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New Jersey Nixon

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I haven’t written about the forced traffic jams in Fort Lee because, while the speculation that it was done for political revenge against Fort Lee’s anti-Christie mayor was plausible there wasn’t really any evidence to support it.  Well, that’s changed:

A series of newly obtained emails and text messages shows that Gov. Chris Christie’s office was closely involved with lane closings on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge in September, and that officials closed the lanes in what appeared to be retribution against the mayor whose town was gridlocked as a result.

Mr. Christie has insisted that his staff and his campaign office had nothing to do with the local lane closings, and said that they were done as part of a traffic study.

But the emails show that Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff in Mr. Christie’s office, gave a signal to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to close the lanes about two weeks before the closings occurred.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” she emailed David Wildstein, Mr. Christie’s close friend from high school, and one of his appointees at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge.

[…]

The mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, is a Democrat and did not endorse Mr. Christie. In the emails and texts released Wednesday, Mr. Christie’s staff and appointees were gleeful when the abrupt lane closings gridlocked the town for four days, beginning with the first day of school and including the anniversary of Sept. 11. Mr. Sokolich, who had not been informed of the closings, texted the governor’s top appointee at the Port Authority asking for “help” because the lane closings were making children on buses late to school.

“Is it wrong that I am smiling?” Mr. Wildstein texted Ms. Kelly.

“No,” she texted back.

“I feel badly about the kids,” he texted.

“They are the children of Buono voters,” she said, referring to Mr. Christie’s Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono, who was trailing consistently in the polls and lost by a wide margin.

This unnecessary damage inflicted on Fort Lee residents and other commuters and travelers is classically Nixonian in that it was bullying as an end in itself, not for any real political purpose. Christie’s re-election was not going to depend on getting the endorsement of the mayor of Fort Lee and was not in any doubt in any case. He did it because he can. You can see why he’s such a darling in the Republican Party…

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  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Some people just like throwing their weight around.

    • Malaclypse

      Just like it is incredibly easy to criticize Sarah Palin without being sexist, it is incredibly easy to criticize Christie without making fun of his weight.

      • Schadenboner

        I agree. Snarki’s comment shows an inappropriate understanding of the gravity of the situation.

        • Joey Maloney

          Careful, we don’t want the pun run to reach critical mass.

          • kindness

            Good luck with that punk Christi’s run for Prez.

            • socrets

              He’ll probably run out of breath in the primaries.

        • It’s really all just a flap.

          • Manju

            But this flap prevents him from seeing what his staff is doing.

            • Gregor Sansa

              Why did you have to go and be creative? I agree with Isopod that we shouldn’t be stooping to fat-baiting. But it’s so much easier to deplore when it’s just stupid name-calling or half-hearted double-entendres like the earlier comments. But this one actually made me LOL; how can I deplore it now?

              I guess I’ll just have to be large enough to contain multitudes on this issue.

              • So you’ll swallow a pride or two?

                • ok, let’s all settle down. take a moment, stop and relax, no more fighting.

                  here’s let’s all listen to one of my favorite songs

                  the band

      • Origami Isopod

        Seriously.

        Fatphobia, in addition to being obnoxious on its own, has connections to classism, racism, and misogyny. I’m really tired of seeing progressives resort to it.

        • Schadenboner

          What a coincidence. So does Chris Christie.

          • Origami Isopod

            So, IOW, because it mocks someone we don’t like, that makes it okay that it also mocks many innocent people?

            You know, kind of like sexism and Sarah Palin?

          • Ian

            What a coincidence. So does Chris Christie.

            On the contrary, I don’t think fat jokes hurt his support at all. Quite the opposite if anything. Cheap shots tend to build sympathy for their target.

            I’m reminded of the cheap shots that the Canadian progressive conservatives took at Jean Chretien’s facial paralysis right before their party was destroyed in the 1993 elections.

        • Alex

          Totally agree.

          But I don’t think liberals (and most Americans, not really a political issue) “resort” to fatphobia so much as “revel” in it. Hatred builds group identity and makes people feel more secure about themselves. If it’s fat people who are ugly and lazy, then the speaker is not ugly and lazy.

          • Tristan

            If it’s fat people who are ugly and lazy, then the speaker is not ugly and lazy.

            Counterpoint: these comments are being made on the internet.

