Gov. Christie: Damage Control Mode

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has fired his top aide, deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, and is giving a news conference. He maintains Kelly lied to him and said he's embarrassed and humiliated by his team's conduct.

DOJ is now investigating whether laws were broken.

A judge in NJ has refused to block a subpoena for David Wildstein, a former executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to testify before the legislature.

Christie also instructed his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, to withdraw from consideration as Republican party chair of N.J.[More...]

His mea culpa:

Ultimately I am responsible for what happens under my watch -- the good and the bad. And when mistakes are made, then I have to own up to them and take the action that I believe is necessary in order to remediate them.

His intent to carry on:

I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or it execution, 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, and it is not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years and not the way it will conduct itself over the next four.

It has been said that the only thing you have after a crisis is your behavior during it. How's Christie doing?

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    Gov. Christie has lost the Serbian-American (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:02:06 PM EST
    and the Croatian-American vote. And maybe that of the height-challenged.

    For the citizens of New Jersey, (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:29:54 PM EST
    Governor Christie is a misfortune, and, perhaps, for many in the rest of the country, an  entertaining bully.   But, for me, he is a dangerous politician unsuited by temperament for a national executive position, let alone for his state one.

    To  have top and key staff members enter into a conspiratorial scheme rooted in an abuse of power with  such ease and glee, denotes an inner circle whose culture and modus operandi are akin to Nixon and his  corrupt administration.  

    The smallness of the act should not betray the size of the stakes.  Apparently, we are to believe that the staff behavior was a one-time happening; he investigated the matter long and hard, so much so, that he could berate questioners,  make a big joke about it (he worked the cones); and that cover-up story of a "traffic study" was verified as being true.  Mr Christie's defense is that he is a dupe.   Not a glowing attribute for an executive.

    The smallness of the act... (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:04:22 AM EST
    just makes it worse, imo.  

    Bid rigging, embezzlement, sh*t even making a dead body disappear at least makes sense on some level as reasons to abuse your power.  This is abusing power just to be d*ckish...it somehow seems worse.  


    Agreed, the smallness of the act (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:54:14 AM EST
    should not be trivialized or minimized. The brassy tone and stunning arrogance of the behavior acted out seems to have taken place with the confidence of approval and a sense of protection.   Moreover, sometimes, as Nixon's press secretary, Ron Ziegler, characterized the Watergate break-in, a "third-rate burglary" can be more than initially meets the eye.

    Chris Christie: putting the thug in Rethuglican (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:15:27 PM EST
    since at least 2000.

    When he became US Attorney after Bush II was installed, he was perceived by the bar of New Jersey as something of a joke.  He was widely considered a legal, if not intellectual, lightweight and it was pretty-explicitly stated by prominent members of the bar that the state, and US Attorney's office, would have been better served if a person experienced in something other than fundraising for Bush had been appointed to that job.  He had next-to-no criminal experience, on either side of the courtroom.

    He responded to 9/11 by keeping ghost detainees in the county jails.  There is a set of statutes on the books in NJ requiring jailers to keep a complete list of all persons in their custody along with other pertinent information, which books are required to be open to anyone to inspect.  Christie and DoJ told jailers to not follow the law and to allow them to keep ghoist detainees in the New Jersey jails.  At a minimum, following the law meant they would lose federal funding (the feds the county jails pay per federal inmate per day) for their jails and be accused of aiding terrorists.  The ACLU sued and Christie's US Attorney's office intervened in state court.  In one of the more shameful decisions in New Jersey judicial history (and there's a long list), Christe ultimately won an appellate decision that the feds were not bound by state law and could keep ghost detainees in New Jersey jails.

    When he was deemed to be insufficiently partisan and Rove protege Kyle Sampson wrote a list of US Attorneys to be fired with Christie's name on it - Christe turned around and papered Bob Menendez' Senate campaign with subpoenas for criminal investigations that had no merit.  The next draft of Sampson's list was short Christie's name.

    And then, when running for governor in 2009 from the US Attorney's office (where, inexplicably, Obama let him remain after Inauguration Day), in the spring and summer Christie sent out a snitch to ensnare Democrats - and only Democrats - in the most-Democratic county in the state in corruption charges.  This yielded something like 32 persons charged, crippling the Democratic Party in Hudson county just in time for the election.

    And, remember, most of the staff Christie brought with him into office and who fill many of the top slots in his administration were loyalists from the US Attorney's office.  In other words, cops and prosecutors.

    Minions (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 03:19:26 AM EST
    don't stray that far from what they believe the boss wants, or how the boss wants it done.

    I hope this knocks Christy firmly out of contention for 2016. I would never vote for someone like him.

    I'll Give Him the Benefit of the Doubt... (none / 0) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 12:04:39 PM EST
    ...because this is the same garbage that was going on at the IRS and it seems very odd to hold the boss man responsible for a couple idiots grinding axes.

    Both have are responsible for large quantities of people and it is virtually impossible to keep this kind of stuff from happening.

    That is so long as nothing actually connects him or Obama to these political schemes.

    I know it's not the same thing, but the point stands, a President/Governor can't possibly manage ever action of every single employee under them.

    For the record, as despicable as it was, they only blocked off some lanes of traffic, which isn't a crime.  The end result is the same thing that happens to me once a week when there is a wreck on the freeway, stuck in traffic.  But like most political scandals, they lied about it and that probably is a crime depending who they lied to.

    If only the DOJ would go after folks who lie to Congress with such speediness...

    Wasn't the degree of separation... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 12:14:50 PM EST
    ...between Obama and those IRS people a bit wider than between Christie and his people?

    Yes... (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:40:06 PM EST
    ...but using the IRS to deny tax exempt status is quite a bit more serious than using the the Public Works Department to block traffic.

    The only scandal I see is Christie hiring people so stupid they actually thought this would go noticed and not lead back to them.  Or people who think lying to investigators is better than coming clean about something so stoopid.  Or that somehow blocking traffic was going to send a message to the mayor or hurt him in some way.  And lastly hiring people who are so dumb as to not realize they were going to hassle people who actually voted for them while extracting their 'vengeance', I hate to even use that word to describe this.

    Obama has Leonhart running the DEA, so if we are going to start holding politicians to the flame for hiring idiots, let's not stop at Christie.  Then again, after GBW it seems that about 48% of the country hired an idiot, twice.

    If the emergency vehicle rumors are fact, then I might have to rethink my view.  But right now, this is not a big deal, or rather the act wasn't a big deal, we will see where the lying ends up, might be some folks looking for a deal and willing to dish a little dirt for it.


    Christie (none / 0) (#35)
    by delguy on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:56:36 PM EST
    He hired people who he felt comfortable with because they share his same warped sense of right and wrong.He's known some of them his whole life.He's got real anger issues.Not fit for high office.

    My first take as well... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:07:37 PM EST
    snarled traffic around the GWB ain't news...that's a weekday rush hour!

    But then I read about the delayed EMS responses to traffic accidents and medical emergencies and stuff...this stunt coulda got somebody killed.  Christie might not have been in on it, but he hired the petty vindictive punks that were in on it.  He must accept responsibility for that error in judgement.


