When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half

Ruh roh (via):

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures. Wildstein, the official who ordered the closures and who resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: “Got it.”

Like a good liberal, I oppose the death penalty. But to quote Vincent Vega: They should be fucking killed. No trial, no jury, straight to execution. It’s just against the rules.

Anyone who’s ever spent time in traffic on that bridge agrees with me.

All the “Morning Joe” hand jobs in the world won’t bring Christie’s presidential hopes back to life.

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226 replies
  1. 1
    smintheus says:

    Any presidential rival who can’t beat Christie with this documentary evidence of his vengeful maliciousness is too incompetent to run the country.

  2. 2
    Violet says:

    As I said below, this story knocked Bob Gates off the top of Google News. The New York media is going to be all over this. It involves them. They’ll be personally affronted.

  3. 3
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    This scandal, plus all of the dirt released from Romney’s vetting team after the election, are just the tip of the iceberg with Christie. He has multiple “-gates” in his past just waiting to be investigated. He will never be the GOP presidential nominee.

  4. 4
    elspi says:

    Nonsense. He wins the republican nomination in a landslide.
    He out dicked dick cheney. He couldn’t be more of an asshole if he shot an old man in the face and then made the poor bastard apologize on national TV.

  5. 5
    srv says:

    BRIDGEGHAZI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. 6

    The GWB toll is $13? Good lawd that’s a lot of money.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    Looks like we’ve got trouble in River City.

  8. 8
    ChrisNYC says:

    I’m praying for a press conference. He’s not going to handle it well.

  9. 9
    tjmn says:

    Yet another bridge to nowhere.

  10. 10
    Hunter Gathers says:

    It wasn’t Vega that said that. It was Vega’s heroin dealer, Lance.

  11. 11
    patrick II says:

    For an alternative view — Charlie Pierce: Chris Christie is not Doomed”

  12. 12
    scav says:

    Y’see, it’s only politician’s kids that are ruled out of bounds in the political arena — apologies must be made, publicly, and consequences most dire ensue. Voters’ kids, ‘specially voters for those people, well, they’re just legitimate targets and well worth the giggle.

  13. 13
    Belafon says:

    Is it wrong that I’m smiling?

  14. 14
    elmo says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    The GWB toll is $13? Good lawd that’s a lot of money.

    Down here in the Greater DC area, I’ve been known to pay $8.50 one-way to bypass traffic on the Beltway, followed by $2.50 for the Dulles Toll Road, and then turn around and do the same thing going home.

  15. 15
    Kay says:

    “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian,” wrote David Wildstein, one of Christie’s appointees to the Port Authority, apparently referring to Mayor Mark Sokolich.

    Oh, God, there’s almost too many good lines.

  16. 16
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Violet: The New York media is going to be all over this. It involves them. They’ll be personally affronted.

    Possibly. Christie is to Gen-Xers (and I am one) of The Village what McCain was and is to their Boomers, a vicarious macho man. I don’t think they’ll let go of him so easily. But I think this and other stories like it (as US Atty he insisted on billing “the taxpayers” for five star accommodations) added to the fact that the man has, as far as I can tell and even when judged by his own political standards, no significant accomplishments as governor should eventually wear him down. If Cruz gets the Koch Bros/Home Depot money, the fact that Christie is the Wall St/Silicon Valley candidate will be neutralized.

  17. 17
    pat says:

    @patrick II:

    I just glanced at that, but I believe it was written about something else entirely (DREAM act) and before the latest revelations about the bridge. I’d check with Pierce later in the day……

  18. 18
    kc says:

    BWAHAHAHAHA!

  19. 19
    scav says:

    @patrick II: also the possibility of mismatch between odds of presidential election and selection as R candidate for same.

  20. 20
    👾 Martin says:

    Gee, people who talk like assholes also act like assholes.

    (speaking as an asshole, myself)

  21. 21
    diana says:

    the outlaw Jersey Whale strikes again…

  22. 22
    kc says:

    This, plus the fact that he was nice to Obama that one time, should sink him in the GOP.

    Okay, maybe especially the fact that he was nice to Obama once . . .

  23. 23
    patrick II says:

    @pat:
    You may want to read to the end.

  24. 24
    J says:

    Even if Christie can’t be (or in truth isn’t) connected, someone who could appoint people like this (n.b. not one but a bunch) is unfit to hold public office. I hope this point isn’t forgotten in the quest to find a ‘smoking gun’.

  25. 25
    EconWatcher says:

    Actually, it was Lance, the heroin dealer, who said your paraphrased words to Vincent Vega, in sympathy after learning that some memberless person had keyed Vincent’s car. Lance, as you will recall, was married to the girl with all that s#!t in her face.

    But point taken.

  26. 26
    Joel says:

    Giuliani ‘2008!

  27. 27
    chopper says:

    having crossed that bridge in shit traffic too many times to count, i can’t once remember thinking it was the fault of the mayor of fort lee.

    seriously, what a fucking asinine way to get back at someone.

  28. 28
    AnotherBruce says:

    Pierce is saying it won’t hurt his national chances, and may help them. But I think he’s underestimating how much this is going to damage Christie. There is a realistic chance that he could be impeached by the Democratically controlled New Jersey legislature, or even jailed for this.

  29. 29
    Jane2 says:

    What’s with staffers so full of their own self-importance that they think that a) email is the same as a phone conversation; and b) a Yahoo account is super-sekret and undiscoverable?

  30. 30
    Shrillhouse says:

    I’m praying for a press conference. He’s not going to handle it well.

    Yeah, that’s probably a bad idea.

    Maybe his staffers could arrange for him to yell at some teachers in front of the cameras.

  31. 31
    Freemark says:

    @kc: I think this is a plus in GOP circles. Being vindictive is an asset with GOP primary voters.

    It is his embrace of Obama that is the kiss of doom to muslim loving race-traitor Christie. All his opponents have to do is blow up that picture and put it out in front the polling place and he gets Huntsman level votes from GOP primary voters.

  32. 32
    Joel says:

    @srv: Keep digging.

  33. 33
    Mandalay says:

    All the “Morning Joe” hand jobs in the world won’t bring Christie’s presidential hopes back to life.

    You’d think so, but apparently Dave Weigel sees what our lesser minds cannot….

    Christie has fired incompetent aides before and walked away with no visible scars. Honestly, this story might move him even closer to a presidential run.

    This is good news for Chris Christie!

  34. 34
    pat says:

    @patrick II:

    Ooops. If Christie can be elected president then we are all doomed.

  35. 35
    Violet says:

    The story doesn’t have sex. Yet. Take a look at the photo at the top of this story. Look how Christie is looking at the young, cute, blonde Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on his senior staff.

  36. 36
    MCA1 says:

    @AnotherBruce: I agree. It might help him with asshole white males who tend to vote Republican, and therefore in a Republican primary. But for Republicans to peel off anyone from the Democratic side of the ledger from the last couple Presidential elections, it’s going to have to be a different demographic than asshole white males who tend to vote Republican. Women in a general election would cringe at this guy, and cementing his image as a vindictive prick neuters any efforts he might make to use his size as a secret advantage by coming off as some kind of happy-go-lucky, larger than life personality. He’ll just be a backstabbing fat slob from Jersey who can’t get over his own spite.

  37. 37
    NonyNony says:

    I would believe that this would potentially hurt Christie’s chances of a national win while helping his chances of winning the GOP nomination.

    But, unlike Charles Pierce, I do not think that Chris Christie has a shot in hell right now of winning the GOP nomination. A Republican “squish” who has been governor of a fairly liberal New England state and is a favorite of hedge fund managers and other Wall Street folks? They tried that in 2012 and failed utterly.

  38. 38
    shelly says:

    “Nonsense. He wins the republican nomination in a landslide.”
    **************

    He’s still the Darling of the party over at ‘Morning Joe.’ but the wingnuts HATE him. Just try dropping his name over at sites like Free Republic.