        • Manju

          Ok, I’m not a progressive but I am nonetheless duly chastened on that front.

        • JL

          Agreed. I have no other useful things to say in this subthread but wanted to back you up.

        • Fatophobia directed at poor people, black people, and women has a huge element of classism but fat slurs aimed at important white men? Governors? No. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes an insult is just an insult. Diamond Jim Brady, most important men of the last centuries, and Santa Claus have all been enormous. A big belly and a gargantuan appetite has (except when Republicans look at Bill Clinton) been seen as an important sign of power. Chris Christie uses his size and his affect to intimidate–its part of his super machismo shtick. It has in no way limited him and does not signify at all that he is “lower class” or oppressed by the upper class.

          • potsherds

            Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes an insult is just an insult.

            Sometimes a cunt is just a cunt?

            I’m really quite puzzled at how man folks are implicitly or explicitly insisting that fat-hatred and mockery of fat people exists in a void/is devoid of social context. This seems like intersectionality 101, to me. Fat hatred is, in and of itself, discrimination, particularly in relation to healthcare quality and access. It also intersects greatly with sexism, classism and racism. It should not be expressed in a progressive space.

            It’s also just astounding to me that the many hilarious folks in this space resort to such pathetically unfunny jabs when I’m sure there are much cleverer ways to mock Christie.

            Fatophobia directed at poor people, black people, and women has a huge element of classism but fat slurs aimed at important white men?
            …Fat slurs aimed at important white men are not devoid of the context of fat hatred in society, and compound the problem, regardless of the specific person being mocked in this instance.

            • OK, we disagree. I think that fat slurs directed at powerful men are counter-cultural, actually and not part of some kind of free floating fat shaming/upper class warfare on the poor. Male bodies are not female bodies. White bodies are not black bodies. Chris Christie’s body is not the same as a lower class person’s body within the US cultural context. I don’t think fat jokes are interesting and I don’t think they can substitute for a political critique but sometimes, as in Tbogg’s infamous “the outlaw jersey whale” they are just incredibly irresistable puns that are almost empty of specific content.

              • Now I am really confused.

                Calling out Sarah Palin as a Bill Clinton equivalent regarding promiscuity is unforgivably sexist, but calling out an overweight white male for his girth is fine because the jokes almost write themselves?

                Wow.

                Just WOW!

                • How did Sarah Palin get into this? I think the situations are completely different and I don’t think I’ve compared them at all. Female political figures can be degraded by sexual history jokes and fat jokes, male politicians can’t be, or not to the same degree. They just can’t. A female politician who “sleeps around” is, famously, a slut while a male politician who sleeps around can be seen as an alpha male. Ditto for fat. Christie, culturally speaking, benefits from a culture that regards fat men (potentially) as dominant, powerful, controlling, self assured. Clinton didn’t and the kinds of jokes that were told about Clinton (and the kinds of people who told them) were entirely different. Jokes about clinton’s weight were, in fact, “classed” and he was attacked as lower class but Christie isn’t. Thats just the fact. Different people get treated differently and their bodies get treated differently in political culture. Its not all one big tub-o-culture in which everything is the same.

                • Christie, culturally speaking, benefits from a culture that regards fat men (potentially) as dominant, powerful, controlling, self assured.

                  I really have to disagree, Aimai. It’s pretty clear that in the general US Culture that being fat does not make a man appear more of any of those things. I’m pretty sure class doesn’t shield you (though being lower class changes the valences). Consider Orsen Wells. Or Rush Limbaugh (Franken’s book was entitled “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot”). I grew up in a upper middle class to upper class neighborhood and I got plenty of grief external and internal for being rather mildly overweight. Men do tent to perceive themselves as underweight, but as a negative and the desired stat isn’t fat but ripped/muscular.

                  Here are some interesting tidbits, including:

                  The rate of eating disorders among college men ranges from 4-10%. A recent study on a large university campus found that the female-to-male ratio of positive screens for eating disorder symptoms was 3-to-1 (Eisenburg, Nicklett, Roeder, & Kirz, 2011).

                  Large scale surveys concluded that male body image concerns have dramatically increased over the past three decades from 15% to 43% of men being dissatisfied with their bodies; rates that are comparable to those found in women (Garner, 1997; Goldfield, Blouin, & Woodside, 2006; Schooler & Ward, 2006).

