Thursday, January 09, 2014
Chris Christie - Has The Hindenburg Crashed?
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appears to be in some real trouble.
A couple of readers have asked for my take on this, but I was pretty much content to leave it alone in favor of stories and outside projects I felt were a lot more important then some tale of petty political revenge. That was especially true since my views on Governor Christie, especially as a presidential candidate are pretty well known and have been for some time.
But that was before I found out that these antics actually resulted in someone's death.That puts this in a whole other realm.
What happened here is that one of Governor Christie's top aides ordered the closing of the George Washington Bridge as a retaliation against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie in his re-election run for governor last year. That resulted in a 4 hour traffic delay, something Christie was pretty callous and disinterested about at the time.
This would have stayed hidden except that e-mails surfaced between Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs and David Wildstein, a long time Christie aide and New Jersey's Port Authority Director of Interstate Projects. check this out:
Unfortunately, the fall out wasn't just political.A woman died because of the politically motivated delays while waiting for EMS techs to get to her location through the traffic. As one of my attorney friends tells me, this is known as involuntary manslaughter and he'd be very surprised if the woman's family wasn't fielding non-stop calls from Jersey attorneys seeking to represent them in a lawsuit.
Christie originally said his office had nothing to do with the closures, something we now know was, well, pretty much one of those politically expedient falsehoods we've gotten used to in the Age of Obama.
After being caught out on that one, he was forced to talk to the media today. The new line? He apologized, but "Hey I didn't know nuthin'." He claims that he hardly ever even spoke to David Wildstein, someone he's been close friends with since high school and whom he personally appointed to the post of Port Authority Director.And now, since he's apologized, he wants us all to just move on, nothing to see here.
So, what does all this tell us about Governor Christie?
Not too much I wasn't aware of before, but this episode underlines it nicely.
For one thing, with him its all about theatrics and plausible deniability. Even if a few top aides went rogue and did this on their own (an unlikely story, but let's go with it) the governor is either guilty of gross incompetence and lousy judgement if he's telling the truth, and petty, Obama-like use of government for political revenge if he isn't and was in on this from the jump.The George Washington Bridge is not some small town two laner but a major commuter and commercial artery. A four hour closure is something that ordinarily would merit top priority from a governor, especially in a small state like New Jersey - unless it was something he okayed personally. If he didn't, than he obviously wasn't doing his job and was focused elsewhere, something we've also become accustomed to in the Age of Obama.Andthe fact that this stunt in the name of politics resulted in someone's death also strikes a familiar note..sort of a small scale version of Benghazi or Fast and Furious.
Obviously, there's are good reasons the governor and President Obama get along so well.
As I wrote elsewhere, the governor agrees with President Obama on all the major issues anyway. He's anti Second Amendment, (New Jersey has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation), pro amnesty for illegal migrants, pro abortion on demand, and on board for pretty much everything else that's part of Obama's agenda except the sanctity of the public employee unions. And even that was limited to a couple of famous YouTube clips. He even agrees with the president on ObamaCare, agreeing to accept Obamacare funding to expand Medicaid and reversing himself after declaring a year ago that it would be fiscally unsound.
And speaking of things fiscal, for all the rep Christie has as a fiscal conservative, New Jersey's official unemployment rate is still 8.4% (the real U-6 rate is over 10%), it's one of the highest taxed states in the country, and under Christie's stewardship, the state's debt rose by $6 billion in fiscal 2012, up 9 percent, to about $71 billion. last year ,with Moody's downgrading the state's bond outlook from stable to negative.
In other words, he's pretty much similar to Barack Obama with less of a tan and a slightly bigger resume.
In the event the GOP manages to strong arm the party's base and make him the 2016 Republican nominee, he'd be a real waste of effort - almost certainly a losing candidate because the base would stay home again, but an absolute nightmare in office if he managed to win somehow.
So if this scandal manages to end his presidential aspirations, consider that a blessing in disguise.