  39. 39
    Citizen_X says:

    Governor Creosote sabotaged traffic going into and out of the nation’s news media capitol. The Villagers–serving a purpose for once in their lives–are going to roast him for this.

  40. 40
    👾 Martin says:

    @chopper:

    seriously, what a fucking asinine way to get back at someone.

    What’s asinine is that it’s the Port Authority which is shared with NY. Did he really think the political appointees from the democratic NY governor weren’t going to get this out? He doesn’t control that organization, and it was stupid for him to use it to begin with.

    And then on top of that it’s just craven. And I hope there are criminal charges from this. If emergency services couldn’t reach people, those politicians should be held liable.

  41. 41
    Butch says:

    @Jane2: That’s kinda what I was wondering – how can you reach that level of government and still be stupid enough to put this kind of information in an e-mail?

  42. 42
    Butch says:

    @Jane2: That’s kinda what I was wondering – how can you reach that level of government and still be stupid enough to put this kind of information in an e-mail?

  43. 43
    Greg says:

    @srv:

    BRIDGEGHAZI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh! It would be so, so wonderful if we get a new suffix for scandal! That would truly be Obama’s greatest legacy, to finally bury the stupid “everything-gate” meme.

  44. 44
    dmsilev says:

    @👾 Martin:

    And I hope there are criminal charges from this. If emergency services couldn’t reach people, those politicians should be held liable.

    This. If it comes out that there’s someone who died of a heart attack because the ambulance was caught in traffic…

  45. 45
    Mandalay says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    Pierce is saying it won’t hurt his national chances, and may help them. But I think he’s underestimating how much this is going to damage Christie.

    He can forget about presidential ambitions. If Christie is shown to have been involved in the shenanigans, however indirectly, then he is gone as governor. His ambition will become to avoid facing a judge.

  46. 46
    cleek says:

    his being tangentially (so far) involved in being a dick to his political enemies is not the kind of thing that turns off people who want someone who will be a dick to their political enemies.

  47. 47
    The Red Pen -- PEN DAMMIT! says:

    In case anyone was wondering, most Freepers hate Christie for being a “liberal” and hence are dancing on his (presumed) political grave.

    Some are giving the standard, “This is an obvious dirty trick that proves that the Democrats are afraid of Christie.”

  48. 48
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Violet: Funny, but the Gates “story” doesn’t appear now on my Google News feed at all. Poor Bobby Woodward must be having a major sad.

    Like I said in the earlier thread, Gates’ book will be in the remainder bins before Christmas.

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    The Christie story isn’t on the Newsmax headlines over in the right column. Plenty of room for something about testosterone and something about new diet pills.

  50. 50
    Ash Can says:

    I posted this downstairs and will repeat it here:

    The e-mails do indicate that Christie likely was aware of the situation. The first dozen or so appear to be discussing scheduling a meeting to plan how to mess up Fort Lee’s traffic, and one says “It’s the only day that works for the Gov.” (H/t commenter justanotherhuman @ LGF)

    The USS Christie 2016 has smacked into the GWB, torn off a huge chunk of its hull, and is sinking rapidly.

  51. 51
    Belafon says:

    This is just one more piece, and will probably completely doom his chances in NJ and surrounding states.

  52. 52
    The Dangerman says:

    Pffffffffft; the Fat Man’s antics impacted primarily URBAN commuters. You know those URBAN types; mostly TAKERS, not makers (who can helicopter to their destination). It’s really a BLACK and white issue for the Tea type voters.

  53. 53
    Violet says:

    @cleek: Those kinds of people are already voting Republican. It’s not going to endear him to independent-y voters or women, except the Sarah Palin types (mean girls).

  54. 54
    dmsilev says:

    @Violet: NewsMax always makes space in their headlines for a few ‘one weird trick’ stories. Pays the bills, I guess. Still, John McCain’s opinion of Dennis Rodman is apparently considered newsworthy.

  55. 55
    MattR says:

    @srv:

    BRIDGEGHAZI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seems only fair since the lanes were closed on the anniversary of BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!!! (I may be missing a couple explamation points)

  56. 56
    dmsilev says:

    @Ash Can: The (Democratic) NJ Senate Majority leader is already talking about criminal charges; wonder just how loyal Christie’s minions are towards their boss…

  57. 57
    Violet says:

    @dmsilev: Yeah and they’ve always got the “rate Obama’s presidency now!” line. But this is a huge story and not a good one for the Republicans telling that they’re avoiding it.

  58. 58
    Marc says:

    I get that people think that Republicans only want to annoy Democrats. But anyone claiming that this helps Cristie is just fooling themselves. This plays into regional stereotypes of New Jersey people as thugs. There are sympathetic victims (children, people in ambulances.) There are white middle class victims. And it is just purely vindictive, and tied with lying and covering things up.

    I thought that they were smart enough not to leave a paper trail, but apparently not. More to the point – I doubt that this is the only thing wrong that they did. A bit of poking may reveal a hell of a lot of bad (and criminal) behavior.

  59. 59
    rk says:

    Well the best (or worst) bit is when someone wrote that he/she feels sorry for the children (as it was the first day of school) the response is that they are children of democrats. This should be a lesson for democrats who go all wobbly and start voting for republicans.

  60. 60
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @The Dangerman: Lots of really upper-echelon Wall Street types live in wealthy northern NJ suburbs and are car-serviced in to work (going over the GWB.)

  61. 61
    Marc says:

    @The Dangerman: Fort Lee is upper-middle class (72K median household income) and largely white (54%) and Asian (38%). This is a major reason why I think it’s so deadly to Christie.

  62. 62
    MattR says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yep. The poor take mass transit. He screwed over the locals in Fort Lee but he also screwed over the white upper middle class, socially liberal but fiscally conservative commuters who are supposed to be his base of support.

  63. 63
    AnotherBruce says:

    Per TPM, the New Jersey Senate Majority leader is talking about possible criminal charges. I think there will be some fine singing in the next couple of months.

  64. 64
    rk says:

    @dmsilev:

    wonder just how loyal Christie’s minions are towards their boss…

    Not at all I’d imagine. People who do such things are not loyal nor decent. I’d expect all of them to start pointing fingers the minute an investigation starts.

  65. 65
    jl says:

    I think Joizeebridgegate will all blow over if Christie is open, honest and transparent about what happened and the nature of his administration. That would include talkin’ like diss, and sayin’ “hey wassamattu you?” when he gets a tough question. And talkin’ like “Hey you supit mook I’m goona rip youse head off if you keep up wit da crap like dat”. And he can’t shrink back from being tough and demanding accountability, so he needs to say stuff like “Hey, do waddisy or der gonna be some payback youse summa abitch!” I think that will help him get past this crisis.

  66. 66
    ira-NY says:

    @rk:

    That is their theory on food stamps, too.

  67. 67
    srv says:

    In other news, ISIS is Breaking Bad:

    FX’s hit show Archer, which follows the travails of an incompetent spy organization, is no longer about a spy organization. Archer Executive Producer Matt Thompson gave an exclusive interview to Uproxx today previewing the coming fifth season, and announced that the ragtag group of spies will be moving out and moving on from their offices. What does the future hold for the gang? “We are now a f*cking drug cartel,” Thompson explained.

  68. 68
    Turgidson says:

    I don’t understand why this will hurt Christie for more than a few weeks.

    He abused his power and was a dick to a Democrat. The base (and the Village) loves that shit. Not to minimize the trouble it caused to the people affected, but the malicious move only created gridlock for a while – that doesn’t seem like a big enough deal to really poison the well with the electorate. His cancellation of the tunnel project is responsible for a shitload more gridlock than that in the bigger picture, but he gets “atta boy!”s for that.

    The fact that he lied about it will hurt him for a while, but the coverup, such as it was, didn’t drag on long enough to leave a permanent scar.

    I could be wrong – an outcome that happens with alarming regularity – but I don’t think anyone will give two shits about this in a few months.

  69. 69
    AnotherBruce says:

    @dmsilev: Gah! Should have checked comments.