                  In adolescent and college samples, between 28% and 68% of normal-weight males perceive themselves as underweight and report a desire to increase their muscle mass through dieting and strength training (McCabe & Ricciardelli, 2004; McCreary & Sadava, 2001).

                  Men, while also influenced by our culture’s over-valuing of thinness, are often more concerned with a combination of issues related to weight, body shape and function (e.g. strength). Generally, men believe they need to be both lean and muscular to meet perceived societal expectations.

                  Media exposure to male body ideals as well as comparison of oneself to these ideals are positively correlated with the drive for muscularity in men (Leit, Gray, & Pope, 2002; Morrison, Morrison, & Hopkins, 2003).

                  The muscularity of ideal male body representations has increased from the 1970s to 1990s (Labre, 2005). These portrayals present an extremely, and largely unattainable, muscular ideal male body type (Lever, Frederick, & Peplau, 2006; Schooler & Ward, 2006), which is equivalent to the unattainable thin female ideal perpetuated by Barbie dolls (Olivardia, Pope, Borowiecki, & Cohane, 2004).

                  I don’t think it’s as extreme as for women and the modalities are definitely different, but I don’t think being fat has the same sort of positive valences for men that, say, being promiscuous has. It seems to be a pure negative.

                • Rigby Reardon

                  Christie, culturally speaking, benefits from a culture that regards fat men (potentially) as dominant, powerful, controlling, self assured.

                  Speaking as a fat man myself, I would just like to say that you must be out of your fucking mind if you really believe that’s how American culture sees us.

                  Normally I think you’re one of the most insightful commenters on the Internet, Aimai, but you are so far off on this one it hurts.

              • Ed

                Christie, culturally speaking, benefits from a culture that regards fat men (potentially) as dominant, powerful, controlling, self assured.

                That culture may have existed at one time but now we’re in the gym rat era, where obesity is a moral failing. Christie’s weight has hurt him politically, not helped him, certainly as far as his White House ambitions have been concerned. I take the point that making fun of a fat white guy is not quite the same as making fun of fat poor people or a fat woman (given the particularly fraught issue weight is for women in our society),but isn’t it better just to give the fatty jokes a rest? Christie has gone on various diets and had surgery to try to satisfy what the culture demands of him. Enough already.

              • etv13

                But here’s the thing: you can say it’s “directed at Christie,” but he’s not the only one who hears it (if he even hears it at all). If it isn’t really, really witty (“the outlaw Jersey whale” might qualify), it’s just not worth the collateral damage.

                • Rigby Reardon

                  he’s not the only one who hears it

                  This, absolutely this, and it’s why the Palin sexism comparison mentioned earlier is absolutely appropriate IMO.

              • Lee Rudolph

                I’ve just done a little survey of the more easily available slang dictionaries and dictionaries of idioms. “To throw one’s weight around” has only been used for a bit more than 100 years; it originally (and still, to me, before this thread anyway) meant “to exert one’s authority unduly; to boast or swagger” (Eric Partridge). It seems pretty clear from the example texts in the Oxford English Dictionary that “weight” (in that usage) was, from the beginning, figurative—a physical stand-in for the more abstract notion of “authority” (which fits with Aimai’s analysis very nicely). On that understand—which I know is not universally shared here (or even held in common by a plurality of posters, as far as I can see), Snarki’s original comment, that “Some people just like throwing their weight around”, was a (very!) witty play on words, making use of Christie’s universally acknowledged large mass but not mocking it as such, nor denigrating him (much less anyone other than he who does not “exert authority unduly”) for being massive.

            • Ronan

              yeah i think context matters as well. even on the word c**t doesnt context matter? for example if i call a male friend an old c**t, just like an old bollocks, as a sign of endearnment .. ?

              • Ronan

                I mean its hurtful to other people when you make out that being overweight is something to be ashamed about, thats an argument against it afaict
                but the idea that calling a rich white man fat reinforces negatives racist and class seterotypes strikes me as completely counterintuitive

                • Tom Servo

                  But think of it in the larger context. Who cares who, precisely, we’re talking about? Language is very important. When you call someone a fatass, (or cunt, or whatever else), you’re using the language of oppression. And when you start parsing it, when do you stop? It becomes harder to say that it’t not okay to use it in other contexts, it partially legitimizes the use of oppressive language. Tear in the canvas and all that.

