I really was concerned about Christie in 2016, and I seriously felt that Democrats were underestimating the appeal that “plain speaking and blunt assholes” like Christie have to a lot of people- even if he was a damned Yankee. He would have been a very credible opponent, I think, in 2016, and the Republicans would have come around to him were he the nominee. I no longer have such fears:

The administration of Gov. Chris Christie worked to cultivate Fort Lee’s mayor for at least a year and a half before lanes were closed at the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retribution, according to testimony from a former aide to the governor on Tuesday.

The description of the efforts to woo the mayor seemed to run contrary to the governor’s statement after the lane closings exploded into a scandal in January that Mayor Mark Sokolich had never been on his “radar screen.”

In seven hours of testimony before the legislative committee investigating the lane closings, Matt Mowers, who worked in the governor’s office and then for his 2013 re-election campaign, described an aggressive political operation that closely monitored its attempts to secure endorsements from Mr. Sokolich and other Democrats. The governor’s advisers hoped this would allow Mr. Christie to present himself as the Republican presidential candidate with bipartisan appeal.


Late that month, Mr. Mowers sent a note to the town announcing “good news,” that the governor had asked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to spend $162,000 on shuttle buses to help move Fort Lee residents across the Hudson River. In February 2013, Bill Stepien, a deputy chief of staff who later ran the governor’s re-election campaign, sent Mr. Mowers an email noting that the shuttle service had begun, and that the administration had approved it months ago. “Hope he remembers,” he wrote.

“I’ll be sure to remind him when we speak later.” Mr. Mowers wrote back.

The next month, however, Mr. Mowers sent another email noting that “Sokolich is going to be a no.”

“It’s a shame too,” he wrote. “I really like the guy.”

Mr. Mowers testified that “in colorful language” the mayor had told him he supported the governor, but could not endorse him because he feared he would lose business relationships, and would prompt retribution from Democrats.

He was asked if that surprised him.

“Given what I heard from other elected officials,” Mr. Mowers replied, “it didn’t as much, unfortunately.”

In August of that year, he said, Bridget Anne Kelly phoned to ask if the mayor’s endorsement was definitely out of the question. He confirmed that it was. The next day, Ms. Kelly sent the email to a Port Authority official saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

I’ve been wrong too many times to count before, but right now Christie is looking like an ex-parrot. Even better, it looks like Ben Carson is going to run, so we have the starts of another clown car caucus running for the 2016 GOP nod.

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64 replies
  1. 1
    Eric U. says:

    the ability of Republicans to rehabilitate their pols is just amazing. So I wouldn’t write him off forever. The clown car is going to be fully populated this time, next time they may be desperate enough to enlist someone like Christie.

  2. 2
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    From the Ben Carson link:

    DR. BEN CARSON, AUTHOR, “ONE NATION”: It’s interesting. I’m in about four or five states a week, huge record-breaking crowds, very enthusiastic.

    There were at least ten to thirty million people at every stop.

  3. 3
    Violet says:

    The Christie bubble has burst.

  4. 4
    rk says:

    Anyone can run for President as far as republicans are concerned. It’s not as if it’s brain surgery.

  5. 5
    Cacti says:

    I’ve called Chris Christie “fat Giuliani” from the start.

    East coast pol, puffed up by the east coast media, and a paper tiger outside of the northeast.

  6. 6
    mdblanche says:

    Oh the huge manatee!

  7. 7
    Hill Dweller says:

    The Village will do their best to rehabilitate The Outlaw Jersey Whale.

    The Twitter machine is telling me Chuck Todd was on the NBC News broadcast telling Americans Obama personally killed Vets. Good times.

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    From the article:

    In May 2012, Mr. Mowers, now 24, suggested that the mayor and other Fort Lee officials be invited to breakfast at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion. Mr. Mowers said the breakfast never happened. And under questioning about whether this was using government time to do campaign work, he defended the administration’s actions as wanting to develop relationships with local officials, noting, for example, that the school superintendent in Fort Lee had hosted the governor for a live broadcast of “Morning Joe” at a school.

    “It made good government,” Mr. Mowers said, in the form of constituent services.

