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10 January 2014

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Charles

Col Lang,
When I was with the OIG I had the pleasure of visiting Ft Monmouth on several audits. On one visit I bought a tee shirt for my wife at the local mall. The words "New Jersey - Because Hell is Full" were emblazoned across the front. :-)

Actually the nearby seaside resort of Long Branch is quite nice. There are several excellent restaurants on the boardwalk.

I rarely have much to contribute but I really enjoy reading your BLOG. Thank you.

Regards,

Medicine Man

Col.: I think you are right about this. As I watched Christie shift the entirety of the blame onto his staffer (Bridget Kelly) and claim ignorance I realized that he has nothing to offer the 2-3 people who have been caught and can roll over on him.

I don't think we're going to see your theory about how well the "Joisy" attitude sells outside of Christie's state get tested in nation wide primaries; though I think you were probably right about that too.

rick

NY is for lovers; apparently NJ is for vengeful fat guys.

I have loathed this creature since he screwed the NJ state workforce out of their pensions. In NY, we just vote as a union to screw future workers, which aint much better, but at least we have noone else to blame.

Bye bye Chris Christie, bye bye. People may not know or by and large care about policy issues or pension funding, but they DO get traffic jams, and they can be expected to stay mad about it. I believe that a lady died because of delayed EMS response. I sure hope they stay mad.

Even without this, I don't see Tea Party republicans supporting him in any primary, so again, bye bye.

dan bradburd

So sad the James Gandolfini is dead. It would be priceless to see him play Christie in, I can't resist, "A Bridge Too Far."

optimax

Bridget Kelley was "the governor's liaison to other government agencies." She was the two way pipeline between Christie and his agencies--he had to have known and at the least consented to this childish retribution. What might keep Kelley from ratting out Christie is his deceased step-uncles high-level placement in the Genovese crime family.

JohnH

It's clear to me that Christie knew. The lane closures went on for four days, creating a traffic nightmare. And Christie didn't even bother to ask: "What's going on here?" Give me a break.

toto

Depressed enough yet? Well, chew on this: if Christie is out, it means that the next election is likely to turn into Yet Another Bush (Jeb) vs Clinton Contest.

"Hereditary dynasties? In MY republic? It's more likely than you think."

Edward Amame

The local media is having a field day with this. It's everywhere. My favorite story so far is about about how Christie stood up at a press conference in 2010 and announced the firing of his education commissioner for misleading him about giving missing info to the feds after a huge federal grant had been blown due to a clerical error. The next day the fired commissioner gave reporters e-mails directly contradicting Christie.

It's pretty apparent this guy has no allies in the press. Maybe he's roughed them up a little too much over the years. Now they're gleefully turning him into Nixon.

Edward Amame

In the press conference, Christie was specifically asked by a reporter if Bridget Kelly was allowed to make policy. His answer was no, that, as you said, she was a liaison. So she could not have initiated the closures. I believe her direct boss is Christie's chief of staff, who BTW, was just nominated by the gov to be NJ's attorney general.

Mark Logan

Optimix,

Clearly, Bridget The Bully thought the whole thing up. She has also apparently frightened Chris so deeply that he is "not interested" in her reasoning.

Batteredboss Syndrome, or "BS" for short.

VietnamVet

This episode is just another indication of the indifference our leaders have for the voters. For four days his constituents were stuck for hours and hours in traffic jams on George Washington Bridge by orders of his staff. He didn’t know what was going on and didn’t try to find out. More likely, he did know and didn’t care.

Stephanie

Or "Bring Me the Head of Bridget Kelly."

Christie didn't sound as if he cared much about his ex-aide's bruised feelings. He just tossed her in a ditch and buried her.

oofda

Wildstein refused to answer ANY questions other than give his name. He asserted his rights under the Fifth Amendment for every question, even when asked about whether parts had been redacted.
One fact that has not gotten much discussion is that the four-day traffic jam on the GWB took place during the 9/11 anniversary. USG and state officials are concerned about terrorist commenoration attacks, and the GWB, described is the busiest in the world, is one location cited as a potential target. To cause massive traffic jams in that location- and on that day- is unbelievably irresponsible. And criminal. And that is not even considering the 91-year old woman who died after emergency assistance was delayed in responding to her heart attack.

And today's release of several hundred emails has only raised further questions about Christie's participation- as well has his veracity.

Marco Naccio

While the overall level of schadenfreude in the media is vastly entertaining, I suspect Christie may well survive. Think back, if you will, to the Clinton-Lewinsky contretemps. Many said Bubba was toast; but contrary to such expectations he made it through the gauntlet.