    Isn't that what he just did? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:09:39 PM EST
    Yeah... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:13:41 PM EST
    he sh*tcanned somebody involved and apologized, which is about all he can do at this point.  If he's telling the truth about being lied to and all and he wasn't in on it.

    Whether that's enough taking responsibility for the primary voters remains to be seen.  


    Sure (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:21:11 PM EST
    2 years from now.

    Voters have short memories and attention spans.


    Generally I agree about attention spans,,, (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:55:04 PM EST
    but that's what our "gotcha!" tabloid media is for...and they never forget.  Voters will be reminded, and though it may seem like a small potatos scandal, I think this might bother voters.  We may not expect much from pols, but at the very least we expect them not to sabatoge our day for sh*ts and giggles.

    It'll (none / 0) (#14)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:28:11 PM EST
    be Guiliani the sequel. Ted Cruz or whoever else is running in the GOP primary is going to remind everybody about this constantly.

    So it might fall out of the news cycle for a while but it will be dredged up come GOP primary time.


    Too bad (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:31:29 PM EST
    Ted Cruz saying anything won't help HIM win anything, but it will turn more people off (even in the Republican primaries).  It could actually help Christie.

    No (none / 0) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:38:15 PM EST
    that would actually help Ted Cruz in the primary and hurt Christie in the primary. You are thinking general election but Christie is not going to get out of the primary that is if he even runs in 2016

    Ted Cruz (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:40:52 PM EST
    Will never get out of the primary.  He won't get out of February.

    Christie may or may not win, but he will go much, much farther than Cruz or Rubio or Scott Walker.


    Cruz (none / 0) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:47:16 PM EST
    is beloved by the GOP base. He might not win the primary but he'll probably go to the end.

    Guiliani didn't make it past super tuesday. Christie is just another repeat performance of that. He has the same corruption issues and people who vote in the GOP primary do not like him. Do you really think the pictures of him hugging Obama are going to play well in the GOP primary? They are going to be all over the place. Rubio is right behind Christie with his support for immigration reform on the hate meter of the GOP base. I would imagine Scott Walker would go further than either Rubio or Christie because he has done nothing with Obama. Though I really can't imagine Scott Walker winning a presidential election but he could win primaries in the midwest which neither Rubio or Christie would be able to do.


    I can't imagine (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:54:47 PM EST
    Cruz or Rubio getting out of February, as I said.

    There are plenty of Republicans who are upset with the Tea Party and the crazies, and the party is not putting on a year of debates and events to let the crazies have fora to get camera time.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#29)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:33:58 PM EST
    there's plenty but not enough people tired of the tea party within the GOP. And the crazies have so much control over the party that they are going to hold less primaries. But I don't think it's going to help in the long run. The majority of the candidates have still signed onto the crackpot tea party ideas.

    Which was also the case (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:34:58 PM EST
    in 2008 and 2012, yet the crazy candidates dropped out early.

    Actually (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:42:23 PM EST
    Newt didn't drop out early and he was full blown crazy. The crazy candidates are more likely to stay because well, they are crazy. Newt Gingrich was CONVINCED he could carry California in a presidential election.

    Cruz reminds me of (none / 0) (#28)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:21:06 PM EST
    Pat Buttram, who played Mr. Haney on Green Acres years ago.

    In more ways than just what he looks like.


    Take a look at the following link, Anne, ... (none / 0) (#40)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:09:37 PM EST
    Anne: "Cruz reminds me of Pat Buttram, who played Mr. Haney on Green Acres years ago."

    ... and you might find another resemblance to be both somewhat striking and very eerie.


    ::shuddering:: (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:50:39 PM EST
    That's not just eerie, it's horrifying.

    At least "Mr. Haney" was somewhat amusing.


    That was the first thing... (none / 0) (#99)
    by unitron on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 01:47:58 AM EST
    ...I noticed about Cruz, but then I'm old enough that people were still talking about "Tailgunner Joe" when I was growing up, so I was familiar with pictures of him.

    Yes, he did. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:39:51 PM EST
    jbindc: "Isn't that what [Gov. Christie] just did?"

    But it's also worth noting that he only took personal responsibility when he was finally cornered, and left with no other viable option save for offering his own resignation.

    Prior to that, Christie not only showed little or no interest in getting to the bottom of Ft. Lee's pre-programmed gridlock, he also insulted, derided, mocked, and castigated those local reporters who were actually looking into the matter -- and who thankfully continued to do so, despite the governor's best efforts to deter or otherwise discourage them.

    And that for me is the primary takeaway here, and not some self-serving, a$$-preserving mea culpa offered well ex post facto.



    Shocking (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:41:12 PM EST
    A politician who makes a self-serving apology only when he's cornered andshows no interest in getting the truth out.

    Stop the presses.


    I believe they did stop the presses. (none / 0) (#65)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 06:09:53 PM EST
    No doubt, this will cease to be front page news when someone else has a political pratfall. But in the meantime, the S.S. Christie is listing heavily to starboard, and is presently seeking any port in a storm.

    Personally, I think this scandal all but rules a 2016 presidential run out of the question for Mr. Christie.

    That said, if (a) there really are no other shoes out there waiting to drop in this sorry matter; (b) he's truly learned a valuable lesson about political hubris from what's undoubtedly been a very humbling experience for him; and (c) he regroups and focuses instead on being the best governor he can possibly be for the rest of his present term, Chris Christie has more than ample time to repair the damage done to his personal reputation in order to mount a serious 2020 campaign.



    It just may have: (none / 0) (#21)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:54:18 PM EST
    "...this stunt coulda got somebody killed."

    From our friends at "The Reality Based Community:"
    quoting an article from Northjersey.com:


    "EMS responses delayed by GWB lane closures in Fort Lee."

    "Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations - including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious - due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough's EMS department. The woman later died, borough records show." (emphasis mine)

    This, of course, will have to be investigated. But, if it is found that medical treatment for any folks who were delayed in the lane closure scandal led to bad medical results, including death, then we're talking about criminal action, not just political damage.


    The 91 year old woman (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:55:44 PM EST
    died at the hospital later in the day.

    And the daughter of the woman who died (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:09:56 PM EST
    Does not blame the traffic backups:

    "We believe she died in her home, but they couldn't pronounce her until she got to the hospital," said Ms. Oleri's {the duaghter} husband, Frank Oleri. "The traffic didn't make any difference."

    I inderstand that (none / 0) (#52)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:00:17 PM EST
    and, I was careful not to claim it did cause any deaths. But, the mere fact that it could have (and, the results are not in yet) puts a macabre twist to what was considered in some circles a political "prank."

    BTW, why can't they pronounce someone dead until they get to a hospital?


    I think that (none / 0) (#70)
    by Zorba on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:03:22 PM EST
    in most states, a physician has to pronounce someone dead.  I don't think the EMT's have the legal authority to do so.

    Christie (none / 0) (#37)
    by delguy on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:58:47 PM EST
    He hired vindictive people because he's vindictive!