  70. 70
    maurinsky says:

    @Jane2:

    I’m just blown away that anyone in government would write this shit down! If you’re going to be involved in ratfucking, it should be done face to face. No documents to obtain through FOI that way.

  71. 71
    Violet says:

    Bridget Anne Kelly has pulled her Linked In page.

  72. 72
    Roger Moore says:

    @Citizen_X:

    The Villagers–serving a purpose for once in their lives–are going to roast him for this.

    Except that The Village is the DC based courtier press, not the NY press. So one of the things you’re likely to see is that the actual Villagers are going to treat this as a nothingburger, but media central will treat it like Watergate.

  73. 73
    Violet says:

    TPM has a useful timeline of events in the bridge scandal.

  74. 74
    rk says:

    @maurinsky:

    Don’t give them any ideas. The only thing which saves us sometimes is their stupidity. Evil and smart will kill us all.

  75. 75
    aimai says:

    @jl: YOu left off grabbing his own crotch and saying “Sumpin’s goin’ down tonight, sweethot, but its not me!”

  76. 76
    aimai says:

    @Roger Moore: No, they’re bored right now and Christie is good copy.

  77. 77
    Mandalay says:

    @Ash Can: That’s a great link. The correspondence appears to show that Bill Baroni, who has already resigned, really was clueless about what was going on when the lanes were closed: “Someone needs to tell me that the recent traffic debacle was not punitive in nature”.

    I doubt that he’ll be doing Christie any favors now, since he seems to have been thrown under the bus.

  78. 78
    chopper says:

    @dmsilev:

    not an issue if gov. krispy promises a pardon.

  79. 79
    WaterGirl says:

    @Violet: I think she’s forming a club with the stupid “i’m going to africa, I hope I don’t get AIDS, it’s okay, I’m white!” PR person whose life changed the instant she got off that plane.

    Couldn’t happen to nicer people.

  80. 80
    TriassicSands says:

    All the “Morning Joe” hand jobs in the world won’t bring Christie’s presidential hopes back to life.

    It’s way too early to write off Christie’s 2016 chances. I have a hard time imagining Christie winning the nomination in a party with so many Tea Party lunatics, but that problem aside, candidates have survived worse scandals than this one.

  81. 81
    utterdregs says:

    “…is you taking notes on a criminal fking conspiracy?????”

  82. 82
    Mandalay says:

    @Turgidson:

    I don’t understand why this will hurt Christie for more than a few weeks.

    If he is shown to have instigated the whole thing he is in very deep doodoo.

  83. 83
    Violet says:

    @Turgidson: You never know what will be the thing that catches public imagination and is the last straw that breaks someone. The tunnel thing could be a bigger deal but slowing down traffic on the bridge just to be vindictive is the kind of juicy, gossipy, mob-like story that has legs.

  84. 84
    Svensker says:

    @shelly:

    He’s still the Darling of the party over at ‘Morning Joe.’ but the wingnuts HATE him. Just try dropping his name over at sites like Free Republic.

    Very true but meaningless, in my experience. My brother, Capt. Wingnut to you, HATED Romney. Hated him. Besides being a RINO, Romney was a Satanist Cult Loving Mormon. However when Romney was the last man standing, suddenly Romney became the man whose every utterance was a Jeebus-approved angel fart AND a dessert topping.

    If Christie manages to be the Republican nominee, Capt. Wingnut will fall in line, even though right now he hates Christie almost as much as he once hated Romney.

  85. 85
    Roger Moore says:

    @Butch:

    how can you reach that level of government and still be stupid enough to put this kind of information in an e-mail?

    By being a crony appointee rather than somebody who’s gotten there by working their way up. These guys are not a bunch of experienced politicians who have been hanging around in the circles of power for long enough to learn how stuff works. They’re a bunch of small-town politicians who have been promoted for personal loyalty.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    Everyone say Goodbye! to Joey Biden. Jay Carney just said twice how much faith the president puts in the advice and counsel of VP Biden.
    It’s over, man! It’s over!

  87. 87
    Culture of Truth says:

    I said here this was a real scandal and got attacked for it. I repeat — there was no traffic study. This was corruption. It’s so inexusable I doubt even The Village will cover for Christie. His best bet is to say his aides acted without his knowledge, condemn them, and throw them overboard. So far he’s handled to it badly so I wonder if he has the intelligence / guts / acting chops to pull that off.

  88. 88
    Svensker says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Ft. Lee is Jewish and Asian and solidly middle class.

  89. 89
    elmo says:

    @Ash Can:

    The USS Christie 2016 has smacked into the GWB, torn off a huge chunk of its hull, and is sinking rapidly.

    Oh God, am I the last person to notice that the initials of the bridge are the same as the last failed Republican president? Is this George Bush’s Revenge?

  90. 90

    Chris Christie is toast.

    There was some serious schadenfreude at the end of the email chains and this is gonna bite them all on the ass.

  91. 91
    jl says:

    @Corner Stone: So, after Obama fires Biden, he’s gonna fire Boehner and the House, who also got a lot of crap from Gates? Waddya sayin’? Obama’s god da balls a dat goon Christie? I’ll buhleeeeve dat when I sees it.

  92. 92
    Ash Can says:

    @Turgidson:

    I don’t think anyone will give two shits about this in a few months.

    Not if the NJ state leg can help it. As others have pointed out above, the State Senate Majority Leader is already talking about possible criminal charges. Any investigation the leg carries out could yield embarrassments for Christie over an extended period and keep people focused for the duration.

  93. 93
    MattR says:

    @Mandalay: There was an article a couple weeks ago highlighting the lawyers that Baroni and Wildstein hired. I can’t remember which, but one of them hired a guy who is known for getting his clients good deals in exchange for cooperation with prosecutors.

  94. 94
    Mandalay says:

    @Violet:

    The tunnel thing could be a bigger deal but slowing down traffic on the bridge just to be vindictive is the kind of juicy, gossipy, mob-like story that has legs.

    Right. The tunnel thing was simply a policy decision – you either agree with it or disagree with it.

    The bridge thing may seem minor in comparison, but it reveals Christie’s character, and not in a good way.

  95. 95
    jl says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    ” So far he’s handled to it badly so I wonder if he has the intelligence / guts / acting chops to pull that off. ”

    Or that bully is personally hands-on involved in and up to it to his eyeballs and he doesn’t know what to do next. I’m not asserting that, but that is becoming more likely as we watch him floundering around.

  96. 96
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Mandalay: His complicity may be hard to prove (I don’t think it will) but I’m really doubting that he can explain how high level staffers were doing this without his knowledge. Anyway, going to be fun to watch for awhile!

  97. 97
    Randy P says:

    @Roger Moore: This is what they get for pretending the Cheney/Bush administration never happened. They forget how Cheney showed us all you have to do is carry on all your incriminating correspondence on personal e-mail, then scrub the backup disks, shrug, say “oops” and carry on as if nothing happened.

    They should be studying that guy if they want evil-emperor lessons.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    Why does Chuck Todd get worse every time I see him in a WH Presser?

  99. 99
    GregB says:

    @Southern Beale:

    These wingnuts sure do love using the power of big government in their petty pay back schemes.

    Helping people, not so much.

  100. 100
    scav says:

    mean polling and statistics at it again? Posted Jan 5, 2014 at C&L
    Cokie Roberts:

    And the liberalism, you know, we never see a poll that shows more than about 20 percent of Americans identifying themselves as liberals. –

    Today per Gallup & TPM:

    In Gallup’s poll from Oct. 3 to 6, the first after the government shut down, 20 percent of Americans said they were Republicans, the lowest figure from any individual poll in the last decade.

    The average for 2013 was 25%, within spitting range of the base. (NB: yes, leans and actual voting probably unchanged. Cokie Cutie was also ignoring reality and floating blissfully in the vapor of pure branding nomenclature and ignoring who won the actual election, so giggles still valid to my mind.)