Unless some truly incriminating emails emerge, or some other indictment-worthy evidence, Christie will stick around. In a perverse way, I'm almost hoping he does make it through, so that the voters in early primary states can deliver a truly punishing blow to his ego.

Walrus

Christies behaviour is entirely consistent with narcissism, they are great vengeful, haters with long memories.

Walrus

P.S. Christies behaviour is also entirely consistent with the Singaporean model of "democracy" - "unfortunate things" happen to geographic electorates who cross the ruling party.

turcopolier

MN

Clinton was already president. pl

turcopolier

Stephanie,
She is not dead. pl

steve

I agree with you concerning the media and its assuredness.

What saved Bubba was that the public saw the scandal as a partisan-driven power grab and, frankly, it didnt care that much anyway about Bubba's sex life as a political issue.

The day he was impeached, his approval rating hit 70%.

I think here, though, the media's and the public's views on Christie may be similar: extremely petty political vindictiveness.

rick

Not dead yet...

Alba Etie

Ewwwww ~ may be time to look seriously at third party nationally

Alba Etie

Yep - it one thing having a girlfriend while in public office - quite another to have first responders not being able to get to an emergency scene.

nick b

The reason I have problems believing Christie was personally involved in this was it's over the top ham-handedness. Christie knows petty paybacks. He stripped former Gov. Cody of his state police protection after a disagreement. I believe he also fired a relative of Cody's in the PA the same day. He's blocked pols from press conferences in their districts over disagreements, including former Republican Gov. Tom Kean. Payback is usually personally directed. That's how the game is played.

Messing with the traffic patterns of the George Washington Bridge and grid locking the boro of Ft Lee, for four days, and over the anniversary of 9/11 no less, just to get back at a mayor of town of 35,000 for lack of an endorsement just seems so far over the top, that it strains credulity. Christie may be petty, but he's not stupid.

Both Christie and Sokolich were pretty adamant that they didn't know each other (though they did got to Seton Hall law school together, hmmm.) I'm willing to bet that Sokolich has more of a relation to Bill Baroni and/or David Wildstein than he is letting on. (Sokolich obviously had Baroni's cell # as he was able to text him).

Even though it's hard for me to believe, it seems clear from reading through the emails and texts (posted on Mother Jones) that Sokolich really was the target of this mess. But why? No endorsement doesn't seem to me to be much of a slight, but the payback seems like a reaction to an enormous betrayal, because of its breadth and visibility. Something else is going on here, and I think it's between Sokolich and Bill Baroni. The only thing I can imagine is that Christie's people in the PA and his staff felt that they had done something for Sokolich that demanded his loyalty. It must've been a heavy lift too, based on the reaction to the 'betrayal'. I'm not sure what it is, but there's more to this story than we know. Of this, I am highly confident.

As for Christie, he's a smart fellow and as a former US attorney and NJ state AG, he knows his way around an investigation. He also has many strings to pull to be sure he survives this. Wildstein and Baroni have already lawyered up in a big way. With Wildstein hiring Newark's former Mayor Sharpe Jame's lawyer, and Baroni hiring a former asst US attny from Christie's old office. I don't know if this is a good or bad portent for Christie, but if I had to guess, Baroni will stay in the fold and Wildstein will be sacrificed.

Ultimately, Christie's fate will be decided on whether or not he knew anything about this. I would suspect he either didn't, or made it a point not to know, a la Sgt. Schultz. I don't see this damaging him too badly in NJ. Horrible traffic around the GWB (and the lincoln and the holland and the tappan zee) is just a fact of life in north Jersey. The bridge could have just as easily clogged up for four day over a series of unlucky traffic accidents. People will forget, and if he wants, Christie can probably govern NJ for at least another term or longer.

Being 51 years old, he doesn't have to run for President in this cycle. He could easily wait it out, and continue building his brand and softening his edges.

nick b

A NJ governor can only be elected for 2 consecutive terms, though there is no limit to the amount of terms one can serve. Christie will not be able to run for governor in the next cycle. My apologies for the error.

Tyler

Jersey is such a basket case of a state, and I wasn't looking forward to seeing Christie try to position himself for a run. Because the last time we ran a 'centrist' from the Northeast worked out really well for us. Signed an amnesty too - f-cking disgusting in light of the unemployment issues all around.

Good to see Christie getting a taste of the ol McCain treatment: They love him when he's a 'maverick' and then turn on him when there's blood in the water or he's fighting against a beloved Democrat.

Still, I'm amazed at the arrogance of the FedGov in pushing an "investigation" into this when STILL no one has been charged or indicted for the death of BPA Brian Terry due to Fast and Furious, or for stonewalling what happened during Benghazi, or any of the other scandals that have plagued this administration.

But a traffic jam in Jersey? Better get the DOJ on the case immediately.

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