Skip to comments.Joan Walsh: Forget 2016, Chris Christie may not even be governor much longer
Posted on 01/11/2014 7:25:29 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie strode to the microphones in Trenton Wednesday night and took an hour of reporters tough questions about a plot by staffers to punish Fort Lees Democratic mayor by snarling his citys traffic for four days. Penitent, occasionally defiant, Christie insisted he didnt know about the scheme. But he said he took full responsibility for the scandal, apologized to the citizens of Fort Lee and promised to get to the bottom of what happened.
Oh wait. Thats not what Christie did at all. The famously fearless governor canceled his one public appearance of the day, ignored the story until late afternoon, and then issued an email statement saying hed been misled by a member of my staff. Theres word hell be talking today at 11 a.m. But yesterday, when all the details broke and questions emerged, there was no press conference. No public statement. No apology to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich or his city or the people of New Jersey for staffers using the crucial George Washington Bridge as a weapon of political destruction, reportedly in retaliation for Sokolichs refusal to endorse Christies reelection bid against Barbara Buono last year.
In a statement so full of word salad it might have come from Sarah Palin, Christie threw an unnamed staff member under the bus and then resumed his silence. He threw his own presidential hopes under the bus too.
Contrast Christies limp response on Wednesday to his shtick a month ago, when he aggressively denied that the Fort Lee lane closures were a form of political reprisal, and even joked that he did it himself. I worked the cones actually. Unbeknownst to everybody, I was actually the guy out there. I was in overalls and a hat, but I was the guy working the cones, he said, mocking reporters, adding, Youre not really serious with that question. Then he blamed New Jersey Democrats for playing politics, sneering, It just shows that they really have nothing to do.
By now the world knows that it was the Christie administration playing politics. The email obtained by the Bergen Record reads like satiric Jersey political noir. Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee, Christies deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, wrote to David Wilstein, Christies high school buddy, who won a brand-new $150,000 a year Port Authority job that Christie created for him personally. Got it, Wildstein writes back.
Thats the smoking gun right there, but its the entire email chain that damns Christies administration. Once the media began investigating charges that Fort Lees lanes to the bridge had been mysteriously closed, snarling traffic for hours as school began in September (New Jersey officials claimed it was due to an important traffic study, which New York officials said theyd never heard of), the email round-robin includes Christies campaign manager and his communications director, as well as his other Port Authority appointee Bill Baroni, all doing damage control.
Kelly asks if Wilstein had returned any of Sokolichs calls of concern, and he replies, Radio silence. His name comes right after mayor Fulop, a reference to Jersey City Democrat Steven Fulop, who likewise failed to endorse Christie last year. He derides him to Christies campaign manager as the little Serbian (Sokolich is Croatian). After Port Authority officials reopen the Fort Lee lanes, Wilstein tells Kelly that close Christie ally and chair of the commission that runs the Port Authority, David Samson, is helping us to retaliate.
Finally, when an unnamed official, referring to reports of kids being stuck for hours on school buses, says in a text message, I feel badly about the kids. I guess. Wildstein replies: They are the children of Buono voters.
Now we know it wasnt just the children of Buono voters who were inconvenienced. Fort Lee officials say the traffic jam delayed at least four emergency vehicles, including one trying to reach a 91-year-old woman who later died. It slowed the response to reports of a missing 4-year-old girl, who was eventually found. New Jersey Democrats are livid, and even Republicans are calling for investigation.
Baroni and Wildstein have already resigned to spend more time with their lawyers. Until Wednesday, Christie had only said mistakes were made, while railing against reporters for impugning his integrity. His statement Wednesday added few details. In fact, its almost incoherent:
What Ive seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.
Its hard to square that meandering, Palinesque bleating with Christies reputation for candor. As he takes to the microphones belatedly Thursday morning, a few questions are obvious. Christie is a former prosecutor. Why was he so lazy in getting to the bottom of the story that he learned these details for the first time today? Are we really supposed to believe he didnt know why Baroni or Wildstein resigned, beyond the fact that mistakes were made? And even if he didnt know until Wednesday, which I personally find hard to believe, he apparently created or tolerated a culture of vengeance and bullying in Trenton that nobody could responsibly want to send to the White House.