    Two things–first, Mowers is really young. I bet he’s scared and inexperienced with this kind of thing. Weak leak in the whole thing it seems. No wonder he’s talking.

    Second–a “Morning Joe” appearance. Of course.

  9. 9
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Eric U.:

    the ability of Republicans to rehabilitate their pols is just amazing.

    We’re already seeing tentative efforts to rehab C+ Augustus. The fundamental flaw in Christie’s plan to appear bipartisan is that no one who is even remotely bipartisan will get through the teahadi gauntlet formerly known as the Republican primaries.

  10. 10
    the Conster says:

    The lying, the pettiness, the vindictiveness, the lack of concern for the general public, the casual ratfucking, the incompetent cover-up – don’t count him out. He’s downright Nixonian.

  11. 11
    Trollhattan says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Tell those thugs to leave the records damn well alone. Some of us collect, you know.

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    no one who is even remotely bipartisan will get through the teahadi gauntlet formerly known as the Republican primaries.

    Weren’t there elections yesterday? I’m very busy and haven’t seen news hardly at all but thought I saw a headline about how “mainstream Republican establishment beat back Tea Party” in the elections. Is that true?

  13. 13
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Violet: There is no difference between the Tea Party and establishment Republicans. Paul Ryan is as establishment as they get, but he is every bit as evil as the Tea Party.

  14. 14
    The Other Bob says:

    I also thought that Christie acting like a bully a-hole would attract the tea baggers. Might be tougher now, but the scandle now hurts him the general. Nobody likes some abusing power for potitical purposes.

  15. 15
    gene108 says:

    Christie scared me. He twisted the state Democratic machine around to support him. It was disturbing, but he’s out because a true Republican President will have to do shit 10x as corrupt and make sure there’s no trail to investigate. The whole fucking GWB White House did not use fucking e-mail* and the e-mails** they did send were on some RNC server that mysteriously got zapped to another dimension, when people started asking questions.

    The person that worries me now is Rand Paul. He’s saying the right things about “drone strikes bad”, “NSA spying bad” that he could generate the cross-over appeal a Republican needs to win in 2016.

    I expect no Republican candidate to be asked any serious questions about their record, therefore if a Republican said he invented the zipper, 100 years ago and time traveled to run for President, it would be taken at face value by the media.

    Therefore Paul’s statements about “drones bad”, “NSA spying bad” will not be challenged during the primaries, with regards to his actual voting record to prevent those things from happening, which would bruise his cross-over appeal.

    *EDIT: Official government e-mail ID’s that are subject to public information requests.

    **Edit: They did use personal e-mail ID’s through the RNC server that vanished, leaving no trail behind.

  16. 16
    Keith G says:

    Having watched “Halloween” way too many times, I will believe the monster is gone only after the body is dismembered and the parts incinerated.

    Yet it is hard to see any predictable way Christy gets to the nomination this cycle – though he and his partisans will try. Christy is still able to produce a sizable tingle in those who have the authoritarian programming encoded in their psyche. That group is a sizable slice of the GOP pie chart.

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    @Hill Dweller: But there are races like Mitch McConnell and whoever his Tea Party primary challenger is. That’s what I was talking about.

  18. 18
    KG says:

    @Hill Dweller: the difference between Tea Party and establishment at this point is style rather than substance. the establishment candidates have to move right to protect themselves against Tea Party challengers in primaries. then, once elected, they have to go right in order to avoid a future primary challenge. it’s a viciously stupid cycle, especially since the true Tea Partiers can’t win outside of the deep south, and even there, they’re running into trouble.

  19. 19
    jl says:

    @The Other Bob:

    For the general election, the GOP needs dogwhistles for their own sleazy and vicious political thuggery, as well as bigotry, xenophobia and racism.

    For Christie, looks like there will a calliope blasting it out in the distance, echoing through the dells and meadows, for ready recall of the main themes come 2016.

  20. 20
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    “His credentials speak for themselves, and his positions on politics are common sense and practical,” wingnut told me today about Ben Carson. “Keep an eye on him.”

    Will do!