  101. 101
    Capri says:

    @The Dangerman: Speaking from blood red, relatively traffic free Indiana – NOBODY likes traffic jams, and to create some out of spite is so mean that nobody can mistake it. This is not an issue that is only going to resonate in urban centers.

  102. 102
    mikej says:

    @chopper: A pardon means underlings can’t use the 5th. He won’t pardon them because then they have to talk.

  103. 103
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @chopper:

    having crossed that bridge in shit traffic too many times to count, i can’t once remember thinking it was the fault of the mayor of fort lee.

    That was my initial thought when I first heard of this, but it wasn’t really bridge traffic that was blocked. It was entrance ramps (which were referred to as “access lanes”). So there was a lot of traffic backed up within Fort Lee itself.

    No one in their right mind would blame a mayor for backed up traffic on I-95.

  104. 104
    gelfling545 says:

    If Christie doesn’t get the nomination it will be for reasons other that the bridge thing. What did he or his minions do other than mess with a bunch of Democrats? Isn’t that what the GOP lives for? If he should get the nomination, however, I believe it could keep him from getting votes that might otherwise have gone to a Republican candidate. I think it will strike people in the midwest & western states as far too much stereotypical, rude, sleazy, east coast politics and “not like us” and while many might approve the result, they will deplore the lack of subtlety, i.e. getting caught at it.

  105. 105
    catclub says:

    @Corner Stone: “Why does Chuck Todd get worse every time I see him in a WH Presser? ”

    Because you watch White House pressers. SATSQ

  106. 106
    Turgidson says:

    @Mandalay:

    Why, though? The only way I see it lasting is if the NY media latches onto it and doesn’t let go. I suppose, given Christie’s preposterously good media coverage to date, the NY media could decide it’s time to chop him down to size, sort of like how the media gave Obama glwoing coverage early in his career and into the 2008 campaign, and has spent most of the last six years trying to bring him down. But that would take an attention span I’m not sure the media has in it anymore.

    But on its face, this seems like small potatoes. People already know Christie is a dick, and a Republican. They excuse, or minimize, this kind of behavior from dickish Republicans all the time. And as noted above, this kind of behavior is applauded in some of the circles he needs to impress if he wants to run in the 2016 GOP primary.

    We’ll see. I hope Christie’s fortunes are damaged permanently by this because he’s the only prominent Republican I can see winning in 2016 if economic and foreign policy conditions are relatively stable. I just don’t think many people are going to care about this for long.

  107. 107
    Corner Stone says:

    @jl: Obama will be forced to fire Biden so he can “spend more time with his family” and then will have no recourse but to pre-pardon Christie and install him as VP.
    It’s really the only sensible thing, other than having Palin take the VP spot as she was the first runner-up that one time.

  108. 108
    piratedan says:

    @Violet: the wagons, they have begun to be circled

  109. 109
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Can we get a couple of new Christie Traffic threads.

  110. 110
    Corner Stone says:

    @catclub: That sounds like a “blaming the victim” kind of statement to me.
    Do you mean I was asking for it? Shouldna been watching that channel naked? It’s somehow MY fault??

  111. 111
    Mandalay says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    His complicity may be hard to prove (I don’t think it will) but I’m really doubting that he can explain how high level staffers were doing this without his knowledge.

    I will be astounded if Christie was dumb enough to emulate his underlings and leave an electronic trail. But if his underlings can help themselves by implicating Christie then they will end up fighting each other over who can go first.

  112. 112
    Turgidson says:

    @Ash Can:

    Good point. I can’t say I have utter confidence in Democrats to run with this the way the Wurlitzer and GOP assholes like Issa and his wannabes would if a Democrat was caught doing this. But if they do follow through, then I can see Christie taking real damage, from this and perhaps more importantly from the investigation inevitably unearthing other Christie abuses and misdeeds that are probably not particularly well-hidden and maybe even known by some Democrats already.

  113. 113
    WaterGirl says:

    @AnotherBruce: I think he’s screwed either way. Either he was involved – and “that’s the only day the governor can make the meeting” certainly makes it look like he was – OR he gave his people a hell of a lot of authority to do major things without clearing it with him, in which case he showed terrible judgment and is responsible anyway.

  114. 114
    Cacti says:

    @gelfling545:

    If he should get the nomination, however, I believe it could keep him from getting votes that might otherwise have gone to a Republican candidate. I think it will strike people in the midwest & western states as far too much stereotypical, rude, sleazy, east coast politics and “not like us”

    This.

    If Christie gets the nom, it will be very easy to paint him as “not the kind of guy whose finger you want on the nuclear button” with the fence sitters.

  115. 115
    Roger Moore says:

    @chopper:

    not an issue if gov. krispy promises a pardon.

    I don’t think a promise of a pardon does a whole lot. All it can buy is his cronies’ silence during the trial; it won’t do squat about the paper trail. Meanwhile, handing out pardons to his cronies immediately after they’ve gone to prison will look corrupt as hell and basically kill his chances of any further political office.

  116. 116
    Mandalay says:

    @Randy P:

    They forget how Cheney showed us all you have to do is carry on all your incriminating correspondence on personal e-mail, then scrub the backup disks, shrug, say “oops” and carry on as if nothing happened.

    I had read that Cheney NEVER sent emails when he was VP.

  117. 117
    catclub says:

    @TriassicSands: On the other hand, this is the ideal scandal to take down Christie, as somebody noted as Washington Monthly. The best scandals are the ones that reinforce a negative impression. In this case, that Christie is a bully.

    I also agree that it is unlikely to harm him with the GOP.

  118. 118
    rk says:

    I just don’t think many people are going to care about this for long.

    If an investigation starts, other things may come out which damage him further. If Christie and his pals are this crazy vindictive then this is probably the tip of the iceberg. I hope the democrats are smart enough to come down hard on this moron. If the situation were reversed the republicans would investigate it till kingdom come.

  119. 119
  120. 120
    EconWatcher says:

    The casualness of those email communications planning the traffic jam suggests there was a criminal culture among Christie’s top staff. I’ll bet there’s a lot more misconduct to find.

    Some kinds of bad acts are one-offs, driven by a particular situation. Others flow naturally from a mindset and way of doing business. This sure sounds like the second type.

  121. 121
    Svensker says:

    This might be hard to get past mid-Western voters. Search delayed for missing 4 year old?.

  122. 122
    bago says:

    Oh please. The mercurial tumblings throughout the cranium communal should hardly affect the judgement local. Its why they are called dummy rounds.

    //That was some serious snark and should come loaded with an apology.

  123. 123
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Mandalay: His underlings are the reason I think he will be implicated.

    I could be wrong of course, but I don’t see how he survives as governor. If he does he’s still damaged goods. I’m amused how some of the comments here don’t see this as a big deal. Shutting down traffic for political revenge is a big deal. As others have pointed out, first responders might have been delayed or shut down, kids were late for school and adults late for work, and this went on for two days. If he can do this, what else might Christie and his minions dream up for political revenge? That is the question that will do him in.

  124. 124
    beltane says:

    @gelfling545: The thing is, Christie didn’t really mess with Democrats. He held thousands of civilians of all political persuasions temporarily captive on a bridge in order to “get back” at one Democrat who was not personally affected by this sabotage. Granted, this NY metro equivalent of invading Iraq in order to get back at Osama bin Laden may go over well with a certain subset of the Republican base, but it will also make him vulnerable to GOP opponents seeking to paint Christie in colors that are too swarthy and “ethnic” for the average Republican primary voter.

  125. 125
    bago says:

    As in, a reference like that should always leave you grieving.

  126. 126
    Roger Moore says:

    @gelfling545:

    If Christie doesn’t get the nomination it will be for reasons other that the bridge thing

    The bridge thing might not prevent him from winning the nomination, but it might keep him from running in the first place if he’s sufficiently damaged by it.

  127. 127
    Mandalay says:

    @Turgidson:

    The only way I see it lasting is if the NY media latches onto it and doesn’t let go.

    Well I guess you may be right, but even the NY media won’t be able to keep it going if nobody else does.