    Well, one of those "idiots" was ... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:45:18 PM EST
    ... Gov. Christie's own No. 2. Bridget Anne Kelly was hardly some bureaucratic flunkie in the Department of Transportation. She was the governor's deputy chief of staff, and further served previously for three years as his legislative director, and still functioned until yesterday as his primary liaison with the state legislature.

    I would argue that if you as governor either don't know or don't really care to know what your own immediate subordinates in your own state capitol chambers are doing in your name, then you really have no business being governor in the first place.

    And for the record, the George Washington Bridge is the single busiest motor vehicle bridge in the world, with an average of 276,000 one-way crossings into New York City on weekdays. Closing all but one outbound lane on the Ft. Lee onramp to upper Manhattan and the Bronx last September created paralyzing gridlock for three straight days not only in Ft. Lee, but also throughout most of Bergen County, NJ (pop. 918,888).

    That type of insane gridlock constitutes a very real threat to public safety, and that's why there will likely be one or more criminal probes into the Christie administration's egregious conduct in the matter. The first day, the traffic snarl impeded attempts by local authorities to search for a missing 4-year-old child, and caused unnecessary delays for at least four EMS units attempting to respond to people in distress, one of whom later died. Further, countless numbers of Ft. Lee schoolchildren ended up being unable to attend their very first day of class for the new school year, while most of the other students were tardy by hour or more, not minutes, thanks to this unconscionably reckless political stunt.

    What Gov. Christie's people did to Ft. Lee, NJ was corrupt and dirty politics at its absolute worst, the equivalent of shooting out a storefront window because the shop owner refused to pay protection money. Nobody in their right mind wants or needs a governor who acts like a phuquin' mob boss -- never mind a mob boss who also fancies himself as presidential material.



    Would you say that Christie (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Peter G on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:39:57 PM EST
    threw Ms. Kelly under the bus?  Or was this not possible, as the bus was caught in traffic and unable to move, thus making a throw-under ineffective?

    I'd say that ... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:46:06 PM EST
    ... he threw her off the bridge -- pun intended. ;-D

    I was speculating how many comments would be (none / 0) (#68)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 06:37:08 PM EST
    posted b/4 someone brought up "thrown under the bus."

    Ahem... (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by unitron on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 01:58:29 AM EST

     He's putting on his Ralph Kramden... (none / 0) (#122)
    by unitron on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 10:41:11 PM EDT
    ...uniform, and throwing everyone else under the bus.

    Which may not do any good if the bus isn't moving because it's stalled in traffic caused by lane closures on the bridge.


    fwiw, the 91 y/o woman (none / 0) (#39)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:09:31 PM EST
    whom you say "later died" was already dead, according to her daughter who was there that morning with her mother when she had the massive heart attack that ended her life.

    "It was her time," she said. "The traffic didn't make any difference," according to her husband.

    They couldn't officially call a time of death until they got her to the hospital.


    But that's clearly not my point. (none / 0) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:20:43 PM EST
    Further, I did note in one of my several comments yesterday on this matter that she was 91 years old and there may not have been anything EMS personnel could have done for her, even if they had arrived in a timely manner.

    The primary issue of concern here is that because of the Christie administration's deliberate attempt to foment traffic gridlock as a means of exacting some sort of political retribution for a perceived slight, EMS personnel in Ft. Lee were quite tardy in responding to several distress calls, and not that one of those persons in distress was an elderly woman who probably would've died anyway.



    You made a weasley comment. (none / 0) (#49)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:44:10 PM EST
    You implied that Christie was in some way to blame for her death. According to the woman's relatives, who were actually there, that is not true.

    Exactly, perfect! (none / 0) (#54)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:13:07 PM EST
    Your ridiculous, unfounded comment is a perfect example of the type of crap (masquerading as an actual, worthwhile comment) that we've been talking about here recently. And, one of the reasons so many good members have left TL in disgust.

    There was no "implication," only a demented "inference" dreamed up by you to find something, anything, to slur a fellow poster and start a fight.

    Donald certainly doesn't need any help from me to defend himself. But, this is not just about You and Donald; it is about TL, and what it has become instead of what it could be.


    Don't be ridiculous. I'll let DFH's words (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:16:56 PM EST
    speak for themselves.
    the traffic snarl impeded attempts by local authorities to search for a missing 4-year-old child, and caused unnecessary delays for at least four EMS units attempting to respond to people in distress, one of whom later died.

    I didn't imply any such thing. You're deliberately taking one sub-clause from one sentence completely out of context from my entire comment, as a means to deliberately misconstrue my central point for whatever your reason.

    And further, suffice to say that you know exactly what you're doing, and that this isn't the first time you've done so. Whether you know exactly why you're doing it, that's another matter.

    I'm done here. Have a nice day.



    Indeed, I'm calling you out on the (none / 0) (#64)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 06:05:26 PM EST
    misleading statement you tried to slip into your comment.

    If you didn't spend so much effort repeatedly telling us how ethical and aboveboard you are, I probably would have ignored it.

    Ah well, it's not the first time for you, and probably not the last.


    Whatever floats your boat, dude. (none / 0) (#79)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:08:09 PM EST
    Donald, I'm on your side as to the substance (none / 0) (#81)
    by Peter G on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:10:43 PM EST
    But I do think you were fairly called out on the "later died" clause (regardless of who it was you called you on it). I can't see any reason to have included those words unless you meant to suggest that Christie's (staff's) mean-spirited and bone-headed stunt seemingly had fatal consequences. I think you should admit a mistake and get back to the real political analysis. By the way, I wanted to ask you: from your own political insider experience, do you find it plausible that Christie's chief of staff could have done this without Christie's knowledge, and then would have lied to him when asked about it soon after?

    Ms. Kelly was the deputy chief of staff. (none / 0) (#105)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:44:45 AM EST
    The elected official is responsible for ... (none / 0) (#118)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:15:32 AM EST
    ... the tone and culture that develops in his or her own office.

    In that regard, I think Ms. Kelly, et al., thought that what they were doing would meet with the boss's approval. She didn't necessarily have to tell him, although she should have and in my opinion, probably did. I can't imagine her not doing so, unless she's a politically smitten fool who thought that he would always stand by her, hell or high water. I don't think she is.

    Mr. Christie's entire story rests upon the willingness of a number of people to keep their mouths shut and take the fall. He's dead in the water if Kelly says but two words to the legislature: "He knew."



    When Christie tries to go to Fort Lee... (none / 0) (#3)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 12:30:03 PM EST
    ...they should close the lane his car is in just before he gets there.

    I've never been any closer to that part of the country than Richmond, VA, but Fort Lee is notable enough that I've heard of it, so for the governor up there to claim not even to know what their mayor looks like?  Seriously?

    If you're old enough, perhaps you ... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:56:41 PM EST
    ... remember that a certain Mr. Richard Feder of Ft. Lee, NJ would constantly write to Rosanne Rosannadanna (Gilda Radner) on SNL's "Weekend Update" about one issue or another, prompting a snarky but ultimately pointless response from her that served only to gross everyone out.

