Monday, January 13, 2014

Chris Christie's Traffic Jam Scam: "I Has a Sad Now" Update: Bruce Springsteen joins Jimmy Fallon Parody Born to Run Mocking Chris Christie.

by Sunnyjane

I'm so sad that I haven't even had the desire to yell at a teacher lately.
Screeeeecccchhhh!  No, that's not the sound of a vehicle coming to a sudden halt on the George Washington Bridge.  That's the sound of a political career trying its damnedest to keep from going off the bridge.

Tip O'Neill, former Democratic Speaker of the House, coined the phrase All Politics is Local, and that's usually true.  But when a scandal's transgressor is a well known governor who aspires to the lofty position of President of the United States, said scandal becomes national news and garners the media coverage it deserves.  After all,  Americans love a political scandal.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, Let Me Win This Freaking Race

The first motive for the grand plan to shut down two access lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge came shortly after copies of emails were made available on Wednesday, January 8. 

Motive #1:  The lane closings were retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, for refusing to endorse Gov. Christie's candidacy for a second term.  However, that falls short as good reasoning because Christie says he never asked the mayor for his support, as he had done with many other Democratic mayors in New Jersey.  Mayor Sokolich has pretty much confirmed that he was never approached by anyone in the Christie campaign for his endorsement, telling Chris Hayes:  I’ve never viewed myself as being that important. The governor himself said that I’m not on his radar.  But the mayor did add, David Wildstein deserves an ass-kicking. Sorry, there, I said it. 

Motive #2:  Rachel Maddow put forth another theory, that the closings were payback for what he knew would be the state Senate's refusal to confirm his reappointment of a Republican judge to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  In one of his epic rants on the evening of August 12, Christie raged in public that the members of the Senate -- led by Democratic Senator Loretta Weinberg, who happens to live in Fort Lee -- were all animals and suggested that reporters should take a bat to the seventy-eight year old grandmother.  It was the very next morning, at 7:34, that Bridget Kelly sent the infamous eight-word email to David Wildstein: Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.  And Wildstein replied: Got it.

Motive #3:  The latest conjecture comes from MSNBC's Steve Kornacki, who speculates that the Christie administration may have been trying to derail a billion dollar development project of Mayor Sokolich's.  Of course, such traffic jams -- if allowed to continue -- would have meant the end of that project.

Motive #4:  An admittedly small thinker -- and I hesitate to try to out-speculate some of the most respected minds in the media -- I believe the motive for this jam-scam is much simpler.  The lane shutdowns began less than two months before the gubernatorial election in November.  Christie knew he was going to win reelection, and yet he admitted in his press conference on Thursday, January 9, that he was trying to run up the score.  He wanted his opponent's voters.  And who was his opponent?  Barbara Buono of Bergen County, in which Fort Lee was the targeted town.

In an email exchange with David Wildstein, a name-redacted individual wrote: I feel badly [sic] for the kids.  I guess. 

To which Wildstein replied, They are the children of Buono voters.

Gov. Christie won Fort Lee with 55%, Bergen County with 60.2%, and the entire state with 60.4%.  So, his strategy may well have worked.

The truth may be one, some, all, or none of the above.  But with several investigations taking shape, I'm sure we'll find out.

The Governor Doth Protest Too Much, Me Thinks

So after trying to block the investigation, I took swift action four months later!
One thing that Chris Christie hasn't learned yet is that most times, saying less is much better than spewing a whole lot of shit on national television for almost two hours.  He used every self-castigating adjective he could think of to display how awful he felt.  The only thing he didn't say was something along the lines of I'm upset because I always assume that the suck-up idiots who work for me are trustworthy.

For the Governor to say he knew nothing about the issue until the morning of Tuesday, January 7, is an outright lie; the cover-up started much earlier.  In the middle of the closures, Pat Foye, Bill Baroni's counterpart on the New York side of the Port Authority, asked in an email to Baroni how he was supposed to explain the lane closings to the public.  Baroni replied, I am on my way to office to discuss. There can be no public discourse.  To which Foye responded, Bill that’s precisely the problem: there has been no public discourse on this.  

In early December 2013, he personally phoned New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ask him to stop Pat Foye from pressing so hard on the investigation into Bill Baroni's part in the September shutdown.  Obviously, Cuomo refused.  

Me thinks that NO ONE is going to come out of this smelling like a rose.

Conservative Reactions and Reactionaries

Brit Hume, Fox News: It's this feminized atmosphere that makes Chris Christie a bully.* 
On the day of the released emails, both CNN and MSNBC ran with the story on a full-time basis, while Fox News gave it about fifteen minutes.  After all, it was Roger Ailes who tried to convince Chris Christie to run for president in 2012, and would surely expect him to run in 2016.  And the Governor claims Ailes a confidential adviser and any interactions between the two will be protected under the New Jersey's executive privilege rules.

Known to be sound-bite grabbers searching for a camera if a scandal appears to be taking shape around President Obama, GOP members of congress have been notably silent on the Chris Christie Bridgegate brouhaha.  When asked if Christie was still a viable candidate for 2016, John Boehner said, I think so.  Rand Paul, a wannabe primary challenger of the Governor's was rather frosty when asked, saying that it was a local problem.  However, he could not resist adding, I have been in traffic before, though, and I know how angry I am when I’m in traffic, and I’m always wondering, ‘who did this to me?’  (Did you feel that filet knife that was just plunged into your kidneys, Governor?)

Rudy Giuliani called the closures a stupid political prank that got out of hand.   A prank

*If you thought you'd seen Fox News reach its nadir, you might be in for a surprise.  On Sunday, the station's Media Buzz program produced this little gem from Brit Hume, who referred to Chris Christie as masculine and muscular.   Expounding, Hume said, I have to say that in this sort of feminized atmosphere in which we exist today, guys who are masculine and muscular like that in their private conduct and are kind of old-fashioned tough guys run some risks.  (Hume may have to walk that back a bit; see the End Note.

For more of what the GOP pundits and other talking heads had to say yesterday, read on.

End Note

Say I'm a bully one more time and I'll punch your nose in!

Actual quote:

Using direct and blunt language is something that I've done my whole life. It was the way my mother raised me. I am who I am. And I'm not going to change. 

Thanks for the warning.  The American voters appreciate your clarifying that, and we'll be sure to remember it in 2016.  Please proceed, Governor.

UPDATE by Kathleen. 

I'd like to add this parody of Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" mocking Governor Chris Christie performed by Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen to Sunnyjane's excellent post. 

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