her job honestly and fairly and fully within the law, I got no problems assuming that she actually did break the law.

    You really almost sound like you believe what you’re saying. You getting paid to shill for this crap, or is this pro bono?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  62. Andre Kenji says:

    Christie´s ´people left a considerable paper trail. Whatever the Obama people were conspiring during the so called IRS and Benghazi scandal they did not left a paper trail. Besides that, the infrastructure things like bridges are susceptible to graft, so, people that are nominated to these Authorities should have stellar reputation.

    The Port Authority basically handles all large public infrastructure projects in NYC. What kind of people that Christie has been nominating to it´s Board of Commissioners?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  63. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Like I said, she is no longer employed. What, exactly, are you bitching about? What more do you want done to her?

    Oh, and feel free to lay out specifically how you believe she “actually broke the law”. Enthrall me with your acumen, and we can discuss it lawyer to lawyer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  64. george says:

    As others have said, if it turns out he knew, then he’s toast.

    At this point I’m in wait and see land – if nothing else, because I can’t believe someone with Presidential aspirations would allow something like that to go forward. I’ve no idea if he’s a bully or not, but even if he is, he doesn’t strike me as being a stupid bully, and this was just stupid – a lot of risk for negligible reward.

    If it turns out he knew, he will have doubly eliminated himself; not only morally, but in terms of intelligence – no one would want someone stupid enough to try that running anything of importance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  65. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Cliffy, did you miss the latest thing the New York Times chose to bury? The lead suspect was a former Guantanamo detainee. Who, obviously, just happened to be a part of the spontaneous mob.

    And did you ever choose to lecture me on Christianity? You did such a great job cutting and running from that one…

    Too bad you can’t actually stick to the topic every now and then, Cliffy…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    What kind of people that Christie has been nominating to it´s Board of Commissioners?

    The same kind of people he nominates for everything else – loyalists, toadies and political supporters. He’s a lot like Bush

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Has Jenos ever owned up to being 100% wrong about Benghazi?
    I guess he’s moved on to this to be wrong.about.

    Don’t encourage him, or he’ll be blabbering away about the Benghazi conspiracy 400 comments from now …

    Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oops, too late …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  68. michael reynolds says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    This was a mistake of loyalty to staff who did not deserve it. They did something so stupid that I’d bet he’s not lying at all about being stunned, just about when he was.

    I don’t know if you were around then, but I was living in DC all during Watergate and that is pretty much word for word what we all said about Nixon. Nah, Nixon? He’s too smart.

    Early days on that? You could hardly find a person in the district who thought Nixon knew. I sure as hell didn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  69. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You know what you’ve got? Spunk. No, seriously, you’re like that Chihuahua that actually thinks it’s going to take down that German Shepard. You never win, and you never even get in a solid ankle bite, but you keep on yapping.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  70. An Interested Party says:

    in his defense, as far as his lickspittles (so ably present here) are concerned, he’s right…

    That’s very amusing coming from someone who is Sarah Palin’s #1 fanboy as well as serving as a fluffer for Bush and Romney…

    Besides, this is all battlefield preparation. It’s getting things ready for Hillary. The media and the left (but I repeat myself) are doing the exact thing they did in 2008: pick their favorite Republican that they can use to beat down other candidates, then turn on him and destroy him. Christie’s just the new version of John McCain.

    Surely there has to be an insurance company out there somewhere that will write a policy for this kind of victimhood…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  71. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds: I want to know where all these bananas are being produced in New Jersey. There must be a large production there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  72. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: So at least now we know how long it takes baby Jenos to get over having his butt kicked by every sentient human on the internet. He slimed away and sulked for maybe a week after his Benghazi crap was so poisonous that he got it from just about everyone. But now he’s back, just as smug, just as stupid, just as loathesome as ever, apparently never having considered for one second admitting he was wrong or — heaven forbid — apologizing.

    I suppose his goldfish brain thinks we’ll all forget just as fast as he does.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  73. JohnMcC says:

    Mr Wildstein not only took the 5th today, his attorney publicly said that if he could get immunity from the AGs of NJ, NY, and the US, he’d spill all the beans. That makes it seem to me that he’s expecting criminal charges. And he’s only the first of the Christie-team to be sworn in. So much to look forward too! “Is it wrong that I’m smiling?”