    For those who did not grow up (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Peter G on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:37:54 PM EST
    five miles from Fort Lee, as I did, let me explain for you the natives' pronunciation of the town's name:  "Fawtly."

    had a brother who owned a drug store in my NJ hometown of Morristown. Pronounced Mar-is-town by the natives, and often confused verbally with Moorestown, down by Philly.

    Is "verbally" the correct term? Maybe (none / 0) (#67)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 06:35:18 PM EST

    Yes! (none / 0) (#69)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:02:15 PM EST
    Ha! I chose "verbally" (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:11:00 AM EST
    to try to throw the blame onto how the natives choose to pronounce the word Morristown, though it's been so long now I'm not sure if the "correct" pronunciation is more like Mar-is-town or more like More-is-town or what.

    I guess I'll shut my dure and drink my cawfee while I think about it...


    Did you fill out this (none / 0) (#123)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:49:23 AM EST
    NYT survey?

    How Y'all, Youse and You Guys Talk


    It's how "Dem guys talk" now, (none / 0) (#125)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 12:01:25 PM EST
    I'm not one of them any more.

    I quickly learned to talk "right" when I left NJ at 17, although my wife loves to giggle at me when something "NJ" slips out of my mouth every once in a while...


    My aunt lived in Morristown for (none / 0) (#88)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:04:00 PM EST
    many years - Schoolhouse Lane - in a very modern house my brother and I thought was just the coolest place ever.  It sat at the top of a hill, and we used to love to look through the binoculars or the telescope to see all the way to NY.  Windows all along one side of the house, with a gorgeous view.

    nice neighborhood, that. (none / 0) (#91)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:19:24 PM EST
    I've told the story here a couple times of when I worked for the water dept and the stoner shop mechanic there forgot to put brake fluid in my dump truck after he did a brake job, and how I came close to a serious accident coming down a big hill into a "T" intersection. That was the Schoolhouse Lane/Mt. Pleasant Rd intersection.

    Oops. I just looked at google maps (none / 0) (#124)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:56:36 AM EST
    the dump truck incident was coming down Picatinny Rd to the Mendham Rd intersection. Oh well, it's been a long time since I was back there!

    I shard a table at the balcony bar at the Met. (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:42:34 PM EST
    Museum.  Woman lived in Fort Lee. She said it's a great place to live. An easy car commute to Manhattan. This was b/4 the Christie administration decided to make it a very difficult commute.

    I wouldn't be surprised... (none / 0) (#101)
    by unitron on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 02:11:02 AM EST
    ...if there was an actual Richard Feder who live in Fort Lee and worked for NBC and let them use his name and location so they wouldn't get sued by anyone else with that name.

    Fort Lee has a "showbiz" connection that goes all the way back to Edison.


    The spotlight (none / 0) (#9)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:35:29 PM EST
    One of the travails of being the ostensible front-runner a few years out from the next Presidential election has to do with the spotlight ... and the meltdown that exposures about perceived or real character flaws may be displayed.  The spotlight can rightly or wrongly enhance any earlier questions, perceptions.  In this case: The "bully" image.  (In a phone conversation earlier today, the first political subject was the phrase "I am not a bully," the phrase used by Gov. Christie in his press conference and a phrase very similar to a phrase used publicly to sardonic response oh-so-long ago.)

    While I found the responses by the Governor in taking the humble-pie road today to be about as good as one could do in the situation, I do think that the public-perception damage is severe.  The hard-knocks political reality of New Jersey is bound to uncover more examples of the "bully" re-emergence, thereby lending more credence to the image of the Governor as vindictive and petty.  Maybe new Senator Cory Booker could help him find someone or some little puppy to rescue to re-build the image of straight-talking Everyman.  But even that re-building would compete in the eastern press with the NJ State Legislature's hearings wherein the Majority Leader today wondered very aloud where the Governor has been the last four months when the details of the Washington Bridge fiasco were being reported.  Or the news that in 2010 the Governor also claimed to be misled by staff in an embarrassingly heavy-handed situation.

    Of course, as a Democrat, I have my clear biases.  On the one hand, Governor Christie is astute and is now saying the right things; and, as we know, that has a lot of appeal (and the story is far from over.)  OTOH, it doesn't hurt potential Republican competitors like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul (and even ol' Jeb sitting off there in Florida.)  An action rooted in power-abuse and "bully"--whether Christie knew or not--probably won't bring him down in NJ, imo.  But, the political damage isn't going to go away easily, because this situation just handed his competitors some nice Aces.

    An addition:  If info shows that someone(s) was really as well as potentially adversely effected by delaying emergency services in the traffic mess, the damage certainly grows.  Lots of info to develop out there during formal and informal evidence development.

    Famous Republican lines (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:17:43 PM EST
    "I am not a crook"
    "I am not a witch"
    "I am not a bully"

    Oh Politalkix...I must admit (none / 0) (#73)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:32:32 PM EST
    to have laughed out loud when hearing the "I am not a <fill in the blank> " reprise from the presser.  The Q&A around here was the fill-in-the-blank exercise.
    When all is said & done--apart from the political reality--this display shows what happens or may happen when one becomes the object of the claim rather than the usual proponent.  One of Christie's real problems is that he put himself on a pedestal of righteous behavior ... kind of like Ted Cruz... and, in the process, he finds no friends to defend & support him.  Nasty.  But reality.  I understand that the needy Senator Lindsey Graham did a bit of scab-opening today with his remark that the situation may reinforce the notion that Governor Christie is a "bully," and added (gratuitously) that Christie doesn't play well in the South.  

    Or, just a "third-rate burglary" (none / 0) (#87)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:00:46 PM EST
    Also Depends Hightly... (none / 0) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 01:57:23 PM EST
    ...on who the they think he is going to bully.  I doubt many would hesitate to vote for a Teddy Roosevelt type bully.

    That's not Christie, but my point is R's will double down on Christie is they believe his going to bully us D's.  That's one of their pet peeves, him holding hands with Obama right before the election.  They love a "You are either with us or your against" kind of no compromise mentality.

    This country is the world's bully, hand down.  Even our Noble Peace winning prez is guilty of bullying entire countries to get at one or two people.  So unless he starts picking on kids at the playground, I can't imagine that aspect is going to be a negative outside the Beltway.


    The story has a long way to go (none / 0) (#13)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:18:09 PM EST
    But today's "winner" is someone like Republican competitor Paul Ryan.  That is, most of the jockeying as the election cycle heats up will be seen in the Republican competitor group.

    And, while I agree that the speak-softly-but-carry-a-big-stick approach of T. Roosevelt has an appeal, an image of beating the little-guy-in-traffic-with-said-stick is a bit less admirable.  Rough and tumble politics, often so on display in big coastal cities (perception), does not translate well to many parts of the country.  What we seem to want is the image of the good person, not the obviously petty or vindictive one.  That is the real rebuilding issue that the Governor may face as this issue is used to define "character."

    BTW, if there is no further demining portrayals in other official instances involving the Governor, I believe that he can politically survive this scandal.  Up until now, he had managed a decent reputation as a national voice, and he could use that to his advantage in matters of trust.  Yet ... it really is red meat to the Republican competitors as well as to Repubs who considered him not rightwing enough.  (I'm guessing that there is no advantage for national Democrats to say much of anything at this time.)