  21. 21
    gene108 says:

    @Keith G:

    Yet it is hard to see any predictable way Christy gets to the nomination this cycle – though he and his partisans will try.

    I think Christie’s lost a lot of support, because the people who would back him want shit like Dick Cheney’s secret meeting with energy executives to happen that no one knows about what exactly took place.

    Christie’s team used official e-mail ID’s to talk about closing the George Washington Bridge. Compared to the kind of corruption the plutocrats want in the White House, based on the Bush, Jr. administration, Christie’s team is just too amateur hour for them to get behind.

  22. 22
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    I too worried about Chris Christie. He’s damaged goods now, even if he somehow manages to scramble to the nomination. His one draw was supposed to be that he could attract non-Republican voters. Not gonna happen.

  23. 23
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “right now Christie is looking like an ex-parrot.”

    My African Grey Parrot wants to know what that means.

  24. 24
    SatanicPanic says:

    Ben Carson is going to be fun to watch. Really smart people with stupid beliefs and an unearned sense of their own wisdom can be highly entertaining.

  25. 25
    KG says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: ok, took the bait and looked him up at ontheissues. can someone please explain these three apparently contradictory ideas:

    ObamaCare is the worst thing since slavery. (Oct 2013)
    Regulate insurance companies as non-profit services. (Jan 2012)
    Government responsibility for catastrophic coverage. (Jan 2012)

    My head hurts just trying to square that triangle of stupid.

  26. 26
    Schlemizel says:

    I would not be surprised it Crusty plays a little in the primaries for 2 reasons. First, the field is so weak that hanging around might be all it takes and second, it opened the possibility that all this will be old news in 2020.

    I also wonder if Willard Rmoney won’t give it one more try. He is the corporate wing’s fav.

    Either way I plan on going long on pop corn futures.

  27. 27
    Roger Moore says:

    we have the starts of another clown car caucus running for the 2016 GOP nod.

    Start? We knew there was going to be another clown car from the moment Romney lost.

  28. 28
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Ask your Norwegian Blue.

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    I hope you are joking cuz it would be sad to think some people have not seen this:
    ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

  30. 30
    Culture of Truth says:

    I really was concerned about Christie in 2016, and I seriously felt that Democrats were underestimating the appeal that “plain speaking and blunt assholes” like Christie have to a lot of people

    I felt the same way, before all this; after all, the last 2 nominees were McCain and Romney, who are not radicals, and in a big field Christie would look smart, moderate and electable, but abandoned those concerns long ago. The reason is that Christie’s potential opponents are not stupid — they will use all this and more against him. Also, his big selling points, he’s a good manager, he’s bipartisan, and he’s electable, are all burst by Bridgegate. Also, he just broke a promise and raided the pension fund, while the state’s credit rating gets dropped again.

  31. 31
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Schlemizel: ooh, who’s gonna ride the clown car again?
    Herman Cain
    Newt Gingrich
    Mike Huckabee
    Sarah Palin
    Paul Ryan
    Donald Trump
    Michelle Bachmann?
    I gotta say at least three of these kooks will try again, but not really sure which. Definitely Paul Ryan

  32. 32
    Roger Moore says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    My African Grey Parrot wants to know what that means.

    As long as it’s not a Norwegian Blue.

  33. 33
    Comrade Jake says:

    Honestly isn’t the bigger story with Christie how awful NJ is doing economically?

  34. 34
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    Rand Paul and Jeb Bush look plausible to me at the moment. We’ll see.

  35. 35
    piratedan says:

    yes, but until Christie has been buttered and the FEDS have consumed him leaving nothing but a burnt crust will I be satisfied and I don’t even live in New Jersey. The way that this asshat has withheld federal relief funds from people that need it is just assholery of the highest order, glad that this cheap political chutzpah has caught up with him here, but the real meat (imho) is what the fuck has he done with all of the Sandy money.

  36. 36
    shelley says:

    Well, the big story in the Star Ledger today was Christie announcing that he’s taking revenue from funding state pensions to plug a hole in the state budget. ‘Course it’s everybody’s fault but his own-”trying to clear up the mess from previous administrations’ ‘I had no choice,’ says Christie. Democrats had suggested raising taxes on millionaires but noooooooo.
    Ask the 1% to pay a nickel more? You jest.
    Christie, like a lot of other republican governors, have been touted as ‘fiscally responsible’ and making their states a big success story. Jerseyans beg to differ.