    IANAL, but if he faces legal problems (which can drag on forever) then I don’t see how he can have presidential ambitions at the same time.

  128. 128
    MCA1 says:

    @TriassicSands: They have, but mostly those politicians are in strong positions and popular when said scandals arise. Christie is a guy with a number of pre-baked disadvantages as a national politician, and this is icing on top of the cake. Primary rivals would knock him over the head with it for months, and then the Democrats would get their turn to paint him as a spiteful dick if that didn’t work. It’s not a garden variety extramarital affair skeleton in the closet, where a tearful and apologetic press conference can tamp down the flames. It’s more like a constant reminder that he’s exactly who people fear he is, and thus unfit for high office.

  129. 129
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Chris Christie and Rob Ford: worst buddy movie ever, or BEST buddy movie ever?

  130. 130
    Roger Moore says:

    @Turgidson:

    I can’t say I have utter confidence in Democrats to run with this the way the Wurlitzer and GOP assholes like Issa and his wannabes would if a Democrat was caught doing this.

    Nationally, maybe, but I have no doubt that the Democrats in NJ are going to work it for all they’re worth.

  131. 131
    Violet says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Why does Chuck Todd get worse every time I see him in a WH Presser?

    Because he’ll never get better.

  132. 132
    Poopyman says:

    @Corner Stone: He’s getting comfortable in his role. VDE has a tumbrel reserved, I believe.

  133. 133
    Violet says:

    @MCA1:

    They have, but mostly those politicians are in strong positions and popular when said scandals arise. Christie is a guy with a number of pre-baked disadvantages as a national politician, and this is icing on top of the cake.

    And you have to wonder what Romney found that took Christie out of the running for the VP spot. There’s something there.

  134. 134
    AnotherBruce says:

    @beltane: Christie won the majority of the votes from Fort Lee from the recent election.

  135. 135
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mandalay: Everyone said that Mitt Romney’s refusal to release more than the one year’s worth of (amended) tax returns would doom him. By the time November came around it was a complete non-story, and that was only within months. Expecting this story to have legs two years from now is beyond wishful thinking, and expecting that Christie will be forced to resign as governor is hallucinations of the highest order.

  136. 136
  137. 137
    jl says:

    I think whether “Joizeebridgegate, hey, not dat bigga deal” causes big problems for Christie depends upon the facts, and the facts that matter are the extent to which Christie was involved in it.

    If this drags on with more ambiguous evidence that Christie ordered it, or wanted some kind of payback and this is what his staff came up with, or he tolerated it as payback, and lots unresolved murk surrounding how it came down, I think it will be problem. May not be a continuous scandal that ruins him, but it will pop up again at opportune times.

    And if this is the tip of an iceberg, or of a blowhard bully, it will be part of the case against him with the general public. But, might help him in some of the primaries, with the GOP base.

    Edit: If you see Christie threaten to jump into the press and smack some reporter in the face for a question, I guess that will a sign the scandal is helping him with the base.

  138. 138
    dmsilev says:

    Commissar Erikovich has declared Christie unfit by reason of poor character:

    Frankly, this is routine hardball politics that Republicans and Democrats alike engage in at the local level. Heck, the former mayor of Philadelphia once stopped paving sidewalks in front of people’s houses if they did not support him. In other areas, trash collection mysteriously stops. As a formerly elected municipal official, I can tell you first hand that local politics is far dirtier than national politics. This is just a taste of it.

    The only difference is that Christie’s staff put it in emails, which was not smart.

    But there’s more here and it is going to be the problem that haunts Chris Christie. I’m ambivalent on his run for the Presidency. But I don’t see him getting that far for the very reasons underlying this issue — he and his staff operate as divas.
    […]
    One congressman told me he wanted to talk to Christie about a matter and the staff would not put him through and would not even give him the Chief of Staff to talk to.

    A Governor told me that Christie’s staff treats incumbent governors as if they are low level staffers there to serve as Chris Christie’s advance team.

    A Chief of Staff of a Governor once told me that Christie’s staff began lecturing the Chief of Staff’s Governor about the set up of an event and what that Governor needed to say. Both the Chief of Staff and Governor were rather hacked off by the arrogant tone.

    Another senior staffer told me that after dealing with Christie for an event, they decided they’d rather focus on drawing celebrities for instate functions because the riders and demands of celebrities tend to be much easier to deal with.

  139. 139
    Mike in NC says:

    This whole story reminds me of a hot August day sitting gridlocked for hours on the Cross Bronx Expressway. With a low gas tank. Good times.

  140. 140
    Cacti says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    As others have pointed out, first responders might have been delayed or shut down, kids were late for school and adults late for work, and this went on for two days.

    His aides almost sounded like a pair of cartoon characters. I also wonder who the redacted name belongs to:

    Redacted Name: “Is it wrong that I’m smiling?”

    Wildenstein: “No.”

    Redacted Name: “I feel badly about the kids, I guess.”

    Wildenstein: “They are the children of Buono voters.”

    Most people are not okay with political hatchet jobs on innocent young kids. Other than the most hard-bitten partisans, most people find that sort of thing repellant.

  141. 141
    Ash Can says:

    Commenter lawhawk @ LGF just posted a tweet from political blogger Matt Katz that reads, “Key figure in #bridgegate David Wildstein moves to quash subpoena compelling him to testify tomorrow, says Legislature doesn’t have power.” Other commenters subsequently say oh yes it does, and cite the relevant passages in NJ state law that, whaddya know, give the leg the power to issue subpoenas.

    So it looks like an investigation is going to happen, and that Christie’s aides (and former aides) are not happy about it. Heh.

  142. 142
    jl says:

    @dmsilev: I like euphemism “whipping boy” at the end of the piece.

  143. 143
    GregB says:

    @Svensker:

    He was probably the child of a Democrat so it is OK.

  144. 144
    hoodie says:

    @AnotherBruce: I can’t say I’m an expert on the area, but it seems this would have legs. It should be a particularly big deal in a region where commuting is a big deal. Maybe the initial impulse was to fuck up local traffic in Fort Lee, but the idiots blocked a major artery into NYC. Perhaps Christie’s moron in the Port Authority failed to realize that his execution of the Boss’s edict wasn’t exactly what was desired. I bet the majority of the traffic on that bridge is not even from Fort Lee. This should attract NY media like flies, with weeks of hounding Christie about what he knew. Unbelievably corrupt and stupid.

  145. 145
    Cacti says:

    @Ash Can:

    So it looks like an investigation is going to happen, and that Christie’s aides (and former aides) are not happy about it. Heh.

    Personally, I’d love to see Wildenstein refuse, and have him marched into the legislative chamber in handcuffs by the Sergeant at Arms.

    Would make a fine campaign commercial for 2016.

  146. 146
    aimai says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Sure, thats true. But Romney couldn’t even carry his own state when he ran for President, and its always a bad sign when a guy running on his record as Governor leaves town more hated than loved. Romney, of course, was running against MA and the blue states but I think that Christie is really going to have a hard time riling up his own state and its voters against him (because this is not going to go away within new jersey politics) and also running against New Jersey and the East Coast to try to get a primary win. I mean: given the primary voters in Republican circles he has to disavow everything east coast and elitist and all like that. But in the general he will have to run as a “uniter not a divider” and “can work across the aisle.” If he’s lost all bipartisan credit in New Jersey its hard to make that argument.

  147. 147
    geg6 says:

    @Mandalay:

    So, apparently Weigel is angling to be the new Mark Halperin?

    I think Josh Marshall, who has been covering this like a rug for weeks now, has a pretty good handle on it. It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup. Christie has lied repeatedly and publicly about this numerous times. The sharks in the Dem legislature are circling and talking about criminal charges and investigations.

  148. 148
    Violet says:

    @dmsilev: You left off the last paragraph from Erikkkkk:

    This was always going to be Christie’s problem. People want a winner. And they want an a**hole. But they want the person to be their a**hole, not an a**hole who tries to make everyone else his whipping boy.