    Paul Ryan (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:50:29 PM EST
    is dead meat now. He voted to cut retirement for military veterans and they are red hot mad at him.

    Holding hands (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:52:49 PM EST
    with Obama is one of the reasons why he'll never get the nomination and plenty of Republicans actually blame him for Romney losing in 2012. It's really kind of a moot point to argue what general election voters are going to care about because he's not going to get that far.

    'Tend to agree Ga6th (none / 0) (#26)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:10:25 PM EST
    Very anecdotal on my part, but ... when I recently asked a Repub acquaintance (one who seems to follow the typical Repub nominee positions) about Christie his first response was a disparaging "He's not a Republican."  Now, this is Colorado; this individual hails from NY politics way back when; he is a college professor who, for some reason, describes Reagan in laudatory terms; this same man is active in Repub Colorado circles and seems to have come to believe that the reason his party is on a WH losing streak is because of McCain, Romney, and that Christie would do the same.  Fascinating.

    I did not realize that Paul Ryan had nixed the vets.  Whoops.  So, is Jeb Bush in waiting and/or is Rand Paul clumsily moving to an approximation of Repub center?


    Jeb Bush (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:14:17 PM EST
    Is in Uruguay meeting with Swiss bankers right now.

    A concservative blogger on The National Review's The Corner wrote this:

    Because nothing says "potential GOP presidential candidate" like "in Uruguay with Swiss bankers." Good Lord, are these people trying to lose?

    They (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:40:46 PM EST
    aren't trying to lose. They are just confused as to what century we are currently living in and reside in such a bubble that they think everbody agrees with them.

    Ever try to talk to a republican? They don't believe anything unless it comes from Rush Limbuagh or Fox News. They have zero critical thinking skills and are incapable of understanding why they keep losing elections.


    Wow. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:13:52 PM EST
    Ever try to talk to a republican? They don't believe anything unless it comes from Rush Limbuagh or Fox News. They have zero critical thinking skills and are incapable of understanding why they keep losing elections.

    Except for party affiliation, you sound like exactly like those who you are trying to caricaturize.


    All I can (none / 0) (#83)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:19:04 PM EST
    say is that the Republicans here in Ga and even in farther flung places that I have contact with will not accept debunking of information from any media source. They believe that the media is against them and that everything that is in the newspapers like the NYT or the LAT are all lies meant to further some nefarious agenda.

    They are all over my facebook feed putting up conspriacy theories but don't think they are conspiracy theories. You can't tell them they are conspiracy theories either because it has to be debunked by one of their conspiracy theory sites for them to believe it. It's just plain nuts.


    Come On... (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:26:18 PM EST
    ...even here that isn't true.  There are a couple people who I really respect here whom I disagree with politically, but make well thought out arguments and are in no way Fox News parrots.

    I don't really chat with many republicans except at work and generally politics is off limits, so it's hard to tell, but they certainly aren't lacking in intelligence.

    And let's be honest, there are a couple of Obama squawk boxes here that fall into that category you described.  They leave their brains at the door, rinse and repeat the Obama talking points without any sort of filtration and go ballistic over any Obama criticism.  They really get under my skin in that they are in my clan, so to speak.


    Well (none / 0) (#84)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:21:17 PM EST
    actually at one time I would have thought Slado fell into that category but lately he's been repeating Rush Limbaugh verbatim.

    Well, you know me. I'm not defending the Obama sqawk boxes. Apparently they think I need to donate my brain to science or maybe my brain wouldn't qualifty for science because I'm a HATER.


    I talk to one every day: my husband, (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:33:04 PM EST
    and while he and I have had our share of heated arguments, your generalization that "They don't believe anything unless it comes from Rush Limbuagh or Fox News. They have zero critical thinking skills and are incapable of understanding why they keep losing elections," struck me as being as bad as the generalizations conservatives make about Democrats/liberals.

    My husband isn't nearly as interested in politics as I am, and he's never, to my knowledge, listened to Rush or watched Fox News.  His critical thinking skills are just fine, thank you.


    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#77)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:05:36 PM EST
    the ones like your husband are too few and far between. I actually WISH there were more like him. Maybe living in a +24 GOP district makes a difference.

    Actually, that's not true (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:59:09 PM EST
    Ever try to talk to a republican? They don't believe anything unless it comes from Rush Limbuagh or Fox News. They have zero critical thinking skills and are incapable of understanding why they keep losing elections.

    I live in the DC area and talk to plenty of Republicans.  Many of them don't even watch FOX News, or watch it occasionally.


    Where you (none / 0) (#78)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:06:29 PM EST
    live is one of those rare places that actually has moderate republicans. Too bad there aren't more of them.

    The Republicans I meet (none / 0) (#103)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:11:29 AM EST
    Have nothing to do with where I live - they are from all over the country:  the Midwest, the South, the Southwest, and yes, even the Northeast.

    Still (none / 0) (#109)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:00:26 AM EST
    doesn't change their numbers within the GOP--20 to 25%. I can't believe that you don't meet all these tea partiers if you hang out with so many Republicans.

    I didn't say I "hung out with them" (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:21:54 AM EST
    I said I meet a lot of them and talk to them.  And contrary to what you may hear and read, at least in this town, people are friends with lots of kinds of people (or at least, friendly).  You can't hate or ignore half the people you meet and work with.  This is a company town and you meet people from all over the country with all kinds of backgrounds and political leanings. Sometimes you learn stuff - like the fact that they don't all watch FOX News religiously (pun intended), and while they definitely hold conservative views, those views, like the Democrats I meet, run the gamut - some are pro-gun, some are strong national defense proponents, some are fiscally conservative, etc.

    Here's a good example. I've met many Republican (women, mostly) who are pro-choice.  But then, I had a conversation with a conservative Catholic  woman (whose husband was in the Air Force) I worked with where we discussed abortion.  When she pointed out to me that some people find abortion to be a moral issue and asked why they should be forced to pay for something they are morally opposed to, I turned the question on her:  I asked why, when so many people (including Catholics, of which I am one) find dropping bombs on people in faraway lands to be immoral, should we have to pay for that?  She stopped, thought about it, and said to me, "You're absolutely right.  I hadn't thought it about that way."  Now, I didn't change her mind regarding abortion, and that wasn't my point.  We had a reasonable discussion and remained friends.

    I had another friend who is a lawyer and worked for a House committee.  We had a long conversation about the detainees at Guantanamo and the legal issues.  Some of the ones were issues that have been discussed on this blog by lawyers with certain points of view.  But my friend gave me the other side of the legal story and why nothing is really as is easy as a blogger posts in 500 words.  It was really interesting - it didn't necessarily change my view, but it gave me a broader picture of the whole situation than just reading narrowly tailored arguments written by people I generally agree with.

    So, maybe you either need to stop reading and listening to the very limited group of conservatives in your circle and on the blogs you read (which may have conservative points filtered through a liberal who does not agree with them), or maybe you need expand your horizions and find some who are not a part of the fringe and really listen to what they say. You don't have to change your views or principles, but at least listen to the whole argument, and not just the talking points.  