  37. 37
    JWR says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Agreed, here. I’ll bet they go with yet another shrub, er, Bush.

  38. 38
    Culture of Truth says:

    Carson was on Meet The Press this weekend. He came across as both insanely wingnutty but insuffciently partisan. When Gregory invited him to bash Hillary and Obama (as he does with every guest) he just called her “intelligent,” frustrating the host, but then doubled down on Obamacare as ‘slavery’ and ‘marxism’. Not ready for prime time.

  39. 39
    Brian R. says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    Nah, Jeb Bush won’t happen because (a) he’s already embraced immigration reform and Common Core, which means he’s a RINO, and (b) if Clinton’s our nominee, it sets up a “remember the last Clinton vs. remember the last Bush” conversation that will NOT go well for the GOP.

    Rand Paul has potential given his appeal to the teatards, but he’s pissed off a lot of the establishment Republicans and the long knives will be out for him in a big way.

    Paul Ryan might get some traction if he runs, though it’s a real longshot to win the nomination from a House seat.

    My money’s on another bland but ideologically correct establishment type like Scott Walker. If so, bring it on.

    ETA: Actually, Walker might not make it that far.

  40. 40
    JustRuss says:

    @Culture of Truth: Yep, Christie’s not crazy enough for the base, too damaged to win the general. With big money behind him as the “electable” candidate he could bluster his way through the primaries, but I don’t think the money boys are stupid enough to throw their lucre away on Governor Bridgegate. But you never know, Republicans have a funny way of ignoring reality when it isn’t saying what they want to hear, even during elections.

  41. 41
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @shelley: You can get some of the Christie general election magic — the crab-bucket stuff, the air of administrative chops that comes from an executive branch gig, the non-Confederate vibe, the not-a-God-botherer thing — by going with Scott Walker.

    Another fightin’ general in the war on America’s real enemies — her public employees.

    He’d have Koch money behind him, and seems to have beaten his Federal rap, thanks to aactivist patriotic Federal judge.

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:


    Well, the big story in the Star Ledger today was Christie announcing that he’s taking revenue from funding state pensions to plug a hole in the state budget.

    Step 2 is to call for pension cuts because the state employees are greedy and demanded too much.

  43. 43
    Violet says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: The Bush machine is definitely starting up. Trying to get a little Jeb-mentum going.

  44. 44
    jl says:


    ” can someone please explain these three apparently contradictory [Carson] ideas: ”

    Carson is a visionary who sees many intersecting issues on multiple levels.

    Thank goodness some one is keeping the Gingrich tradition alive.

    The formula for sane output is (Big Dawg + Obama wonkitude aspirations) / (Palin opportunism + Bachmann crazy)

  45. 45
    raven says:

    THIS is a ex-parrot! an old salty swedish sea dog. Thar She Blows!

  46. 46
    jl says:


    ” ‘Course it’s everybody’s fault but his own-”trying to clear up the mess from previous administrations’ ‘I had no choice,’ says Christie. ”

    But isn’t Christie himself one of the previous administrations now?

  47. 47
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Draft Mitt Romney for President 2016, because we need more mendacity.

  48. 48
    Hal says:

    I’ve never been able to imagine Christie’s tactics; yelling at Veterans, parents, teachers etc, as translating on a national scale. That works great as a “no nonsense” Gubernatorial candidate, but as a Presidential one? Isn’t that the point of a VP, to act as an attack dog of sorts? Think Palin’s bullshit line about having a real job versus Obama. Two ass hats on the same ticket would have been too much.

    Other than Christie, I can only really think if Jeb or maybe Rang Paul, unless there is a GOP Governor, or Congress critter who comes out of the blue. That’s certainly a possibility.

    As for Rand Paul:

    A bill allowing Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul to simultaneously run for the presidency and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat in 2016 died earlier this week when the Kentucky legislature adjourned for the year.