    Gov Christie refused to change his nomination of his Chief of Staff, Mr O’Dowd, to be New Jersey Attorney General. The hearing on his nomination before the NJ Senate is Tuesday. Even more fun!

    Rachael Maddow developed a very perceptive ‘theory-of-the-crime’ today involving a long series of confrontations between the NJ Senate and Gov Christie involving the state Supreme Court. It’s too long and complex for me to explain so anyone who wonders what on earth the Mayor of FortLee could have done to deserve so much attention should check out her web-site.

    And I give our favorite clown Mr Jenos a bit of credit for wondering why this media circus comes years before the Presidential election of ’16. Obviously it leaves the so-called-conservative folks with only a bunch of midgets to compete with Hilary. My favorite Repub ‘candidate’ is Bobby Jindal the Rhodes Scholar. I await his debate appearances with gleeful anticipation.

    So much to look forward too, so little popcorn.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  74. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Quite frankly, I don’t give two craps about Christie.”

    Oh my God, find a new song already.

    You didn’t care about Zimmerman… and yet you felt compelled to tongue-wash his balls every day for a month.

    You ddidn’t care about Benghazi, but it still comes up three or four times a day.

    You didn’t care about gun, but you still post obsessively on the subject.

    You don’t care about the moron who made the video that sparked the Benghazi mess, and yet you are still screaming that he is a martyr to all things good.

    We get it. You don’t actually care about anything. You just like whining and making a nuisance of yourself, so that you can prove you exist.

    Why don’t you find something to care about instead?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  75. anjin-san says:

    Ever since Jenos broke up with George Zimmerman he’s been looking for a new butt to vacuum weld his lips to. Looks like he has found an ample target.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  76. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: ” What would have happened if Christie had gone behind that giant podium and said that he did nothing wrong in the whole mess, he was completely innocent of any wrongdoing, but he was asserting his 5th Amendment right to not incriminate himself and refusing to discuss the matter?”

    Hey stupid,

    Asserting the 5th amendment only works WHEN YOU’RE TESTIFYING.

    If Christie had stood up at that podium and said “I’m invoking my 5th amendments rights,” he would be the laughingstock of the nation.

    Had he done the equivalent and simply said “It’s my business and I’m not going to talk about it,” he could have walked away just like that. Approval ratings in the single digits, sure… but he’ll always have suckers like you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  77. ernieyeball says:

    .

    @michael reynolds:..you’re like that Chihuahua that actually thinks it’s going to take down that German Shepard…

    I’m a cat person, don’t have much use for dogs, all the curs do is bark and shit…but if you keep comparing them to Jenos I’m calling the ASPCA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  78. ernieyeball says:

    @michael reynolds: .

    @michael reynolds:..you’re like that Chihuahua that actually thinks it’s going to take down that German Shepard…

    I’m a cat person, don’t have much use for dogs, all the curs do is bark and shit…but if you keep comparing them to Jenos I’m calling the ASPCA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  79. michael reynolds says:

    Rachel Maddow has a very new take on this. (Jump ten minutes in.)

    Christie may be screwed. The dates don’t match the dates when they were soliciting endorsements. They perfectly match the date when Christie in a rage pulled his Republican NJ Supreme Court justice Hoen from consideration before Senate Democrats he described as “animals.”

    12 hours from when he pulled Justice Hoen to screwing Fort Lee. And who reps Ft. Lee? The head of State Senate Democrats.

    Not about endorsements or the mayor, this may be all about Christie and the Democrats in the NJ Senate. In which case he has lied flat out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  80. ernieyeball says:

    I wasn’t even trying to post twice. I swear it was just a traffic study. I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  81. JohnMcC says:

    @ernieyeball: Is that a craven way of taking the 5th, you worm?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  82. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: My esteemed colleague, I call dibs on the Rachael Maddow ‘theory-of-the-crime-scoop’. But you’re much better with that ‘links’ business.

    Isn’t this great?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  83. ernieyeball says:

    @JohnMcC:..me and all these other American Heros!