                • Ronan

                  yeah i agree, I generally wouldnt use fat as an insult b/c its unnecessarily hurtful to people, i think, though had never before tied it into things like class and race (it doesnt fall along class lines as much where i grew up and the country was largely mono-racial at the time – certainly not racialised)
                  C**t i had beaten out of me by my mother, although I do fall into it now again, but as mentioned above in the context among friends – although I dont really think that justifies it.
                  There are better words to use of course

              • Lee Rudolph

                “Cunt” is one of the words where American usage diverges sharply from usage (of the same word) in Great Britain and Ireland. Don’t try that over here, please.

                • Ronan

                  I dont think its *as acceptable* as some people (who use it regularly) make out, but its certainly used often enough – primarilyon england it seems

                • Ronan

                  as accepted, would be better. in terms of society wide

      • Yep. Here we have a vengeful dickwad of a human being who pulled an economically damaging and potentially life-threatening problems because Sokolich didn’t give him a tongue bath.

        I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’d be a vengeful dickwad of a human being even if he were built like a willow wand. But who even has time to comment on this shart stain’s BMI?

        • problems stunt.

        • Alex

          Who? People who think that being fat is literally worse than anything else Christie does. The “There are so many other things to criticize Christie for” comments (from other people) miss the point: for fat-haters, being fat is really the gravest sin.

          • Origami Isopod

            Yyyyyyep!

            And, yes, there are fat people here making those jokes too. As I alluded to below, there are women who defend sexist jokes, too, but that doesn’t mean those defenses merit serious consideration.

            • Pat

              Oh my god, are you saying that people who comment on the internets might be overweight???

              Oh my god, look at myself!

          • joe from Lowell

            Who? People who think that being fat is literally worse than anything else Christie does.

            Wait wait wait wait…you think the people making fun of Christie’s weight on this thread are doing so because he’s fat, and not because they dislike his politics?

            Am I understanding you right?

            You’re not saying “Making fun of someone’s weight because you dislike their politics is wrong.” You’re saying, “They’re only making fun of Christie’s weight because he’s fat, not his politics.”

            Tell me if I’ve been left with the wrong impression.

            • rea

              It’s not so much that you have the wrong impression, it’s that you’re from Lowell, and therefore silly. ;)

            • Tom Servo

              I see what you’re saying, but is the distinction really relevant when, at the end of the day, they’re still using the sorts of harmful words that perpetuate fat phobia? I mean, Stalin is worthy of derision, but I would object to him being called a “faggot.” Not because of the harm done to him, obviously. But making those comments acceptable as long as the target in question is “bad enough” harms everyone within the class, in a small way.

              • Tom Servo

                Never mind joe, I completely misread your comment

        • Karen

          There are so many street and traffic puns available here; we can easily avoid obnoxious fat references.

          Also, what others have said about fat hate being decidedly Not Okay.

      • brad

        He has, however, all but made his weight an issue at one or two moments, at least in terms of being so lazy that it’s almost impossible to believe some of that girth is due to be selfishly overindulgent.
        In particular I’m thinking of the time he took a helicopter to his son’s little league game, and had a state car driven there to take him the couple hundred yards from the landing site to the bleachers.
        There’s no excuse for fat shaming, full stop.
        But sometimes we also wear our flaws on our sleeves for the world to see.

        • brad

          Let me clarify so as to maybe sound less hypocritical.
          I’m not saying that “look at that fat bastard waddle” is an appropriate response to something like Christie’s limo ride I mentioned above.
          But he’s a politician. He has to be aware of the optics, and he chose not to give a shit.

          • I actually disagree with that–“he has to be aware of the optics and he chose not to give a shit” seems just backwards to me and not at all a defense against the accusation that this is pointless fat/lazy shaming. The important optics are that he wastes public resources taking a helicopter to his kids game and appears to think that he is too important to walk 50 feet–which could just as easily be his way of avoiding the public. But if he needs to do those things because he is literally, physically, incapable of walking the 50 feet then you ought to feel as ashamed of dinging him for it as you would for criticizing FDR for needing his wheelchair.