    Contrary to popular belief in the liberal blogosphere, conservatives / Republicans are not all evil or crazy, and conversely, liberals are not always right.  It's a big and diverse country out there, and most people are not that tuned in or married to one party or the other, and to group half the country with whom you disagree politically as stupid is not a good way to engage in discourse, nor encourage those people to work with you to find solutions. (You need not look further than some commenters on this blog to find how they bring down the level of discourse by being absolute in their opinions and if you disagree, you are considered "stupid", "idiotic", or worse, a "Republican").


    You sound like Obama (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by MKS on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 01:50:46 PM EST
    Well, (none / 0) (#132)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 04:45:12 PM EST
    You're on the board of his fan club, so I will assume you're complimenting me.

    "Fan club" (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by MKS on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:27:31 PM EST
    is not how I would describe it, and I suppose you knew that.

    But glad to see you now find Obama's take on things to have value.


    But, heh, at least (none / 0) (#136)
    by MKS on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 12:01:32 AM EST
    you put me on the Board, instead of just staff or lowly owner of just one share of stock.

    Good (none / 0) (#140)
    by Politalkix on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:00:35 PM EST
    "We had a long conversation about the detainees at Guantanamo and the legal issues.  Some of the ones were issues that have been discussed on this blog by lawyers with certain points of view.  But my friend gave me the other side of the legal story and why nothing is really as is easy as a blogger posts in 500 words.  It was really interesting - it didn't necessarily change my view, but it gave me a broader picture of the whole situation than just reading narrowly tailored arguments written by people I generally agree with"

    I don't (none / 0) (#126)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 12:24:53 PM EST
    hang out in the liberal blogosphere. I'm going on my own personal experience. I'm glad you've found some but the ones that I'm friends with even people who live overseas and in places like Wisconsin and Connecticut say the same things that these nuts down here in GA do. You could never have that discussion about abortion with these people. They would tell you flat out that bombing people in the middle east was okay because they have the wrong religion.

    Look at the representatives in Washington. How many moderate Republicans are there? Maybe 20 to 30 in the house and a few in the senate? Don't you think that is more representative than what either your or I have experienced?


    I think, in most of the circles people (none / 0) (#127)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 12:43:45 PM EST
    move in, there are some topics that just aren't at the top of the list of "things that are fun to talk about:" politics, religion, abortion, fiscal policy, and so on.  People talk about TV, movies, sports, their children and grandchildren, what they did over the weekend, etc.

    Does that sound too superficial?  Well, maybe it is, but I think it describes what goes on in most people's relationships - at least the work ones, or the moms-who-watch-their-kids-play-sports ones, or the dads-who-help-each-other-with-home-projects ones.

    I've known people whose views on the hot-button issues turned out to be 180 degrees away from my own - and the reason it didn't matter, really, was because we weren't out to proselytize or demagogue or make those things the important part of our friendship.

    Which is not to say that I haven't ever tried to plant some seeds or suggest an alternative, but it's not my mission to be that-lady-who-always-wants-to-shove-politics-down-your-throat, who doesn't have any friends because I always have to be so serious and angry about something.  

    Am I crazy, or does this not describe what's going on in most people's lives?


    or anything along those lines with friends, co-workers, etc., a total of one (1) time, and that entire discussion was my neighbor's response to our telling her as we got out of the car that we just visited the nearby Reagan Library, her response being "That man was evil."

    Good for your neighbor (none / 0) (#135)
    by MKS on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:31:40 PM EST
    See Guatemala. See Rios-Montt.  See Reagan call him a man of "great integrity" who was getting a "bum rap" on human rights.  See Meteor Blades who was there.

    I would change what your neighbor said to:  "The Reagan Administration perpetrated evil in Guatemala."


    I think (none / 0) (#130)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 02:16:03 PM EST
    prosthelyzing is where you hit the nail on the head. Frankly I actually would not know all these people had these crackpot views and probably would want to hang out with them more if they would actually quit trying to overtly covert or browbeat everybody into thinking the same way they do. One friend of mine realizes her husband is just awful in this department and FORBIDS him from talking about politics at social events because she says he is obnoxious and condescending and that he is but he RUINED one New Year's Eve party because of it. He just couldn't keep his big mouth shut. Other times where i have been around these same conservative Republicans it has been the same thing. I really hate to have a political litmus test to my parties but honestly if they can't at least figure out a way to be pleasant or agree to disagree a party will turn into a screaming match. With this one particular guy his problem is that he listens to talk radioi 24/7 and resides in a bubble and thinks everybody thinks like he does and then gets angry when he starts a discussion and people don't think the same way. He was shocked that McCain did not win in 2008.

    Yikes! (none / 0) (#56)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:17:40 PM EST
    Ga6thDem: "Ever try to talk to a republican? They don't believe anything unless it comes from Rush Limbuagh or Fox News. They have zero critical thinking skills and are incapable of understanding why they keep losing elections."

    Perhaps you've been living in "Dueling Banjoes" country for too long. While I'm an admitted card-carrying Democrat in Hawaii, I come from a very Republican family in California. I happen to know a lot of very thoughtful and reasonable Republicans, and I daresay no small number of them have been increasingly unhappy about both the present unsustainable trajectory of their party and the yahoos riding it for their own self-perceived ends.

    But ultimately, the GOP's ultimate fate is for Republicans themselves to figure out, and not for me or other Democrats to decide.

    If Republicans eventually go the way of the Whigs in the mid-19th century, the politics in this country will inevitably realign itself to reflect the GOP's demise, and another right-of-center party will eventually arise from the ashes to fill the void and challenge the Democrats.

    Or who knows? Maybe the Dems will ultimately incorporate so many moderate Republicans that they'll move right-of-center, and its progressive and liberal factions will break away and end up forming their own party.

    Either way, our politics will evolve accordingly to reflect the times in which we live, just as it always has. After all, 150 years ago, the Republicans had only recently arrived on the scene as the liberal social reformers, while the Democrats constituted the staid party of business representing the conservative status quo.



    Perhaps (none / 0) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:08:42 PM EST
    you are right about my location but you have to also realize that the GOP is a southern party now. The typical GOP voter here in GA is pretty much what rules the roost these days. I mean what about all that outreach they were supposed to be doing? It went down the drain. You know why it went down the drain? Because the Republicans down here rule the GOP and don't want any outreach.

    It is primarily a Southern party, but ... (none / 0) (#94)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:36:49 PM EST
    ... but by no means is it exclusive to the South. Most of central California, rural Oregon and eastern Washington are considered GOP strongholds, as are most of the areas in the rural Midwest. Republicans also control state legislatures and governor's offices in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, both of which are nominally considered "blue" states by more than a few pundits who should really know better. They controlled the state legislature in New York for years, and still hold sway there in the State Senate.

