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Chris Christie 2016: A Bridge to Nowhere
New York Magazine ^ | 1/8

Posted on 01/08/2014 3:10:34 PM PST by nickcarraway

To this point, Chris Christie has treated the George Washington Bridge closure story as a joke, and national reporters have regarded it as a minor irritation. The public release of e-mails among his staff changes all that. The e-mails prove that Christie’s loyalists closed the bridge deliberately as political retribution, not as a “traffic study” as claimed. They display an almost comical venality bordering on outright sociopathy. And they will probably destroy Christie’s chances in 2016.

The bridge story itself, while small in nature, reveals a political culture around Christie of people who have no business holding power. Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy on Christie’s senior staff, e-mailed David Wildstein, a Christie appointee on the Port Authority, which runs the George Washington Bridge, instructing, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” The resulting hours-long traffic jams worried public officials and created a safety hazard. Wildstein proceeded to gloat over the punishment:

“Is it wrong that I’m smiling,” the recipient of the text message responded to Wildstein. The person’s identity is not clear because the documents are partially redacted for unknown reasons. “No,” Wildstein wrote in response.

“I feel badly about the kids,” the person replied to Wildstein. “I guess.” “They are the children of Buono voters,” Wildstein wrote.

Several things come together to make this scandal especially devastating to Christie. One is that it’s very easy for voters to understand: He punished a town because its mayor endorsed his rival. There are no complex financial transfers or legal maneuverings to parse. Second, it fits into a broader pattern of behavior, documented by the New York Times, of taking retribution against politicians who cross him in any way. There is, in all likelihood, much more. Mark Halperin and my colleague John Heilemann reported in their book about the 2012 campaign that Mitt Romney wanted to put Christie on his ticket, but his staff was “stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record”:

There was a 2010 Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of Christie’s spending patterns in his job prior to the governorship, which criticized him for being “the U.S. attorney who most often exceeded the government [travel expense] rate without adequate justification” and for offering “insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification” for stays at swank hotels like the Four Seasons. There was the fact that Christie worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Securities Industry Association at a time when Bernie Madoff was a senior SIA official — and sought an exemption from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. There was Christie’s decision to steer hefty government contracts to donors and political allies like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which sparked a congressional hearing. There was a defamation lawsuit brought against Christie arising out of his successful 1994 run to oust an incumbent in a local Garden State race. Then there was Todd Christie, the Governor’s brother, who in 2008 agreed to a settlement of civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he acknowledged making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.

The investigations also “raised questions for the vetters about Christie’s relationship with a top female deputy who accompanied him on many of the trips.”

The swirl of potential and already-proven scandals would be enough to sink an ordinary candidate. But Christie, as I’ve argued before, is not an ordinary candidate. He’s an unusually vulnerable one, especially in a Republican primary. He suffers from a mix of ideological and regional vulnerabilities. Christie’s ideological heterodoxies include, but are not limited to, his decision to accept the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare and his fierce advocacy of gun control, either of which could be disqualifying in a contested Republican primary. What’s more, his brash Northeastern personality may play well among conservatives when he’s abusing Democrats, but probably won’t if and when he’s abusing fellow Republicans. A Republican painting Christie as a philosophical and cultural alien would have a very, very easy case to make.

Yeah, Republicans aren't going to like this, either. What makes matters worse still for Christie is that his scandals would make him vulnerable in a general-election matchup. Mitt Romney managed to win the GOP nomination in 2012 despite some ideological vulnerabilities — smaller ones than Christie’s, I’d argue — because he was the sole electable candidate in a field lacking any plausible alternatives. The 2016 field already looks to have several plausible Republican contenders. Christie’s path to victory always involved a desperate-to-win party Establishment circling around him. Why would they circle around a candidate teeming with corruption scandals, when they could instead nominate a more conservative alternative with a more attractive personal image? What reason, at this point, does any Republican have to nominate Christie?

