wrote about the burgeoning Chris Christie scandal (please don’t
call it #bridgegate), involving the apparently retaliatory nature
of several lane closings on the George Washington Bridge last
September. Christie was accused of creating a traffic jam to get
back at the mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat who declined to endorse
him in his re-election bid. Christie initially
laughed off the allegations, claiming the lane closures were
part of a “traffic study.” My original first line for that blog
post was “Governor Chris Christie may have shown how Jersey
politics can rival the Chicago style,” but I excised it because,
well, the scandal was about Christie, not President Obama.
Nevertheless, perhaps I should have kept it. The petty,
retaliatory nature of the lane closure reminded me of something the
Obama White House might do, something like closing down open-air
spaces or websites because of a partial government shutdown or even
getting Tea Party groups audited. Now Christie has made a statement
expressing shock , shock!, that something like this happened under
his watch, using the kind of language of non-responsibility we’re
used to from the Obama Administration, a tactic
acknowledged and praised by red teamer Erick Erickson.
Christie’s full full statement,
via Scott Shackford’s post yesterday:
“What I’ve 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.”
For the first time, he learned it. Yesterday. Maybe he found out
reading about in
the Bergen Record! Or maybe he didn’t see it until it
hit the national newspapers! He is a big person, after all.
The excuse is ridiculous, with little merit. The traffic jam
happened in September. Christie
laughed off allegations that the lane closures were
retaliatory. Only faced with private messages to the contrary did
he finally muster an apology
acknowledgement (and denial of responsibility!) The
buck stops, somewhere else. Christie also received a resignation
from his top appointed official at the Port Authority in December.
Did Christie respond to that resignation by treating the
allegations as possibly being with merit? By all accounts, no. He
complained that Fort Lee has three lanes off the George
Washington Bridge dedicated to it in the first place.
When Christie initially relayed the excuse that the traffic jam
was caused by a “study,” the governor should’ve displayed more
curiosity about what was going on. If a government can implement a
study on the first week of school that creates a massive traffic
jam, what kind of limits on government power does the Republican
actually believe in?
Did Christie really see the bridge scandal for the first time
yesterday? If he’s referring specifically to the private messages,
that’s very well true. But if he means to say it’s the first time
he’s seen evidence that the lane closures at the GWB were
retaliatory, that’s either untrue or a display of how uninterested
in being a manager and leader Christie really is. Jesse Walker
explored more of what it means if Christie is telling the truth
earlier this morning, while the governor is going to talk to
the press again
later this morning, at 11am, about the scandal.
More Reason on Chris Christie.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/09/marvel-at-chris-christies-chicago-style