    In Hawaii, the only place where Republicans are considered strong is in my own area of east Oahu, but even that presence is tenuous. As the GOP lurched to the far right over these past 15 years, many longtime Hawaii Republicans -- most of whom definitely fall in the moderate range -- abandoned the party because of its stances on social issues, and became either Democrats or independents. In 2002, Republicans held 20 of our 51 State House seats; tellingly, that number is presently down to seven.



    This is the same thing I hear (none / 0) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:47:41 PM EST
    around here. It's a pretty standard belief among GOP primary voters that Romney and McCain lost because they were moderates and not conservative enough. They want someone who is going to articulate full blown crazy. Of course, they do not realize how crazy all this stuff sounds to rest of the country because they reside in a bubble.

    I would not put it past the GOP to be stupid enough to nominate Jeb Bush. From what I hear from friends in FL who are now reaping what he put in place years ago he probably would not even win FL in a presidential contest. As a matter of fact I think polls had him losing to Hillary in FL


    Republicans in the South (none / 0) (#139)
    by Amiss on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 04:56:21 PM EST
    I was born and raised in Fla. Rick Scott makes Jeb Bush look like a genius, at least to me. I have family on both sides of the political parties. There are many more things that both sides of my family have alike than they do different, just as I feel Republicans and Democrats do. I feel I lean more liberally, until I am around younger members of my family.

    Agreed, Somewhat... (none / 0) (#41)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:13:07 PM EST
    ...long ways off, but this is the kind of stuff they said about Romney, his health implementation as governor and he was Mormon, which I assumed was worse than being liberal in R's circles.  He ended up with the nomination because when all is said and done, they would rather have an Obama hugging R in the white House than a Clinton, IMO.

    But my point above was more that being a bully isn't going to hurt Cristie's chances.

    Personally, I hope Christie doesn't get on the ballot, the rest of the clown car is so far out there that it would make a nice easy win for the home team.


    Oh, (none / 0) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:11:17 PM EST
    I know they said that about Romney but they are not going to be told who to vote for anymore. I was not one of the ones saying that Romney would not be nominated back in 2012 because I knew they would come out and vote for who they were told to vote for. They've been doing it for decades but all that is over. They believe that they have been sold losers too many times and aren't going to play that game anymore.

    And Yet... (none / 0) (#104)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:38:52 AM EST
    ....several posts up you wrote:
    They don't believe anything unless it comes from Rush Limbuagh or Fox News. They have zero critical thinking skills and are incapable of understanding why they keep losing elections.

    I am confused.


    Well (none / 0) (#106)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:45:46 AM EST
    don't confuse Rush with the GOP elite telling them who to vote for.

    Rush Is Commonly Called... (none / 0) (#114)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:50:54 AM EST
    ...the head of the republican party or the party boss by R's and D's.

    I remember Steele when was elected Chairman of the RNC and claimed he was the head of the GOP, not Limbaugh, then apologized a day later.


    Fort Lee Mayor (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:01:46 PM EST
    If you were a NJ resident and taxpayer, how (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:50:08 PM EST
    much additional tax money would you want expended on further legislative investigation of this issue?

    I would want to get to the bottom of this. (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:33:15 PM EST
    By no means should Chris Christie's words today be allowed to stand as the final ones spoken on this very regrettable affair. I'm sorry, but at this point I have no confidence in either his veracity or his judgment -- and given his prior public statements and behavior on this matter, neither should anyone else, regardless of one's political affiliation.

    What happened in Ft. Lee is totally unacceptable. The New Jersey legislature now needs to do its job and properly exercise its powers of executive oversight. Legislators must first determine and then enact the sort of reforms necessary to dissuade future administrations from succumbing to the temptation to wield the inherent powers of the governor's office as a means to exact political retribution against constituents for whatever the perceived rationale.

    And if that ultimately means making a public example of current and former members of the Christie administration, up to and including the governor himself, then so be it.



    That Is Definitely Dependent... (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 06:34:02 PM EST
    ...on your party card.

    They should dig around enough to find out if Christie knew about it.  But I fear they are going to fishing for long time, he's made a lot of enemies and they just smelled a little Christie blood.  this can't be their first rodeo in regards to using their power to settle perceived wrongs.

    Still haven't gotten an answer to the question:

    What exactly were they trying to accomplish ?

    Grid locking traffic in hopes of netting one person, or maybe they think the mayor is manning the traffic complaint hotline, the act simply does make sense to me if the plan was to get the mayor.  All they did is tick a bunch of folks off who carry both D & R cards by making them sit in traffic.


    What exactly were they trying to accomplish ? (none / 0) (#97)
    by Jack203 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 10:22:09 PM EST
    Yup my exact question too.

    After reading scribes post below, I'm thinking just maybe our press is right about this, and the Christie administration really are just spiteful juvenile assholes.


    As some here have already stated (none / 0) (#75)
    by vml68 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:42:42 PM EST
    the GWB is a traffic nightmare everyday of the week (I have spent my fair share of time sitting in traffic waiting to cross). The fact that it was worse on that particular day, while infuriating, is not the end of the world.

    Considering, we have one of the highest tax burdens in the country I would prefer not to expend additional tax money on the investigation.
    If they can manage it without extra funds, I say go for it.


    Given that the NJ Legislature is already ... (none / 0) (#76)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:01:46 PM EST
    ... in session and its members are presently in Trenton, additional expenses resulting from this investigation -- if any -- would probably be minimal.

    Like I said earlier, providing oversight over the executive branch is an integral part of any state legislature's proscribed duties. I had been assigned to several special investigative committees over the nearly two decades I spent in our own state capitol here in Honolulu, including one which resulted in the removal of a Democratic governor's budget director for institutional malfeasance back in 1993. Because I was already on the legislative payroll, I did what I was expected to do, and was never paid any bonuses, overtime or additional monies because of that extra duty.

    And for what it's worth, I've found that most claims about additional or exorbitant legislative expenses for special investigations are not only so many red herrings, they also tend to be offered up by the very people who have a vested interest in keeping the public in ignorance about whatever is being investigated by the legislature at the time.



    The now former aide better have a good lawyer, (none / 0) (#53)
    by Green26 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:06:59 PM EST
    as I think she's going to have big legal problems. Investigators and prosecutors are going to be lining up to chase her, and will not cut her any slack. No one is going to step up to support her either. There may other aides who will get caught up in this too. It's bad enough to do what they did, but it's incredible stupid to leave the tracks and roadmap in emails and texts.

    It will be interesting to see if Christie really wasn't aware of this, either in real-time or after-the-fact.

    Breaking: The New Jersey State Assembly ... (none / 0) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:25:26 PM EST
    ... Committee on Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities, which is investigating the Ft. Lee gridlock scandal, has just voted to hold former NY/NJ Port Authority official David Wildstein in misdemeanor contempt.

    After a Superior Court judge refused to consider Wildstein's earlier request to quash the committee's subpoena, and instead ruled that Assembly Transportation Chair John Wisniewski has the authority to compel him to appear before members of his committee at today's public hearing in Trenton, Wildstein invoked his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to testify.

    This is going to get very interesting.