    That’s so telling about the Republican mindset. “People want an a***hole”. No, Erik, they don’t. You and your fellow Republican bullies might. Normal people want competent leaders that represent them well and make their city or state or national government work effectively.

  149. 149
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Jay in Oregon: Both, of course.

  150. 150
    rikyrah says:

    it’s always the little things that can trip you up

  151. 151
    ruemara says:

    @dmsilev: Speaking of a local level political observer, yes, it’s uglier because it’s more personal and geeez, it’s like the Jersey Whale and hi staffers have no idea what it means to work in politics.

  152. 152
    geg6 says:

    @Turgidson:

    Do you honestly believe:

    1) That this is the one and only instance like this and no more are likely to come out?

    2) That the Democratic legislature in New Jersey are likely to let this just go away?

    If so, you are very, very, very naive.

  153. 153
    dmsilev says:

    @Violet: And of course ‘asshole’ (*) isn’t the complete description for Christie; ‘bully’ is. Hence his running and hiding today after the news broke.

    (*) Spell the word out, Erickovich. Anyone who is going to get a case of the vapors over the use of ‘asshole’ isn’t going to care that you spelled it ‘a**hole’ instead. It just make you look even more priggish than usual.

  154. 154
    👾 Martin says:

    Somebody needs to tell the Christie/GWB story using nothing but Springsteen songs and lyrics.

  155. 155
    LanceThruster says:

    All the “Morning Joe” hand jobs in the world won’t bring Christie’s presidential hopes back to life.

    Even when Morning Schmoe talks about how he used to play in a band? Ya’ know, the kids these days are really into the music scene.

  156. 156
    LanceThruster says:

    All the “Morning Joe” hand jobs in the world won’t bring Christie’s presidential hopes back to life.

    Even when Morning Schmoe talks about how he used to play in a band? Ya’ know, the kids these days are really into the music scene.

  157. 157
    LanceThruster says:

    All the “Morning Joe” hand jobs in the world won’t bring Christie’s presidential hopes back to life.

    Even when Morning Schmoe talks about how he used to play in a band? Ya’ know, the kids these days are really into the music scene.

  158. 158
    J R in WV says:

    Here again we have a top level manager, a detail kind of guy, whose staff would never in a million years do something like this wihtout specific orders to make it happen.

    To me, there doesn’t need to be much hard copy evidence, just the facts of “he was in charge” and “she did it his way” are all there needs to be. The top guy is always responsible when things go pear shaped.

    I know there is a regrettable tendency for people to shake their heads and say there is no way Christie was on top of this specific conspiracy, to cut the big guy some slack. But I say even if he didn’t know in advance about the whole plot, he is still at fault and completely involved.

    Who hired these clowns? Christie did, that’s who.

    Who created the ethical climate that enabled this conspiracy? Christie did.

    How unusual is this kind of self-defeating action in normal politics? Never happens in a professional environment! Never!

    How common is it in Christie’s political career? Every day.

    The man in charge gets the credit for accomplishments, and the same credit for f’ing it up clustered!

    I rest my case!

  159. 159
    Cervantes says:

    @👾 Martin: You’re cruel.

  160. 160
    Tone In DC says:

    @elmo:

    For 22 dollars a day, I’ll try to find an alternative route or routes. Say, take the GW Parkway, maybe 28, or 286. Even Sunset Hills Road or Sunrise Valley Drive. Something.

    Regarding Governor Rants-a-Lot… it’s his mess, let him lie in it. Like the porcine being he is.

  161. 161
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    I’ve always said that Christie wasn’t going to get the nomination because the Teabaggers don’t trust him. But this act of bullying and assholery may be what it takes to get on their good side. They love them some bitch-slapping, so long as it’s directed at a Democrat. Look mildly askance at one of their darlings, however, and listen to them scream like murdered bunnies about “Chicago style thugs.”

  162. 162
    Ash Can says:

    @dmsilev:

    (*) Spell the word out, Erickovich.

    Actually, I believe the proper abbreviation of “asshole” is ( )*( ).

  163. 163
    geg6 says:

    @Svensker:

    Whoa. That’s exactly the kind of thing that will get the soccer moms pissed off. Not that I think he had a chance in hell of getting many soccer moms anyway, but not good optics.

  164. 164
    Lee says:

    OT (but Cole bait)

    From this article

    West Virginia was the only inexpensive place to live among the top five states that saw more people moving out.

  165. 165
    srv says:

    I think Christie will have to go on TV, but as long as he cries, it will probably be OK.

  166. 166
    Chyron HR says:

    @LanceThruster:

    Even when Morning Schmoe talks about how he used to play in a band?

    Emerson, Lake and Walrus?

  167. 167
    geg6 says:

    @Jay in Oregon:

    FTW. Where can I send your internets, sir?

  168. 168
    geg6 says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    I’ll bet he wouldn’t if the election was held today.

  169. 169
    Tone In DC says:

    @jl:

    That would include talkin’ like diss, and sayin’ “hey wassamattu you?” when he gets a tough question. And talkin’ like “Hey you supit mook I’m goona rip youse head off if you keep up wit da crap like dat”. And he can’t shrink back from being tough and demanding accountability, so he needs to say stuff like “Hey, do waddisy or der gonna be some payback youse summa abitch!” I think that will help him get past this crisis.

    Christie WISHES he’d been in GoodFellas. Yea, verily.
    As for the investigation, I hope that Jersey politicians have more of a moral compass (and backbone) than the national ones around here.

  170. 170
    Violet says:

    So I clicked on Google News. The Christie story is not only the first story, it’s got an expanded section in a box under the usual set of headlines on a story. That only happens when the story is deemed a Big Deal. The Bob Gates story has vanished.

  171. 171

    Freeperlogic:

    Christie attended more than 100 Bruce Springstein concerts. Does this “man” belong in any position or power, responsibility or leadership?

  172. 172
    Gordon, the Big Express Engine says:

    @Gin & Tonic: no, we take the tunnels into get downtown.

  173. 173
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @hoodie:

    Maybe the initial impulse was to fuck up local traffic in Fort Lee, but the idiots blocked a major artery into NYC.

    No, they didn’t. This seems to be a popular misconception but no one blocked traffic on the bridge itself. They closed down lanes on the entrance ramp from Ft. Lee to the bridge. Plenty bad, but localized.

  174. 174
    Roger Moore says:

    @geg6:

    It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.

    In this case, I think it’s both. To put it another way, Christie wouldn’t be fighting like hell to keep his name off this thing if he didn’t think it would be politically damaging to be associated with it. He may wind up hurting himself more with the coverup by keeping it up, but he would have come clean pretty quickly if he thought it was something that would blow over quickly. The coverup is proof that Christie thinks the underlying crime is serious.

  175. 175
    beltane says:

    @Tone In DC: It’s New Jersey so I wouldn’t expect to see much in the way of a moral compass. However, the lack of a moral compass won’t impede them from circling around Christie like sharks around a wounded whale.

  176. 176
    Ash Can says:

    @J R in WV: Christie could minimize the damage to himself by throwing each and every one of these little snotfaces under the bus and loudly proclaiming his intention to cooperate fully with the investigation, and insisting that not only was he unaware of what they were doing but that they had never given him any indication that they were capable of such mischief, that they were all people of character for as long as he had known them, and that he’s shocked, shocked, etc. However, this would work only if his claims of innocence and ignorance were actually to hold up under the scrutiny of an investigation, and I wouldn’t want to bet anything of any value on that.

  177. 177
    JPL says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Christi had a medical emergency. Since he has asthma and a weight problem, the added stress can’t be good. Plus he needs the sympathy vote.

  178. 178
    AnotherBruce says:

    @geg6: No doubt. I wonder how many from Fort Lee are thinking. “I voted for this guy and he fucked with my life.”

  179. 179
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ash Can:

    Actually, I believe the proper abbreviation of “asshole” is ( )*( ).

    And I thought it was (R).

  180. 180
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jay in Oregon: Too bad Chris Farley is no longer with us.