            • brad

              Fair point, except I don’t think it was right for FDR to have hidden that, and if Christie’s condition is actually that extreme then he’s hiding it for similar reasons. I’m glad of the outcome inre FDR, but I still don’t feel it was the proper action to take. Especially when Eleanor became defacto President. That I’m glad she did doesn’t mean I’m happy about the process.
              If Christie is lazy and self indulgent, it’s a fair point to criticize in a public official. If he’s hiding the nature to which his girth creates legitimate medical concerns, then he’s lying to the public for a different kind of concern over optics.

              • Eleanor never became “defacto president”–do you have her confused with Edith Wilson?

                • brad

                  Possibly, and I’m also thinking of general references in culture to her taking on a significant share of the responsibility for immediate decision in the final few months.

        • Origami Isopod

          But sometimes we also wear our flaws on our sleeves for the world to see.

          People’s bodies aren’t “flaws.” Full stop.

      • Fat chance!

    • TribalistMeathead

      It’s funny because he’s fat.

      • njorl

        As a fat man, I can assure you that some things are funny because I’m fat.

        Not many, but some.

        • Origami Isopod

          And as a fat woman, I don’t agree with you.

          • Schadenboner

            And speaking as (another) fat man I don’t think you have any particular right to speak for me or to rule certain classes of comment “in” or “out”. I didn’t vote for you as ombudsman for fat people.

            Go clutch your pearls elsewhere.

            • Origami Isopod

              And speaking as (another) fat man I don’t think you have any particular right to speak for me or to rule certain classes of comment “in” or “out”.

              That’s about as valid as a woman coming in here to say, “Well, I didn’t see any sexism in those Palin jokes, so don’t tell me I can’t make them.” Just because they don’t offend you doesn’t mean they’re not shitty.

              Go clutch your pearls elsewhere.

              Thanks for the sexist metaphor!

              • Self-Parody Awards, 2013

                Thanks for the sexist metaphor!

                I don’t know if you’re going to win, but it’s an honor just to be nominated.

                • Denverite

                  It’s 2014.

                • Self-Parody Awards, 2013

                  We hold the ceremony in January, because some of the best performances come out during the holidays.

                • sharculese

                  Jenny, please don’t hold a fake awards ceremony for us. That’s too much icing on the sadness cake.

                • Self-Parody Awards, 2013
                • sharculese

                  Welp, I guess if she didn’t point a sexist turn of phrase one time see must be a total fraud! That is just some perfect reasoning!

                • MPAVictoria

                  The phrase “clutching pearls” isn’t a sexist metaphor at all. If anything it is a classist one.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Unlike you, Jennie, I actually get off the computer occasionally, if only to use the toilet. So I don’t catch everything and anything that pisses me off on any particular blog.

                • DrS

                  The phrase “clutching pearls” isn’t a sexist metaphor at all. If anything it is a classist one.

                  And if, if, it’s classist, it’s kicking up, not down.

                • MPAVictoria

                  “And if, if, it’s classist, it’s kicking up, not down.”
                  Exactly!

                • The phrase “clutching pearls” isn’t a sexist metaphor at all. If anything it is a classist one.

                  Interestingly, it seems to stem (in modern usage) from a rather extreme gay male sterotyping segment on In Living Color.

                  It’s quite complex, but I tend to avoid it.

            • I don’t see where she’s speaking for you or doing anything other than expressing the opinion that these comments are unnecessary and obnoxious.

              Go clutch your boner elsewhere.

            • efgoldman

              Hell, as not only fat, but old, white, and angry I actually *reserve and claim* the right to snark on Christie in any way I like, for anything I don’t like. Screw him and you (Alex).

              • MPAVictoria

                +1

                If I can’t laugh I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I didn’t realize “don’t laugh at markers of oppression” meant “don’t laugh, period.”

                • But can you dance?

                • MPAVictoria

                  Eh I find funny what I find funny. Plus Christie is a jerk so I am not going to feel too bad for him.

                • Marc

                  Or, alternatively, hypersensitive people looking for an excuse to get angry don’t get to set my boundaries. Reasonable people do. And this is coming across as hypersensitive and controlling behavior.

                • MPAVictoria

                  Marc said it better than me.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Hilarious, that Marc the Tone Troll is calling anyone else “hypersensitive.” Slurs against oppressed groups? A-OK. Too much “aggression” or too many “f-bombs” (fuck, how I hate that euphemism)? ZOMG INCIVILITY!!