Update: I linked above to a previous column I wrote expressing skepticism about Christie's prospects, but it's a lot to ask readers to click through after reading this entire column, so a couple points are worth pulling out. First, I did express a similar confidence that Mitt Romney had almost no chance of winning the party nomination four years earlier, and I was wrong. I'd argue that Romney won because he ran essentially unopposed. That is, actually running for president isn't the same thing as taking advantage of the free national publicity and future media career opportunities one can gain by announcing that you're running for president. The only actual opponent Romney faced in the 2012 primary was Rick Perry, who immolated in a painful, prescription drug-induced haze. Every other serious potential candidate -- Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Christie -- declined to run.

Still, Romney did secure the nomination. There's an implied asterisk attached to all political prognostication: It can't be done with the same kind of precision that can be applied to policy analysis. Caveat emptor.

That said, I do believe Christie faces enormous, interrelated vulnerabilities. To a non-Republican, Christie's post-Sandy personal embrace of Obama in 2012, his issue deviations on Obamacare and guns, and his potentially large number of scandals look like separate problems. To a Republican voter, they are many aspects of the same thing: a man who can't be trusted. Anything can happen, but the combination of obstacles appears, at the very least, far greater than most analysts are figuring at the moment, and at the most, completely insurmountable.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Politics/Elections; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: bridgegate; chrischristie; christie; newjersey; newjerseyfatman; randsconcerntrolls
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1 posted on 01/08/2014 3:10:34 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Christie is a fat, handsome, big spending loud mouth.


2 posted on 01/08/2014 3:14:07 PM PST by ObamahatesPACoal
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To: nickcarraway

I’m sure the bridge has a weight limit.


3 posted on 01/08/2014 3:14:13 PM PST by woodenickel
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To: nickcarraway

I also agree that RINO CC does not deserve higher office. I’d like to see this story harpoon his POTUS bid.


4 posted on 01/08/2014 3:14:17 PM PST by Lou Budvis
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To: nickcarraway

Good. We don’t need this oversized RINO running in ‘16.


5 posted on 01/08/2014 3:14:41 PM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: nickcarraway

He’s despicable.


6 posted on 01/08/2014 3:15:58 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: nickcarraway

Stick a fork in him. He’s done. Wasn’t going to get the nomination anyway but this is something that Obama’s stooges would have cooked up.


7 posted on 01/08/2014 3:16:07 PM PST by RichardW
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To: nickcarraway

In the article on Romney...” because he was the sole electable candidate in a field lacking any plausible alternatives. “

That’s the author’s opinion. No where near the truth.


8 posted on 01/08/2014 3:16:40 PM PST by Fledermaus (If we here in TN can't get rid of the worthless Lamar, it's over.)
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To: nickcarraway

Hillary’s attacked dogs out in force today. Two possible opponents wounded in one day after announcing.


9 posted on 01/08/2014 3:17:59 PM PST by BushCountry (Obama: The dentist told me I need a crown. I was like I KNOW, RIGHT?)
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To: BushCountry
Hillary’s attacked dogs out in force today. Two possible opponents wounded in one day after announcing.

This didn't come from Hillary (or any Dem). They would want a vulnerable opponent, and would wait to use this in 2016.

10 posted on 01/08/2014 3:25:57 PM PST by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: Lurking Libertarian

Don’t know. If Biden doesn’t run she might unopposed.


11 posted on 01/08/2014 3:29:00 PM PST by BushCountry (Obama: The dentist told me I need a crown. I was like I KNOW, RIGHT?)
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To: BushCountry

Word missing “run”.


12 posted on 01/08/2014 3:30:09 PM PST by BushCountry (Obama: The dentist told me I need a crown. I was like I KNOW, RIGHT?)
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To: nickcarraway

He would have to send a team ahead to check the strength of said bridge.


13 posted on 01/08/2014 3:30:34 PM PST by cloudmountain (.)
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To: nickcarraway

Cruz/Palin 2016. Who’s with me?


14 posted on 01/08/2014 3:30:56 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (A courageous man finds a way, an ordinary man finds an excuse.)
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To: BushCountry

Who is the other one?


15 posted on 01/08/2014 3:31:39 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (A courageous man finds a way, an ordinary man finds an excuse.)
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To: nickcarraway
Can you IMAGINE the FABULOUS FAT jokes that the comedians would come up with if he starts down that path???? :o)
I'm looking forward to them.
16 posted on 01/08/2014 3:32:52 PM PST by cloudmountain (.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Cruz/Palin 2016. Who’s with me?
-----------------------------------------------

I am.
Palin's a big mouth but she's no worse than ANY of them.