  181. 181
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: What do you mean? He pulled an Eddie Wilson, disappeared himself and returned as the Mayor of Toronto.

  182. 182
    smintheus says:

    @geg6: Marshall is tone deaf. People can understand the coverup, it makes sense to distance yourself from a scandal. They can’t understand the crime, which is petty and pointless and vindictive almost beyond belief.

  183. 183
    The Red Pen -- PEN DAMMIT! says:

    @ranchandsyrup: You edited out the “money quote” part of the Freeper logic!

    Christie cried when Springstein called him a year or so ago.

    Unforgivable!

  184. 184
    brantl says:

    Christie, professional dick, and professional dick magnet

  185. 185
  186. 186
    scav says:

    In below the headline news, Navy helicopters associated with Norfolks have clearly pissed off some vengeful deity with a message. UK Norfolk and US Norfolk.

  187. 187
    feebog says:

    Don’t know if this is going to have legs or not, but the investigation is just starting. The Legislature will work it’s way up the food chain. There are going to be more stories and more email revelations. Ms Kelly is going to be subpoenaed and if the Gov. decides to throw her under the bus, all bets are off. Right now, just sitting back, enjoying the popcorn, and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  188. 188
    Roger Moore says:

    @smintheus:

    People can understand the coverup, it makes sense to distance yourself from a scandal. They can’t understand the crime, which is petty and pointless and vindictive almost beyond belief.

    The question isn’t whether they understand the reasons for a coverup; it’s how they treat the coverup politically. The idea is that people might treat the bridge scandal as a petty politician playing petty political games, but they treat a coverup as both proof of guilt and an acknowledgement that the underlying crime is something so terrible it can’t be laughed off.

    If you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, you may be able to brazen it out by claiming you had every right to have a cookie. But when you deny having your hand in the cookie jar, say your haven’t had any cookies, etc. you’re accepting the basic premise that taking a cookie was wrong, and you can’t back out and claim to have every right to have eaten a cookie when confronted with missing cookies, cookie crumbs on your face and hands, and lack of appetite at dinner.

  189. 189
    Heliopause says:

    Christie might still have a bit of plausible deniability at this point, but leaving that aside; wouldn’t this tend to boost his credibility with the crazier elements of the primary electorate?

  190. 190
    smintheus says:

    @Roger Moore: The coverup helps to nail him, no doubt, but bullying voters just for fun is criminal and the mark of a sicko. The fact they knew and laughed that ambulances, firetrucks, and school buses were caught in the snarl they created is devastating, far more than any cheesy run of the mill coverup.

  191. 191
    ericblair says:

    @beltane:

    It’s New Jersey so I wouldn’t expect to see much in the way of a moral compass. However, the lack of a moral compass won’t impede them from circling around Christie like sharks around a wounded whale.

    From what Erick ibn O’McErickson scribbled, I think it’ll be more of a problem that Christie treated other important goopers like hired help, so the knives are out. “Moral”, like “family” or “freedom”, is just bullshit branding for the rubes.

  192. 192
    Mike in NC says:

    @scav: Naval aviators often joke that helicopters consist of thousands of parts flying in close formation.

  193. 193
  194. 194
    scav says:

    @Mike in NC: I can see why. My father also witnessed a cement truck crash that was similar in concept, only much much slower.

  195. 195
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Heliopause: I keep reading this argument, maybe it will boost his standing with the crazies. But to me the crazies were never the problem. Christie is the governor of a very blue state. It’s the moderates and liberals that are going to stop supporting him. There is way too big of a contingent of otherwise democratic voters who fall in love with the tough but honest man-of-integrity conservatives. (See also: John McCain). Well, that image is pretty much shot now. So nationally speaking he’s been crippled.

  196. 196
    Patrick says:

    @scav:

    Cokie Cutie was also ignoring reality and floating blissfully in the vapor of pure branding nomenclature and ignoring who won the actual election, so giggles still valid to my mind.)

    I stopped paying attention to Cokie Roberts when she criticized Obama for taking vacation in Hawaii. The same fricking Hawaii where his aging grandmother lived. When people like Roberts are that out of touch, they don’t deserve my attention.

  197. 197
    Mandalay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    expecting that Christie will be forced to resign as governor is hallucinations of the highest order.

    Nobody is “expecting” that – nice strawman you built there.

    But thinking that there will be no further information revealed on this story is “hallucinations of the highest order”. Christie may or may not survive as governor, but asserting at this stage that this story cannot possibly bring him down is delusional.

  198. 198
    hoodie says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Thanks for the clarification, but there’s this from the Dec. 9 NYT piece:

    About 70,000 cars from all over northern New Jersey travel along the three access lanes each day, and on the first day of what would be four days of the shutdown, cars stalled the streets of Fort Lee. Cedric Fulton, the director of tunnels and bridges at the Port Authority, testified on Monday that he had repeatedly told Mr. Wildstein that it would cause a traffic disaster. “My exact words were, ‘This will not end well,’ ” he said.

    So blocking the bridge would be insanely stupid, but this is not much smarter. The internets tell me that Fort Lee has a population of 35k, so a lot of those 70k cars are from outside Fort Lee. I also imagine a lot of burbs depend on such freeway access, so folks in the region would view this more negatively than, say, blocking a less significant surface street within Fort Lee. A smarter operator would have done something only the mayor (and perhaps fellow mayors) would view as retaliation, but would not be viewed as a fucking with an entire community. Maybe it’s Christie’s general assholishness, or maybe overkill by his stupid flunkies. Either way, the guy has no business being president if he and his team are that corrupt and incompetent.

  199. 199
    Mandalay says:

    @Patrick:

    I stopped paying attention to Cokie Roberts when she criticized Obama for taking vacation in Hawaii.

    I stopped in 1997, after she and her husband wrote a column titled “Internet Could Become a Threat To Representative Government“.

    Forget George Will, Mark Halperin, Mike Allen et al. Nobody personifies the vile shitfilth who infest Washington better than Roberts.

  200. 200
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    What you’re overlooking is that while the immediate story may fade, the impression of the candidate does not.

    Rmoney lost the election due to the steady drip, drip, drip of miscues and hubris.

    This will not help Christie at all. It will only hurt him as his image as a cowardly bully is reinforced.

  201. 201
    Heliopause says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    One more trip down memory lane into ancient history:
    1. Mitt Romney is a titanic asshole.
    2. Everybody but the filthy rich hate him. Even his dog hates him.
    3. He was recorded telling half the country, paraphrasing, to go fuck themselves.
    4. He was recorded saying, paraphrasing, that Goldman Sachs are the nice family next door.
    5. One of his handlers was recorded saying, paraphrasing, that everything they were saying in the primary was bullshit and that for the general they would shift to a different grade of bullshit.
    6. He was closely tied to a policy very similar to another policy, Obamacare, which the right liken to slavery and the Munich Agreement.

    This individual still was nominated by the GOP and got 47% of the vote for President.

    I know these events were a long, long time ago but fact is that politicians wriggle out of stuff like this all the time.

  202. 202
    danielx says:

    @elspi:

    This.

    Republican/wingnut voters (a distinction without a difference) like vindictive assholes, and the more vindictive and assholish the candidate the better they like it.

    Mostly particularly the wingnuts who predominate Republican primaries, as anyone who watched the freak shows known as the Republican candidate debates of 2012 could tell you. The meaner the various candidates’ comments and ideas, the louder the audience cheered. George W. Bush was well known as a vindictive mean little asshole; they thought he was the second coming of twinkly old Ronald Reagan. Provided they go along with wingnut hot button issues (you’re outta here, Rubio), it doesn’t matter how vindictive and mean they are. To strike out at random – Sarah Palin, equally well known as vindictive and mean, not to mention stupid, could fart into a microphone and her fans would call it Churchillian rhetoric.

