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10 January 2014

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Valissa

As is often the case, snark from The Onion highlights what people are really thinking about this political mess :)

Voters Shocked Christie Botched Such An Easy Political Cover-Up http://www.theonion.com/articles/voters-shocked-christie-botched-such-an-easy-polit,34909/

Medicine Man

That's what it looks like, but in truth she is taking the fall for him voluntarily. If this blows over and Christie survives, Kelly will be rewarded after she gets out of prison. Look to Mayor Daley's survival to see the parallels.

The reason I find Col. Lang's appraisal of Christie's chances compelling is the fact that the state legislature likely has three people dead to rights. It is a buyer's market for rats; a classic prisoner's dilemma. Our host's comment about rats not hanging together under fire was very precise.

Mark Logan

Walrus, I see vindictiveness as the line that separates benign from malignant narcissists. I suspect most of the benign can turn malignant too, when placed in an environment that encourages a sense of invulnerability, or perhaps allowing ends to justify means too easily.

Chris Christie, displaying something very close to a sense of invulnerability:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vzkKubbqzw#t=0

Would it be a huge surprise if this guy's imps started hatching their own little schemes?


robt willmann

A question is, how and by whom was this story about the bridge obstruction and Chris Christie first revealed or leaked? I have not followed this situation closely, but I read that some of the inquiry was in the New Jersey legislature, which I think is largely Democrat. Is there any information that a Democrat or the Democratic party was involved in getting the relevations out into the public, which could include, by extension, Bill and Hillary Clinton?

The whole thing does seem disconnected from reality. How is a "traffic study", apparently ordered by a port authority and not the mayor of the small community, which snarled up traffic on the bridge, going to harm that Democratic mayor who did not endorse Christie? But because of the special privileges the organization known as a government has, politics can, and does, bring out the worst in people. I guess it is theoretically possible that Christie or an assistant thought that he or she would teach the Democratic mayor a lesson and retaliate by causing traffic congestion that the mayor could not have ordered, as human beings have an unlimited capacity to be petty and vindictive.

Since Christie may be a presidential candidate, some political operators will want to knock him out before the 2016 election season begins. Remember what happened to Howard Dean? He was against the Iraq war, and both he and his wife are physicians. By the morning after the 2004 Democratic primary's Iowa caucuses, the audio of his speech and rah-rah yell to his enthusiastic and noisy supporters had been filtered and enhanced so that he sounded as if he was screaming in a quiet room, and the "talking point" that his yell meant he was crazy and unbalanced was everywhere in the media, including on the Internet Drudge report, and repeated constantly from that day forward. Dean's campaign never recovered. That political hit job was obviously coordinated through media organizations overnight.

Speaking of Dean, a friend who had been involved in national Republican politics in the 1960's through the 1970's told me as the 2004 campaign began and before the Iowa primary that Howard Dean as he appeared at that time was a formidable presidential candidate.

This bridge mess does not help Christie. Roger Stone, who has been a political operator for decades, and was close to Richard Nixon, worked in Reagan campaigns, and despised New York's Eliot Spitzer, thinks that this situation is very damaging to Christie--

http://www.stonezone.com/article.php?id=592

turcopolier

All

Story in the news today that the muscle was imposed in an effort to gain influence over the re-development acreage just south of the bridge in Ft. Lee. pl

nick b

Col.,

I didn't see the story, but if it's redevelopment zone no. 5, sometimes called the 'helmsley property', it has a long history. http://www.bergen.com/History_A_Mayor_with_Moxie.html

walrus

"The reason I have problems believing Christie was personally involved in this was it's over the top ham-handedness. .......

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."

One of the reasons Narcissists are so damaging is that their actions on occasion are so unreasonable, ham handed and incredible that normal people have trouble believing what they are seeing.

We struggle to invent rational explanations and fail every time. As a general rule, when you see a public figure performing a "for crying out loud, how could anyone be so dumb?" action, you are looking at a narcissist.

nick b

generally, I agree with you, though I still have a hunch there is a very specific reason for this "third rate traffic jam".

I would ask a chicken/egg question as we discuss cabbages and kings. Does narcissism come from power, or one must one possess it to obtain power?

Alba Etie

Supposed to be a billion dollar project

Stephanie

Mayor Sokolich has said that complaining callers told him that Port Authority police officers told them that the lane closures were the mayor's fault. Highly unlikely they would tell people that without instructions from above.