17 posted on 01/08/2014 3:34:32 PM PST by cloudmountain (.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Had this tagline for a while, vet.


18 posted on 01/08/2014 3:35:08 PM PST by Former Proud Canadian (Cruz/Palin 2016)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I am.


19 posted on 01/08/2014 3:36:18 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: nickcarraway

Two words: Ann Coulter.


20 posted on 01/08/2014 3:41:46 PM PST by 867V309 (Obama- he's just crazy enough to do it.)
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To: cloudmountain

I’m a big mouth. Sometimes it’s a personality trait.


21 posted on 01/08/2014 3:42:12 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (A courageous man finds a way, an ordinary man finds an excuse.)
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To: cloudmountain

What chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?

22 posted on 01/08/2014 3:43:45 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (A courageous man finds a way, an ordinary man finds an excuse.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Cruz/Palin 2016. Who’s with me?"

Give us a clue. To do what?

23 posted on 01/08/2014 3:44:41 PM PST by ex-snook
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To: nickcarraway

Funny how these emails were leaked a few days after professional psychopath Hillary Clinton started her massive internet campaign for POTUS.

http://www.drudgereport.com/flash3b.htm


24 posted on 01/08/2014 3:44:55 PM PST by GrandJediMasterYoda (Hitlery: Incarnation of evil.)
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To: nickcarraway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53cJQC0gVak


25 posted on 01/08/2014 3:45:59 PM PST by Dick Bachert (Ignorance is NOT BLISS. It is the ROAD TO SERFDOM! We're on a ROAD TRIP!!)
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To: ex-snook

Clean out the swamp.


26 posted on 01/08/2014 3:47:49 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (A courageous man finds a way, an ordinary man finds an excuse.)
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To: ObamahatesPACoal

Bizarre that he punished the Mayor of Fort Lee for NOT endorsing him when the mayor is a Democrat. What did he expect? That is exactly the political norm. Endorsing someone of another party is what is unusual.


27 posted on 01/08/2014 3:48:11 PM PST by PJ-Comix (ObamaCare PAID Enrollment Prediction: 66,666)
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To: nickcarraway

Crispy is going to go over in the South like a lead balloon.


28 posted on 01/08/2014 3:53:31 PM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: ObamahatesPACoal

29 posted on 01/08/2014 3:55:47 PM PST by ObamahatesPACoal
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Clean out the swamp."

That's just a campaign slogan. Do what in foreign and domestic problems? Or are slogans all there is.

30 posted on 01/08/2014 3:56:46 PM PST by ex-snook
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To: nickcarraway
Mitt Romney managed to win the GOP nomination ... because he was the sole electable candidate in a field lacking any plausible alternatives.

I pegged Romney from the beginning, before the primaries, as inevitable and as the one Republican candidate who had no possibility of winning the election.

31 posted on 01/08/2014 3:58:55 PM PST by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
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To: Lurking Libertarian

I sense the Bush’s hand in this. How the heck did someone get a hold of private emails ? The Bush’s still have deep ties with the security state.

Christie was Jeb’s big RINO competitor.


32 posted on 01/08/2014 4:02:29 PM PST by sunrise_sunset
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To: nickcarraway

Christy Chris is practicing the presidential “I didn’t know.” Pretty good for a first effort but still a little polishing.


33 posted on 01/08/2014 4:02:45 PM PST by EandH Dad (sleeping giants wake up REALLY grumpy)
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To: EandH Dad

34 posted on 01/08/2014 4:10:10 PM PST by TexasCajun
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To: nickcarraway

BOY I hope this ends any chance he has at being nominated; the RINO’s poster child. Even better would be resignation and/or prosecution.


35 posted on 01/08/2014 4:11:54 PM PST by RIghtwardHo
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To: nickcarraway
They display an almost comical venality bordering on outright sociopathy.

This fat bastard and his staff are hardly the only sociopaths in elected office, heck, show me a politician that isn't a mental case.

He just got caught and the press wont cover for him.

Of course the neo communist pyschos in the WH and Congress will get a pass all day long, no matter what crimes they commit.