    But this does seem way over the line even for New Jersey. I ordinarily think of political retaliation as a program not getting funded, or someone being fired from (or not getting) a politically-influenced job. To deliberately fuck with a whole community, some of whose residents undoubtedly voted for Christie for governor, because the Democratic mayor didn’t endorse Christie for re-election? If somebody had died because of those lanes being closed, would these Christie-ites have considered that to be good clean political fun too? The mayor’s a Democrat, for chrissakes, they’re not noted for endorsing Republicans, amirite? Bipartisanship only extends so far even in, or maybe especially in, New Jersey. Given what Jersey politics are like, endorsing Christie might not have been the very smartest thing Sokolich could have done for his own political career; enlightened self-interest being something near and dear to every pol’s heart.

  203. 203
    elmo says:

    @Tone In DC:
    Sadly, I am stuck taking the Beltway at least part of the way, because I live in Maryland and work in Virginia. The Wilson Bridge is the only way across the river if I don’t want to go all the way into DC – and I really, really don’t.

    If I’m going to be on the Beltway, I AM GOING to take the express lanes, because I don’t want my existing 1.25 hour commute to turn into three hours.

  204. 204
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mandalay: Nobody is “expecting” that – nice strawman you built there.

    Somebody hijacked your account, then, and wrote at #45 above If Christie is shown to have been involved in the shenanigans, however indirectly, then he is gone as governor.

    Take this to the bank. Chris Christie is governor of NJ for as long as he wants.

  205. 205
    MattR says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    No, they didn’t. This seems to be a popular misconception but no one blocked traffic on the bridge itself. They closed down lanes on the entrance ramp from Ft. Lee to the bridge. Plenty bad, but localized.

    They did not block traffic on the bridge itself, but the toll lanes that they blocked do qualify as one of the major arteries into NYC. I am admittedly guessing, but I would say that roughly one third of all the GWB traffic goes through that Ft Lee entrance (and that may be a low estimate)

  206. 206
    scav says:

    @Mandalay: Even usually ignored worthless spewers of whatever getting kicked within days by a well-placed stat tend to amuse me but I’ve a low bar for amusement some days. Didn’t even remember which of the ignored choir had sung the quote (tried Noonan first) when the Gallup poll results pinged an errant headline neuron.

  207. 207
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Heliopause:

    Given that Rmoney lost the election, I don’t think his wiggling skills are all that honed.

    This scandal might help Christie overcome his serious problems with the wingtards (being photographed with the near sheriff, insufficient raw hatred of the Muslim, etc) but in the general, he stands no chance now. Mind you, that will NOT be an impediment to him taking the GOP nomination. Oh, he can be nominated, but like Rmoney, he’ll have to pray the unskewed polls reflect the actual vote…and we all know just how well that went for Rmoney.

  208. 208
    geg6 says:

    @Roger Moore:

    This. Exactly. Josh is right and so are you.

  209. 209
    MCA1 says:

    @Heliopause: All of that is true, but you drop in the 47% of the votes thing like that’s enough to win a general election for President of The United States. Romney lost, and he lost by 126 electoral votes. I don’t think anyone’s claiming that Chris Christie, wearing this scandal on his sleeve all the way to a Republican nomination, would get trounced by 20% or fail to win South Carolina. We’re just saying it makes it well-nigh impossible for him to appeal to the dwindling demographic pool of gettable Democratic votes from 2008/2012 if his primary characteristics in the public consciousness are fat, bullying, vindictive thug.

  210. 210
    MattR says:

    @MattR: @hoodie: According to the Port Authority, there were 49,110,921 vehicles crossing the GWB into Manhattan for all of 2012. That averages to about 135K a day (or a bit under 190K if you divide by 260 work days in a year). Either way if 70K cars use the Ft Lee access lanes, that is between 35% and 52% of all bridge traffic.

  211. 211
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Mandalay: I think you’re being to kind to Cokie. I quit listening to NPR because they persisted in inflicting that bullshit on me on the morning drive.

  212. 212
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Heliopause: Those are all valid points. Here is another point that I think is valid. Romney only got 47% of the vote running against a black man in a year when the economy was bad. My point is that this will hurt him more with moderates and liberals than it will help him with crazies. Clinton will bomb him with this stuff if he happens to get nominated, which I don’t think he will.

  213. 213
    Mandalay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Somebody hijacked your account, then, and wrote at #45 above If Christie is shown to have been involved in the shenanigans, however indirectly, then he is gone as governor.

    That hardly supports your distortion: “expecting that Christie will be forced to resign as governor is hallucinations of the highest order”. What part of “If” don’t you understand? But if (repeat if) Christie is shown to have been involved in closing the lanes then I think he is a goner.

    Take this to the bank. Chris Christie is governor of NJ for as long as he wants.

    He might not have any choice about whether he remains governor. This is not the end of the saga.

  214. 214
    chopper says:

    @mikej:

    if gov krispy pulls them aside and says ‘don’t worry, i’ll pardon you later’ i don’t think any of that matters, does it?

  215. 215
    chopper says:

    @Roger Moore:

    it’s true, tho it’s way better for him than having those dudes turn on him. looking corrupt is one thing, indictment and trial is another.

  216. 216
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Greg:

    Oh! It would be so, so wonderful if we get a new suffix for scandal! That would truly be Obama’s greatest legacy, to finally bury the stupid “everything-gate” meme.

    Well, except for the new memoir by the former SecDef. Because I think we have to have a “Gates-gate” before we retitheir for good.

  217. 217
    Heliopause says:

    And Christie has just done his plausible deniability bit.

    Whatever problems Christie had winning the primary process already existed outside this scandal and I don’t see how this hurts him in that regard. In the general this could hurt him, but with one small problem; it will have been a couple of years in the rear-view mirror. Of course, more damaging info could still come out.

  218. 218
    Cervantes says:

    @Mandalay:

    I stopped in 1997, after she and her husband wrote a column titled “Internet Could Become a Threat To Representative Government“.

    That column was stupid, even for Steve and Cokie Roberts.

  219. 219
    Roger Moore says:

    @chopper:
    There’s still the question of the paper trail. Buying his subordinates’ silence won’t get him much if there’s written evidence that he knew what was happening. This is also a case where the coverup might get him in trouble when the crime didn’t; unless he’s been kept completely out of the loop until today, his participating in the fog of lies surrounding the thing can get him in trouble even if he didn’t know anything until after it happened.

  220. 220
    PIGL says:

    @AnotherBruce: There’s provable 47% of the population of your benighted land that would vote for Beelzebub if he ran as a Republican. In Canada, so far, it’s only 30%.

    I firmly believe, and I am not kidding, not even a tiny little bit, that we need to apply an assay for this sort of personality disorder, and drown the afflicted at birth. Even if there were a lot of false positives, it would be worth it. The planet cannot afford the governments that these people make possible.

  221. 221
    Tone In DC says:

    @elmo:

    That bridge is way too much fun.
    I thought you coming from a place further north.

    I work in Alexandria, so, to quote my second favorite president, “I feel your pain.” The motorists around here are a bit like the characters from the second Mad Max flick.

  222. 222
    Bex says:

    @AnotherBruce: I wasn’t driving in the morning at that time, but after I woke up to the ten thousandth iteration of “BAD NEWS FOR THE PRESIDENT” (Clinton) from Ms. Cokie I quit listening too.

  223. 223
    Bob says:

    All the “Morning Joe” hand jobs in the world won’t bring Christie’s presidential hopes back to life.

    Maybe Cole can give him a hand job and revive his presidential hopes.

  224. 224
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Violet:

    The Bob Gates story has vanished.

    I blame Obama.

    (Edited to fix fat-fingered typo.)

  225. 225
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @MattR:

    I would say that roughly one third of all the GWB traffic goes through that Ft Lee entrance (and that may be a low estimate)

    That “traffic study” they were doing will probably provide some firm numbers.

  226. 226
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @jl: That’s cute and all (at least to some people) but won’t make this genuine scandal go away. I think this is going to sink his governorship. I can’t imagine being comfortable with such a vindictive man runnng my state and I doubt New Jerseyites are either.

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