    The bill had passed the Republican-controlled state Senate, but stalled in the Democratic-controlled state House of Representatives.

    Marco Rubio was of the opinion that Paul should not be allowed to run for both President and Senate. Florida has the same law, so either Rubio is not planning on running for re-election, or the Presidency, or he’ll just be a hypocrite and change his mind in a few months.

  49. 49
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Carson shouldn’t have retired as a surgeon-he’d save more lives that way. Now if his malpractice insurance was going skyhigh, well, that’s a separate issue now, isn’t it? (FWIW, the surgeon who operated on me back in 2000 was 73-he retired 4 years later due to malpractice insurance rates-didn’t DeBakey operate well into his 80s?)

  50. 50
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @MikeBoyScout: Poor Steve Benen nearly cracked under the load of lies last time

  51. 51
    Calouste says:


    Two ass hats on the same ticket would have been too much.

    Where are you going to find your non-asshat Republican candidate?

  52. 52
    Hal says:

    @Calouste: The only one I can think of is Jon Huntsman, and he’s never going to get the nomination in the modern GOP. He actually seems like a decent person, though his 2012 foray was a mess.

  53. 53
    Hal says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Um hello, people are begging Carson to run. He’s attracting huge crowds too. Why be a successful Neurosurgeon making a difference in people lives when there are old white racists to pander to? Saving lives isn’t nearly as ego satisfying.

  54. 54
    rikyrah says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    Poor Steve Benen nearly cracked under the load of lies last time

    I looked forward to reading Benen’s chronicles of Willard’s lies.

  55. 55
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Hal: Carson has two things he has to confront: (1) his lack of political experience/service and (2) his statement that the ACA is ‘the worst thing since slavery’ is going to come back to bite him.

    His beilef system (Seventh Day Adventists) is also way out of the mainstream, even for evangelicals.

    Those who are begging Carson to run hope to turn him into a useful idiot to serve their purposes.

  56. 56
    Fluke bucket says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: which records did the crowds break? Who kept those records? Was he up against previous Sunday School attendance records?

  57. 57
    burnspbesq says:

    Where’s your empathy for the people of New Jersey, who will still be governed by this jackalope until January 1, 2018?

  58. 58
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Howard Beale IV: I’d add a third thing: he seems way, way too crazy.

  59. 59
    Roger Moore says:

    The Jackalope Anti-Defamation League is on line one.

  60. 60
    StringOnAStick says:

    @StringOnAStick: I just read the wiki on Seventh Day Adventist. That was …..interesting. I just can’t see the rethugs nominating a guy who is religiously required to be a vegetarian; Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods would plotz.

  61. 61
    Hal says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    His beilef system (Seventh Day Adventists) is also way out of the mainstream, even for evangelicals.

    I’m still trying to reconcile a Neurosurgeon who thinks the earth is 6,000 years old. He accepts the science of medicine, uses it in his career with apparent great success, but then dismisses carbon dating as science fiction basically.

    As for the ACA as slavery, NPR’s Michele Martin once said she thought some black conservatives like Herman Cain had an unspoken agreement with their white conservative audience. People like Cain and Carson tell that audience what they want to here, and in turn, they receive support from said audience. Carson knows what he has to do to appeal and that’s where he is coming from imo. Too bad. A Doctor who has undoubtedly had his share of low income patients must know the benefits of having insurance.

  62. 62
    GregB says:

    So now beating the tea-party is seen as a good thing and no one in the mainstream media is saying a peep about this?

    For God’s sake the tea-party was the greatest thing since sliced bread, the voice of the people, a bubbling revolt from below that was sweeping the nation and turning over a Senate seat held by the lion of the Democratic Party over to the Republicans.

    Now it is a great accomplishment that the tea-party is being vanquished at the polls by Republicans.


  63. 63
    mai naem mobile says:

    I aaq ben carson on mtp. I’m not impressed. He sounded stupid. Granted there are some stupid doctors in congress but bill frist never sounded downright stupid. Politically expedient but not stupid.

  64. 64
    hitchhiker says:

    What, nobody is taking Rick Perry seriously? Do you guys know that he GOT NEW GLASSES?

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