    Stokely Carmichael – Activist – Black separatist, Pan-Africanist
    Edward Dmytryk – Film Director – The Caine Mutiny
    Eminem – Rapper – White rapper star of 8 Mile
    G. Gordon Liddy – Government – Watergate criminal cum talk-show-host
    Bobby Seale – Activist – Co-founder of the Black Panther Party
    Paul Robeson – Singer – 20th Century renaissance man
    http://www.listafterlist.com/tabid/57/listid/8729/Personalities/Famous+People+Who+have+Pleaded+the+5th.aspx

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  84. michael reynolds says:

    @JohnMcC:
    Oh, damn, sorry. I actually scanned down the comments to check and just missed yours.

    It’s kind of amazing as theater for the suddenness of the fall. This story gives Christie a motive, one with no gaping holes in it. 12 hours? That’s not quite a smoking gun but it’s the next best thing. He may well survive, but by the same token I would not be shocked to see him gone in a few months.

    It’s Shakespearean, only with much worse dialog.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  85. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Those interested should take note that the NJ Assembly plans to release 907 pages of unredacted documents related to this event later today.

    It should make for some entertaining reading.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  86. dazedandconfused says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t know if you were around then, but I was living in DC all during Watergate and that is pretty much word for word what we all said about Nixon. Nah, Nixon? He’s too smart.

    Early days on that? You could hardly find a person in the district who thought Nixon knew. I sure as hell didn’t.

    I was, but only a first grade graduate, Class Clown cum laude. They’d of medicated the crap out of me these days.

    Anyway, now that I’ve seen some of it…it strikes me as odd that the reporters let Chris get away with being uninterested in Bridget’s reasons. I suspect I (and they) have been duped in exactly the way you describe. Chris is a very, very smooth operator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  87. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    How pathetic. I’m not defending anyone. I’m challenging your attacks. And the interesting thing to me is how you choose your villains, how you attack them. And it’s usually through breathtaking dishonesty and stunning hypocrisy.

    OK, that’s a bit of hyperbole. There’s nothing “breathtaking” or “stunning” about it. It’s just mildly interesting to see how you will express it.

    Look, there’s a laudatory citation of Rachel Maddow, who just last week completely made up shit to fabricate a completely bullshit attack on the Koch Brothers, And, when busted, simply doubled down and refused to admit she’s made the whole thing up. So, as you like to say, she’s lost whatever credibility she might have had.

    I’m as interested in defending Christie, Zimmerrman, the Koch Brothers, et al as you are interested in defending Obama, Holder, Maddow, or the rest. You know that when you’re defending, you’re losing. Which is why your only mode is attack, attack, attack.

    But it remains an inconvenient truth: Christie fired more people over this mess than Obama fired over the IRS scandal (which he himself called “outrageous” and “intolerable”), Benghazi, Fast & Furious, and the ObamaCare web site combined.

    So this bridge thing is over and settled. It’s a “phony scandal.” “After all, at this point, what difference does it make?” Get over your psychotic GOPDS-inspired paranoia and just move on.

    That’s how your arguments go, right?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 24

  88. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So this bridge thing is over and settled.

    LOL, oh no. It’s being investigated by the NJ Assembly, the US Attorney for the District of New Jersey, the Port Authority IG, and it looks like the US Senate is about to get involved as well. A whole bunch of clever folks from Bergen just filed a class action lawsuit also.

    This mess is anything but over and settled. It’s just getting started.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  89. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Get back to me when you actually read the entire paragraph I wrote, not just the one sentence you can use to get on your soap box, you dishonest hack.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 19

  90. Todd says:

    Politics is funny, and although I think Christie is more likely than not to be lying, I’m not so sure he’s necessarily “done”. Here’s why …

    I saw the last 15-20 press conference yesterday, and it just happens that the channel I’d landed on was MSNBC. After the press conference, Andrea Mitchell was interviewing Barbara Buono, the woman that Christie ran against. Even knowing that he’s probably a big (pun intended) liar, I still found myself liking Christie much more than this Buono woman.