36 posted on 01/08/2014 4:13:07 PM PST by Rome2000 (THE WASHINGTONIANS AND UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE ARE THE ENEMY -ROTATE THE CAPITAL AMONGST THE STATES)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Maybe. Jury’s still out with me on Cruz. I’m just not very impressed. Depends on what happens over next year or two. Plenty of time. And I always love Sarah.


37 posted on 01/08/2014 4:14:18 PM PST by RIghtwardHo
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I'd go with Cruz/RandPaul. Conservatives like Palin a lot, but she'll scare away a lot of women who feel threatened by her commitment to ideals.

Cruz/Paul would have so much intellectual energy and presence on the campaign trail. Palin would be a fantastic head for the Department of Energy, or getting that Alaska Senate seat.

38 posted on 01/08/2014 4:16:38 PM PST by grania
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To: nickcarraway

The fat slob came out today in favor of granting in state tuition to illegal aliens.

He’s history.


39 posted on 01/08/2014 4:18:50 PM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Cruz/Palin 2016. Who’s with me?


40 posted on 01/08/2014 4:20:38 PM PST by Bushbacker1 (Molon Labe! (Oathkeeper))
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To: ex-snook
Give us a clue. To do what?

Lead a Conservative agenda, not a faggoty, liberal, gun grabbing, federal government expanding, homo-fellating, NSA police state agenda like the fatass from NJ would if the donut eating lardass were to ever become president, which he won't because he's too busy groveling on his kness before obongo and fellow communist, The Boss.

41 posted on 01/08/2014 4:20:49 PM PST by Sirius Lee (All that is required for evil to advance is for government to do "something")
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To: nickcarraway
1) There is no way that Christie didn't know. His Senior Aide probably was acting under instructions.

2) I pray this puts a nail in the coffin for him to run for POTUS.

3) New Jersey really seems to be the Soprano State!

4) I hope he is forced to resign and we never have to hear from the blob of crap again.

42 posted on 01/08/2014 4:20:51 PM PST by hockeyfan44 (No more RINOS!!!)
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To: ObamahatesPACoal
Christie is a fat, handsome, big spending loud mouth.


43 posted on 01/08/2014 4:21:36 PM PST by Bushbacker1 (Molon Labe! (Oathkeeper))
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To: nickcarraway
Wow, Christie staff acting like democrats....who would have thunk...?
44 posted on 01/08/2014 4:23:41 PM PST by Popman ("Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God" - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: TexasFreeper2009
Think about that for a second.

This psycho and dozens more like him would give a tuition break to a criminal alien but not a legal citizen from a state next door.

Guys like Christie need to be rounded up and put in a goddamned insane asylum, not be running States.

Zero tolerance for lunatics.

45 posted on 01/08/2014 4:24:55 PM PST by Rome2000 (THE WASHINGTONIANS AND UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE ARE THE ENEMY -ROTATE THE CAPITAL AMONGST THE STATES)
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To: Popman
Wow, Christie staff acting like democrats....who would have thunk...?

I just spit out my drink!!! :D

46 posted on 01/08/2014 4:25:26 PM PST by hockeyfan44 (No more RINOS!!!)
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To: sunrise_sunset
How the heck did someone get a hold of private emails ?

A democratic state house member asked a judge to release them...

All government email is open to the sunshine...unless you report to the brown clown on 1600 Pennsylvania street...

47 posted on 01/08/2014 4:28:27 PM PST by Popman ("Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God" - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: grania
I'd go with Cruz/RandPaul. Conservatives like Palin a lot, but she'll scare away a lot of women who feel threatened by her commitment to ideals.

Why do so many people think that Sarah Palin would accept the second slot on a Republican ticket for the second time? Either she drives the bus or she stays home. Why subject her family to another round of that kind of feral liberal abuse to be the VICE-President?

48 posted on 01/08/2014 4:36:51 PM PST by Colonel_Flagg (Some people meet their heroes. I raised mine. Go Army.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

I won’t vote for Rand Paul even as VP


49 posted on 01/08/2014 4:37:17 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

-— Cruz/Palin 2016. Who’s with me? -—

Works for me.


50 posted on 01/08/2014 4:40:13 PM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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