    Breaking: The U.S. Attorney's office for ... (none / 0) (#74)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:38:54 PM EST
    ... the Northern District of New Jersey has also launched its own inquiry into the Ft. Lee gridlock scandal, to determine whether state and NY/NJ Port Authority officials broke any federal laws as a result of their politically-motivated closure of several GWB lanes last September.

    And the hits just keep on coming.

    Although those who live in the southern part (none / 0) (#85)
    by Peter G on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:39:50 PM EST
    of New Jersey often say they wish it were otherwise, there is only one federal "District of New Jersey."  No "Northern District" or "Southern District."

    Every now and again the proposal (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:53:39 PM EST
    comes up to separate New Jersey into two districts.  It's been coming up since there has been a District of New Jersey, reflective of a division of the state between north and south  that dates back to colonial days when there were two Jerseys - East and West - divided by a line running roughly northwest from a point on the ocean near modern-day Atlantic City to the Pennsylvania/New York border corner near Port Jervis.

    In reality, North and South Jersey are different worlds - there are even different ways of closing on the sale of a house in different parts of the state.  In north Jersey, both sides have lawyers and in south Jersey, not so.

    But they remain one judicial district.


    Thank you, Peter, for the clarification. (none / 0) (#90)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:19:06 PM EST
    There should be two districts, though, if not more. New Jersey's population is eight times that of Hawaii, which has a similar statewide federal district.

    the division is and always has been (none / 0) (#92)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:21:54 PM EST
    a function of half the state being drawn in by the gravity emanating from New York and the other by Philadelphia.  But a division into 2 districts would be unwieldy at best for a lot of reasons, dealing with legal practicalities and precedents, that would take books to lay out in detail.

    Yes, I agree with that (none / 0) (#93)
    by Peter G on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:26:03 PM EST
    There should be two federal districts in New Jersey. Not as pressing a concern as many others in the federal courts, though, including the size of the Ninth Circuit. Or, more important still, the underfunding of the Federal Public Defenders and other indigent services.

    ... which Jeralyn in her capacity as a defense counsel should definitely consider hosting.

    Motive (none / 0) (#96)
    by Jack203 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 10:18:15 PM EST
    I'm having a hard time seeing the motive provided by our press.  Payback for a little known Democrat mayor for not endorsing makes very little sense. Why would anyone be surprised a Democrat Mayor didn't?  Why would anyone even care if this guy did or not?  Let's cause traffic to everyone crossing the GWB.  Yeah that will show the mayor.  Huh? How?

    I think the evidence points to guilt, but not beyond a reasonable doubt.   Especially because their only defense is a "traffic study" with apparently no further explanation given.  That sounds pretty ridiculous too.  But if they are guilty I think another motive different than the one we were given is in play.

    Rachel Maddow (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 11:26:12 PM EST
    has a theory that the payback was against a Democratic State Senator from Ft. Lee--not the Mayor--who was embroiled in a major fight with Christie over judges on the state supreme court.

    The afternoon before the email asking for traffic problems, Christie had called Democrats in the New Jersey Senate "animals."


    Bipartisanship ? (none / 0) (#112)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:15:13 AM EST
    Fulop (Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop) declined to endorse Christie last year as 61 other elected members of his party - including a Jersey City councilman - backed the Republican governor. Christie used that support to trumpet what he said were bipartisan accomplishments. It was a key part of his political narrative, which, along with his landslide victory, has helped cast the governor as a front-runner in the 2016 presidential race.

    Best explanation I have read.

    I think just as importantly, what was the actual goal ?  How did they think creating gridlock for 4 days was going hurt Fulop, either personally or professionally ?


    Courtesy of Fox via (none / 0) (#107)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:55:58 AM EST
    google news:

    Meanwhile, six New Jersey residents filed a federal lawsuit against Christie, the state of New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and others over the traffic jams in September. The plaintiffs want it certified as a class-action suit.

    Lawyer Rosemarie Arnold said she filed it after learning this week that lane closures on an approach to the George Washington Bridge were "deliberate actions." She said that her clients were late for work and that one suffered a panic attack.

    LOL... (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:06:09 AM EST
    Rosemarie Arnold sounds like a real winner...sounds ridiculous!  The clown show has only just begun...

    Would they (none / 0) (#108)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:57:49 AM EST
    (or could they) prove that even if all lanes were open they wouldn't have encountered other traffic jams?

    How could they? (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by Yman on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 02:10:25 PM EST
    They wouldn't have to prove a negative in order to establish causation.  Not to mention the fact this wasn't just regular traffic congestion.  This fiasco quadrupled travel/commuting times.

    Lorraine Vorchheimer, a Realtor, sits at a desk facing the bumper-to-bumper bridge-bound traffic on Main Street. A resident of Fort Lee nearly 40 years, Vorchheimer said, she never saw anything like the traffic in September.

    "It was horrific," she said. "We couldn't get to work."

    "A parking lot," a co-worker interjected.


    "Other than after the 9/11 attacks, I've never seen such a fiasco of delays at the inbound, upper-level part of the bridge," Mildred Van Zwaren of Ridgefield told the paper.

    Here's another excerpt: (none / 0) (#120)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:32:17 AM EST
    In Washington, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, demanded answers last month about the debacle. Rockefeller told told reporters on Thursday that he will not hold hearings if federal prosecutors are looking into the matter, The Record newspaper reported.

    "I don't put us out of the game entirely," Rockefeller was quoted as saying. "I just don't think a hearing at this point - it would be seen as entirely political and my guess is we wouldn't get many answers."

    Key word "game"...n/t (none / 0) (#121)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:35:30 AM EST
    Odd (none / 0) (#119)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:22:56 AM EST
    Odd that this guy generates so many comments. I do not understand why. To me seems like SOP, more unusual that the story got out.

    I don't think it's the guy... (none / 0) (#122)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 11:37:36 AM EST
    so much as the story...we all love a fall from grace story, be it celebrities or politicians.  The old build 'em up tear 'em down/"gotcha!" media thing.

    Oh (none / 0) (#131)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 02:35:00 PM EST
    That makes sense...  pretty uninteresting otherwise, he is certainly not anywhere close to being on my radar.

    Early findings in the document release (none / 0) (#133)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 04:50:04 PM EST
    Show there actually WAS a traffic study taking place, at least on the last day of the big jams.

    4:28 p.m. ET - Amid the controversy surrounding access lane closures near the George Washington Bridge scandal for alleged political reasons, documents released Friday show that a traffic study did in fact occur.

    An "early assessment" of traffic patterns on the bridge was conducted. The assessment, which was released on September 12, the fourth day of the lane closures, produced findings that detailed the number of vehicles that used the Ft. Lee section of the bridge, peak traffic hours and what the impact would be if lanes were removed or added.

    Other releases seem to show what we know so far - the head of the Port Authority was angry, he wondered about emergency response times, etc.

    And a NJ state legislator is wondering about a meeting between the head of the Port Authority and Christie the week before the closures.  I can't tell if he alluding to a possible collusion between the two or not.

    Better put "study" in quotes (5.00 / 2) (#138)
    by Yman on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 02:41:23 PM EST
    It was a six slide Powerpoint presentation, with the first slide being a title page and the last slide being "Conclusions" that said simply "TBD".