The story became a story largely due to the persisitence of reporter John Cichowski of The Record. Patrick Foye, a PA executive from the New York side, saw Cichowski's repeated inquiries and eventually ordered the lanes re-opened and called for an investigation. He noted the lane closings were in violation of both federal and state law. The New Jersey legislature has a Democratic leadership and naturally they took an interest. State Senator Loretta Weinberg represents Fort Lee, the affected community, and in the past Christie has encouraged reporters to "take a bat on" her.

It'll continue to be a story because a) the news cycle remains slow; 2) it plays into Christie's reputation for pettiness and bullying; 3) Christie's presser raised more questions than it answered; and 4) Christie's a potential Presidential candidate.

If the whole thing ended tomorrow Christie might not be hurt in the long run. I don't think it will go away, however.

Margaret Steinfels

Herewith the NYTimes take on Bridget Kelly. Sounds like the kind of life turmoil that might show up on Oprah (if she still exists!).
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/14/nyregion/aide-fired-by-christie-is-called-loyal-team-player-not-rogue-operative.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0

Edward Amame

The Abury Park Press reports that there's a federal probe that's now looking into into possible irregularities involving the post-Sandy NJ tourism spots that ran all this past summer (before the election) and that starred the governor and his family.

The APP has been doing some reporting on this story itself and this one's good:

http://www.app.com/article/20140113/NJNEWS1002/301130024?nclick_check=1

The local press is all over Christie.

Fred

Plenty of room and incentive in a billion dollar project. All the more reason for demanding integrity in elected officials and thier subordinate staffers.

Mark Logan

Fred,

The "large project" theory seems to fit with the WSJ's odd rage. Odd in that it is against one of their own favorites, Christie.

If the bankers who have spent years crafting the funding of this project believed they were on the verge of collecting their fees think this stunt was intended to screw with it happening...

Fred

Mark,

This is just one of many. Think of all the low level staffers and other carreer political science types who are being taught that not only are stunts like this okay, but that the proper method of sourcing projects is via political connections, not compettitve bidding.

nick b

Fred and Mark,

The history of this property is long and tawdry. But consider a few things: The developers were chosen by mayor/council of Fort Lee, not the Governor's office. Their reasons were public, and seem reasonable and businesslike, at least to me.

The 'the modern' project is a SJP development, or Steven J Pozycki development. He is one of, if not the largest developer in the state of NJ. His developments in Hoboken have been very successful, and shortly after the traffic jam (9/16), he had a very public press conference with Christie and others to announce that the Panasonic corp would be moving into one of his developments in Newark. This was a fairly big deal for Newark. These projects, like the Fort Lee project, have been funded by SJP's traditional banker: Prudential real estate.

I also believe that Mr. Pozycki is the son of Harry Pozycki, a former politician turned anti corruption citizen activist who was the force behind NJ's 'pay to play' laws.

The other project: 'Hudson lights' is an amalgam of developers including out of state Tucker development, Kushner real estate(not Jared, his cousin) and Tishman construction from NYC. Their financing came from Santander (formerly Sovereign bank).

None of these people are particularly big donors to any political party with the exception of Tishman. Though all seem to favor Democrats in what small bits of political donations they give.

I keep looking for clues in these projects as to what could have prompted this scandal, but I keep coming up empty.

Anyway, Fred, I think the process looked pretty clean and deliberate for this development. I'm guessing low level staffers and political science types are scratching their heads like the rest of us.

Mark, is Christie really one of WSJ's 'own'? Or perhaps they have someone else in mind for 2016 and don't mind publishing Christie's problems?

Mark Logan

nick b,

Thanks for the reply and the information. I considered him one of WSJ's "own" purely on the letter behind his name.

I believe the logic of the "big project" theory lays in the intended target still being the city itself.

The only way this theory makes any sense (to me)is as a plot to spook the developers by making them worry that they would not be able to sell the units. At a critical time during the negotiations, leading them to suspect access to it was a nightmare for commuters might do that. All damage done to the bankers and developers themselves would be purely collateral.

Jonathan

Here we are, three weeks to the day after this was posted here and the answer is yes and the person is David Wildstein.
New York Times:
Ex-Port Authority Official Says ‘Evidence Exists’ Christie Knew About Lane Closings
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/01/nyregion/christie-bridge.html?ref=nyregion

turcopolier

Jonathan It was always just a rhetorical question. Wildstein must have made some sort of deal. There will now be a rush to inform on the fat guy. pl

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