    Being likable will get you a lot of forgiveness in American politics; just ask Bill Clinton.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  91. Stan says:

    Christie is a tragic hero undermined by his deceitful and stupid subordinates. Anagnorisis, the discovery of a new fact, occurred when he learned that his staff lied to him after he begged them tearfully to tell the truth. Peripeteia, a sudden change of circumstances, befell him when the telegram calling for traffic problems in Fort Lee went public. The Gov’s flaw, the thing that caused the gods to change his fate, was his belief that his assistants were as honest and truthful as he was. My heart goes out to him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  92. Sejanus says:

    @JohnMcC: He’s a kind and fatherly man!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  93. Gavrilo says:

    Luckily for Democrats, their 2016 frontrunner has a spotless record without even the hint of any scandal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  94. Bob@Youngstown says:

    From the email exchange “time for traffic problems….” and response “got it”, it obvious that this was a pre-planned event. (not the reaction to a video)

    Was it precipitated by CC’s non-endorsement or by his anger towards the NJ Senate leader and the Dems in general that he characterized as “animals” the day before?

    Is it possible of a couple of staff to “go rogue”? Sure.

    But in general, the leader sets the tone and culture in his administration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  95. Barry says:

    @gVOR08: “But people are going to be deposed under oath soon. ”

    And any prosecutor worth a rat’s @ss will insist on immunity only in return for *everything* that these thrown-under-the-bus former aids know about Christie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  96. Barry says:

    @Rafer Janders: “What gets me is how…punk-ass Christie’s actions were. How penny-ante. How petty. It’s one thing to retaliate against a political opponent directly — while often unfortunate, that’s part of how the game is played.”

    In the end, that’s what Christie is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  97. rachel says:

    @michael reynolds:
    “Is that a traffic study which I should see before me,
    Soon to be delivered to my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
    I have thee not, and I see thee not either.
    Art thou not, fatal suggestion, a sensible
    Reason for a traffic jam? or art thou but
    A traffic study of the mind, a false creation,
    Proceeding from the ass-covering of subordinates?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  98. Rob in CT says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Awwwwwww.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  99. dazedandconfused says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    As to that culture, here he is on Dec 23 absolutely not caring if there was a traffic study or not:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vzkKubbqzw#t=0

    Yesterday he said his staff told him there was a traffic study, so either he doesn’t care or his own staff lied to him.

    I would suggest the former as more likely by far, nobody likes to be lied to, but the point is that this attitude had to encourage a feeling of invulnerability in his staff. Paraphrased: ” I (we) don’t care, they can’t do a damn thing about it.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  100. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’m not defending anyone. I’m challenging your attacks.

    Um, challenging an attack IS defending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  101. sam says:

    Just saw a clip of Jon Stewart doing a number on Christie. Stewart with a pitch pipe as Christie searches for the “right tone” — many clips of Christie being Christie. Stewart (as Christie): “I got it! FU sharp!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  102. Rob in CT says:

    Small point, but I too find the “payback to Senate Dems over judicial appointments” as much more plausible that “payback for a Dem mayor failing to endorse.” The payback is still incredibly petty and stupid, but the motive is much more logical.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  103. sam says:

    Shorter Jenos: Well, you guys…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  104. Rafer Janders says:

    @Barry:

    I like John Cole’s take on this:

    Finally, what I really don’t get out of this whole thing is what was the f…ing point of it all? It doesn’t matter if Christie was involved or not, what was the f…ing point? All it was was a dick move that f…ed over a lot of people. No political point was made (until they got caught). No one on the bridge stuck there for hours thought “Well God Damned. I’ll not vote Democrat again.” It was just pointless dickish idiocy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  105. Barry says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “If he did, I think he’s in trouble, for the simple reason that there are just too many sacrificial lambs involved in this one, and Fishman only needs one or two to get to Christie. I can think of 6 people just off the top of my head who have been thrown under the bus for being involved with this, and that list may grow. If he knew, and one of them flips to save his own butt, then its all over.”

    And he who doesn’t flip first is screwed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  106. Mr. Replica says:

    It was just pointless dickish idiocy.

    That is what most, if not all, acts of bullying consist of.

    Christie knows/knew what was going on. He’s smart enough to play dumb.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  107. michael reynolds says:

    @rachel:

    MacChristie?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  108. rachel says:

    @michael reynolds: :-} You think Coriolanus would be a better choice? “What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues, that, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, make yourselves scabs?” does smack more of Christie’s usual bluster.