Im on record, almost a year ago, declaring that Christie would never be president, because of his temper, and his general temperament. My February post was inspired by Christies nasty outburst at a former White House doctor, a Republican who said she would like to see Christie become president, who also advised him to lose weight. This is just another hack who wants five minutes on TV, he fumed, adding, She should shut up.
There already was plenty of evidence that the governor liked to play the bully and he was so proud of it, he had staffers alongside him to record his outbursts at reporters, teachers and insolent voters and post them on YouTube. His backers said it showed Christie isnt a slick politician, he was one of us, a straight-talking guy who had a temper, sure. Now he looks like a tough-talking, prevaricating politician who has a temper, and uses the power of his office against his enemies.
Ive said it before: Chris Christie will not be elected president in 2016. But if it turns out he knew about his staffs vengeance against Fort Lee, let alone directed it, he may not be governor of New Jersey in 2016, either.
He's innocent, and even if he's not, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!!!!
I’ve barely heard it mentioned on the news this morning aside from a few comments that there doesn’t appear to be anything there.
Liberals will have to face that fact that Chunky C did the right thing and got past it unlike emperor Obozo who keeps promoting his horses.
Joan Walsh is a Liberal Idiot.
Hey, Joan, what difference does it make?
Liberals got hungry and ate one of their own again.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m glad they didn’t wait until after his Media-Crowned GOP nomination. We don’t need him, Ryan or Bush the whatever.
It is time for the RNC, Media and Democrats to stop picking the GOP candidate in advance.
Liberals attacking liberals. I have no problem with it.
No reason for that report to bring in Palin. Every chance they get to slam her they do. What had she to do with it?
The Dems are salivating over this. They’re think they won’t have to answer for Obamacare now (nor BenghaziGate, IRSGate or FASTANDFURIOUSGATE etc.)
Here’s my take:
Christie was never going to be the GOP nominee, for reasons we all understand.
Joan Walsh, the LSM, the infotainment industry are SO TERRIFIED of a change of regime that they want to destroy any possible GOP winner before she gets started.
Using the phrase “word salad” is an Alinsky tactic, implying that the speaker is schizophrenic. But when an open liberal Democrat speaks in actual word salad, they’ll try to spin and explain that to everyone . . .
“Joan Walsh is a Liberal Idiot.”
That is a given. This phony scandal is like a school of sharks in a feeding frenzy. Was Christie really going to run in 2016? Who says Christie may not even be governor much longer? Sounds like wishful thinking of the part of deranged liberals.
Run along, Chris. The jog will do you good.
Stay completely out of the way of such luminaries as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. They’re candidates of substance other than that semi tire wrapped around your girth.
What we don’t need more of are typical politicians.
I am not sure I understand the need to bring Sarah Palin
into the discussion. The writer’s comments about her were untrue and unwarranted. But they tell me that the left still fears Palin; not because she will be president but because of her ability to elect candidates, raise money, and rally the base as it has never been rallied before.
Joan Walsh lives in a fantasy world of her own creation. She thinks it, so it’s true.
Republicans to the rescue! Hear me out. 1) The head of the RNC takes the long walk(Goldwater-like) to tell him the bad news. 2) They offer him an out: Switch parties and become a Democrat-none of this Independent crap. Then the Rats can decide what to do with him because this is what they do.
What difference does it make now — it’s all traffic over the bridge at this point.
not now, not never been a Christie fan.
but first of all he just pulled it off(he admitted an apologized for his administrations errors...something the regime never did).
the question I put to the Marxist at Salon, is Never mind Kristi Kreme....Why is Obummer still in office after:
IRS investigations and audits
the birth certificate (and the death of Fuddy)
the surge and how Obummer treated it, alone, as a political thing.
I could go on ad nauseum.....but I am too nauseous to think of more right now.
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