    (ETA: or me when I read too much of Jenos’s comments.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  109. Barry says:

    Another perspective, that this is what should be expected from a prosecutor (http://abovethelaw.com/2014/01/governor-chris-christie-did-what-we-all-should-have-expected-from-an-old-prosecutor/):

    ‘Governor Chris Christie Did What We All Should Have Expected From An Old Prosecutor’

    “More and more, society judges prosecutors by their ability to make public spectacles of securing big prison time for low-hanging fruit — even to the exclusion of taking on the harder cases. Acting as a neutral purveyor of justice has fallen so far to the wayside that defense lawyers are legitimately shocked when prosecutors adhere to their constitutional duties. They are the masters of their own little kingdoms, with nearly limitless power over the fates of all those who brush up against the criminal justice system in their domain. No wonder they get a little drunk with power.

    Armed with extensive discretion and so many potential charges to bring, prosecutors can, and do, construct draconian threats by heaping additional and enhanced charges on defendants who refuse to play ball. Plea deals are no longer limited to “going up the chain,” as the masterminds of wrongdoing are now given deals to rat out their underlings for harsher punishment. ” [giving an example of the background of 'The Wolf of Wall Street']

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  110. grumpy realist says:

    So Christie pulls a Captain Renault and expects everyone to believe him?

    I think he knows he’s floundering across the ice floes with the wolves behind him. As the Late Great Steve Gilliard said about Mr. 9-11-and-a-verb: “there won’t be enough flesh for all the axes and hatchets whizzing through the air at him.”

    With Christie, on the other hand….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  111. Todd says:

    You know what, I take back what I said above. I think Christie is done, whether or not he actually did anything. Not because Democrats are upset with him, but because he’s dominating Drudge above the fold for the 2nd day in a row. Conservatives were just looking for a reason why Christie shouldn’t be a Republican Presidential contender … and now they’ve got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  112. Mr. Replica says:

    Conservatives were just looking for a reason why Christie shouldn’t be a Republican Presidential contender … and now they’ve got it.

    Hmm.

    I would have thought the spotlight being on him for something negative like this, with the “LSM” going over it all every hour of the day…that it would have promoted Christie to the top of Mt. Victim-hood and made him their go-to frontrunner for 2016.

    Oh well, I guess I was wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  113. Todd says:

    @Mr. Replica:

    Christie hugged Obama … therefore it’s impossible for Christie to be a victim … he deserves whatever he gets (from their perspective).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  114. stonetools says:

    Eric Boehlert is on fire on Twitter on this issue and looking at the response of Jenos, I think this tweet is apt:

    what drives RW crazy this week is the Christie story is exactly what they fantasized the Obama WH being like; naked corruption/incompetence

    Jenos would so like for Obama to be corrupt and incompetent in just the way Christie is, but he just isn’t, and attempts to twist BENGHAZI, IRS! and OBAMACARE WEBSITE! into this kind of a scandal just haven’t worked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  115. Mr. Replica says:

    @Todd:

    Whenever I hear/read someone dismiss Christie due to being civil to Obama after Sandy, what I really hear/read is:

    MOMMY! Obama gave our 2016 contender cooties!! Now he’s ruined!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  116. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    It really is remarkable how so many of the above comments parallel those made about Obama ordering the shutdown of certain national monuments during the sequester. In so many of the cases, it was a totally naked dick move. The point of the sequester was to stop spending money, but in many of the cases more money was spent to shut down the monument than to just leave it alone. The World War II Monument is an open-air display, with absolutely nothing that requires attendance or supervision. A scenic pulloff overlooking Mount Rushmore is basically a parking lot. But in both cases, at the Obama administration’s direction, money was expended to block them off. There was even a smoking gun e-mail that directed agencies to make the sequester cuts hurt as much as possible.

    But that was a big old nothing, right? Because Obama did it. Or, at least, his appointees did it, and he did nothing to stop it or change it.

    The dick move is Obama’s go-to move. It’s his first reaction. But since he’s a Democrat, that makes it all OK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  117. pylon says:

    Washington parks and memorials must, by law, close during a shutdown. And as the National Park Service has to furlough the majority of its workers, there isn’t enough staff to ensure the safety and security of park visitors – hence the barricades. They were closed during both the Clinton era shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, and the brief shutdown in October 1990, during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. Whether or not the parks were accessible is another story. It appears from pictures taken at the time that some were, but it’s impossible to know if they all were. However, they were all closed.
    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CCkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fskeptoid.com%2Fblog%2F2013%2F10%2F07%2Fbusting-shutdown-myths%2F&ei=sUbQUuSNMo2FogT9yILACQ&usg=AFQjCNEmPeGNMMR0vBKVQuFsOugZlLL–g

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  118. ernieyeball says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:.. Or, at least, his appointees did it, and he did nothing to stop it or change it.

    Here Jenos, have a cigar!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8eblBCZXII

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  119. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Look! Over there! It’s. . . something completely unrelated to this Republican fiasco!

    You’re so clueless you don’t even seem to grasp that Christie is every Democrat’s favorite Republican. No one is out to get Christie. If this were Ted Cruz, okay.

    He’s in trouble because he did something mean and probably illegal.

    You’re just doing your inevitable monkey-throwing-scat routine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  120. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Christie is also learning the lesson he should have learned from John McCain’s example: if you curry favor with the left and trash your nominal allies on the right too often, it will not work out well. When it comes down to when you need friends, your new buddies on the left will turn on you, and your old friends on the right will leave you twisting in the wind.

    Being a “maverick” has its costs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  121. michael reynolds says:

    Christie asked Cuomo to help shut down a Port Authority investigation into the bridge closure.

    ‘Splain that to me, Jenos. Tell me how innocuous that is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  122. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The point of the sequester was to stop spending money

    No, the sequester was designed to create a time so that the debt limit could be raised in 2011.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  123. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    LOL, no, Christie is beginning to learn the same lesson that Nixon learned – once you actually get caught being a douchebag, you are politically radioactive and nobody will come within a mile of you. Understandably so – nobody wants to hug you when you are covered in poo. At that point you are on your own.

    But hey, thanks for letting us all know YET AGAIN how the world looks from the Fox News bleachers. Don’t you guys ever get tired of whining and playing the victim card?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  124. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Barry:

    And he who doesn’t flip first is screwed.

    That trial balloon is already being floated.

    Zegas just used the committee hearings – which are pretty meaningless from a criminal prosecution standpoint – to send a bubble up directed at Fishman – who is anything BUT meaningless from a criminal prosecution standpoint. Namely? “There is a deal to be made here. Give us a call.”

    Let the scurrying amongst the other rats now begin with haste in 3 … 2 …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  125. jukeboxgrad says:

    Hopefully everyone has seen the New Yorker cover: “Playing in Traffic.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  126. An Interested Party says:

    Don’t you guys ever get tired of whining and playing the victim card?

    Never…as such people become part of a smaller and smaller group, expect the victim card to be played so much that it will eventually make up the whole deck…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  127. jukeboxgrad says:

    HarvardLaw92:

    It’s just getting started.

    JohnMcC:

    And he’s only the first of the Christie-team to be sworn in. So much to look forward too! “Is it wrong that I’m smiling?”

    You both nailed it. Today I see headlines like these:

    Fallout continues in New Jersey bridge closure scandal
    New Jersey braces for new disclosures in bridge scandal
    Docs could reveal more details

    Those headlines will get used over and over again, for months, because there is so much more that’s going to happen to keep this story alive. It’s going to be like waiting for the next shoe to drop from the proverbial centipede.

    And speaking of slithering creatures: the heart of the story is that Christie is a snake. This has already been proven, because only a snake could hire such a crew of snakes. And the nastiness of his crew is perfectly embodied in those memorable words: “is it wrong that I’m smiling?” Christie hired a bunch of people who don’t know the correct answer to that question, which means he doesn’t know the correct answer to that question.

    So as we’re munching popcorn, this is what I imagine saying every time another shoe drops: “is it wrong that I’m smiling?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  128. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Wow. If this conversation makes you so uncomfortable that you’re this desperate to change the subject… why not leave it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  129. michael reynolds says:

    A clip on Andrea Mitchell talking to the likely true target of Bridgegate; state senator and Democratic leader, Loretta Weinberg.

    Sorry, but HarvardLaw is right, Christie is just flat-out lying. I think he’s done for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  130. Barry says:

    @Ron Beasley: “I still find it hard to believe that Christy didn’t know about this weeks or months ago. ”

    Yes, for example in early December, when the Wall St Journal mentioned it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  131. PJ says:

    @Barry:

    Yes, for example in early December, when the Wall St Journal mentioned it.

    That’s what separates Christie from a real governor like Sarah Palin.
    Sarah Palin reads all the newspapers and magazines and would have known about this in December.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  132. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Obama ordering the shutdown of certain national monuments during the sequester.

    Drinking that cheap vodka again?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  133. marginoerra says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Gosh…using Powerline as a source? May as well have used Drudge. Their response was pretty weak tea. Rachel’s response was more convincing.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/maddow-rejects-kochs-call-for-correction-106406467753

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  134. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @marginoerra: That… was 9 minutes I’ll never get back. And it took her all that time to NOT address the main point — how the link between the Florida law and the Koch brothers was totally fabricated. Hell, the law was challenged by the ACLU — which has gotten far more Koch brothers money than that other group, which partially supported the group that backed the law.

    The essence of Maddow’s “scoop” — that the Koch brothers backed and pushed for this law in Florida — is total bullshit. The group that the Koch brothers gave to — the State Policy Network — has also been supported by Microsoft, Facebook, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast. Comcast owns NBC Universal, which owns MSNBC, which employs Maddow — which means that Maddow’s bosses are every bit as culpable for that Florida law as the Koch brothers. And, to bring it back, since it was the ACLU that overturned that law, and the Koch brothers have given far more money, far more directly, to the ACLU, then they deserve credit for killing the law.

    Based on this example, I think I understand why some people call her “MadCow.” She sounds intelligent and reasonable, until you actually listen to what she says and investigate what she claims. And that’s when you realize she’s so batshit crazy that she actually believes her own lies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  135. ernieyeball says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: And that’s when you realize she’s so batshit crazy that she actually believes her own lies.

    Takes one to know one…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  136. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @ernieyeball: So, you’re not disputing that by Maddow’s own standards, the Koch brothers did more to kill the Florida law than to support it? And, in all likelihood, didn’t really have a damned thing to do with it at all?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  137. anjin-san says:

    Say Jenos, do you have a full list of scenic turnouts that were closed during the sequester?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  138. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Obviously, jackhole, I meant “shutdown.” And yes, there was a “smoking e-mail” where an Obama administration official explicitly said to make the effects of the shutdown as painful as possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  139. jukeboxgrad says:

    a “smoking e-mail”

    The email was from a low-level manager, and what you said the mail said is not what the email said. Link, pdf, link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  140. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Allow me to correct myself: it was during the sequester that a USDA director wrote the following:

    “We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs,’” the budget office said. “So, it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

    It was during the shutdown that the monuments were closed, quite in the spirit of the above: the actions taken must not contradict the dire warnings of how horrible the shutdown would be. In fact, the Parks Service made this clear:

    “Day use visitors will be instructed to leave the park immediately as part of Phase 1 closures. Visitors utilizing overnight concession accommodations and campgrounds will be notified to make alternate arrangements and depart the park as part of Phase 2. Wherever possible, park roads will be closed and access will be denied.”

    Emphasis added.

    Note that the policy was “wherever possible,” not “wherever necessary.” That says it all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  141. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    My my you are hitching your wagon to a rather small pony.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  142. jukeboxgrad says:

    Wherever possible, park roads will be closed and access will be denied

    Which is exactly what they should be doing. If employees are not available to patrol the park then visitors should not be there.

    Now explain why you said the email said something it didn’t say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  143. slimslowslider says:

    Still waiting on Jenos to respond to Juke…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  144. ernieyeball says:

    @slimslowslider:..you will be waiting till Hell freezes over…wait…What? It already has!

    The town of Hell is situated 60 miles west of Detroit, and received its chthonic moniker on Oct. 13, 1841.
    http://nation.time.com/2014/01/08/its-official-hell-has-frozen-over/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0