                • Marc

                  Let’s see. When you chastise people for the words they use we’re supposed to take you very very seriously. But I’m a “tone troll” because I called you on your serial verbal bullying.

                  So you get to dictate what other people get to say but you’re immune to any criticism, because it comes from “tone trolls.” Nice double standard if you can pull it off.

          • njorl

            There’s no doubt that society is much crueler to overweight women than men.

          • njorl

            When Dave Chappelle played a blind, black, KKK author of hate books, it was funny because he was black.

            When Walter Matthau tried to convince Tatum O’Neal to wear a jockstrap in “Bad News Bears” it was funny because she was a girl.

            When Cyrano de Bergerac lists 100 insults for his large nose which are superior to the one he just had cast at him, it is funny because he has a large nose.

            Such humor is possible. It is probably only possible because of other people’s poor attitudes, but it is possible none the less.

            • Those things are funny because they were done (or written) by funny people.

              When (for example) a black guy does himself up like Obama for the amusement of Republicans, his unfunny schtick isn’t made funny by the fact he’s black.

            • steve

              What group is the butt of the joke? Disadvantaged/oppressed people? Congratulations…you are a spokesperson for the status quo.

              If they appear to be the butt of the joke until you notice the sarcasm/irony, that is satire.

            • Ronan

              Chappelle was also an (upper?) middle class black american traded primarily in caricatures used against the working class.. i liked Chappelle and know that he did put some thought into his routine and cared whether it was reinforcing racial sterotypes, but generally he wasnt reinforcing sterotypes he associated himself with afaict

    • Ronan

      Im surprised at the idea of fat jokes as being ‘classist and racist’ though it makes sense when I think about it a contemporary context. IIRC being overweight was historically always a sign of being wealthy and so was certainly a caricature used against the elite, i assume domestically in the US but certainly in anti colonial propaganda afaicr.

      • Katya

        That changed, though, in much the way that being tanned went from marker of lower class (working in the outdoors rather than in an office or not having to work at all) to a marker of higher class (having the leisure time to golf or play tennis or lay around on the beach).

        • Exactly. Being overweight is associated with sloth and greed.

        • Tristan

          I think it’s somewhat apocryphal, but I’ve been lead to believe the first diet craze (or ‘reducing’ as they called it then) in the USA was set off because President Taft got stuck in his bathtub and decided he had to lose weight. Like how Kennedy didn’t wear a hat (which is why the hat industry killed him).

  • I want to apologize to Stephen King. I have been describing Chris Christie as “the real-life Greg Stillson” for well over a year.

    The truth is that King’s character has too much redeeming value to be compared to The Irredeemable One.

  • wjts

    Take THAT, Richard Feder!

  • Davis X. Machina

    So, does Nixon’s Law — the GOP presidential nod goes to the best hater — guarantee a Christie nomination?

    • No because as SteveM just pointed out at no more mr nice blog christie just signed some progressive legislation for new jersey dresmers and had his photo taken with a dark skinned dreamer and not in a creepy phil robertson “will you pick my ducks” kind of way.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I think they finally get to run Goldwater instead of all these loser Rockefellers. who the new Reagan would be in the re enacting of their creation myth I have no idea

      • Kurzleg

        Stephen Baldwin? (Or as Kevin Pollak refers to him, Bible Boy.)

    • UserGoogol

      That seems like a deeply spurious assumption. If that was the case I imagine Pat Buchanan would have won the Republican nomination one of the times he tried.

  • Alex

    I await the #slatepitch that this will help out Christie in 2016 somehow.

    My prediction — Republicans will want to vote for a Republican that knows how to punish Democrats, just like Obama has been doing to them (IRS scandal etc).

    There’s already Weigel predicting that this will push Christie towards the Presidential election because New Jersey’s legislature is run by Democrats. — http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2014/01/08/_time_for_some_traffic_problems_in_fort_lee.html

    • TribalistMeathead

      I think that’s a little much for Slate. Even the Romney Presidential team was able to figure out his bullying wouldn’t be good for the ticket.

      • MAJeff

        I’m imagining Slate pulling out the speech from Sideshow Bob Roberts.

      • rm

        #slatepitch: Romney should have picked Christie, it would have been a game changer.

    • njorl

      It will help in the primaries and with fundraising. Republicans were worried that Christie’s cooperation with Obama after Sandy might indicate that he had compassion for people in general. This reassures them that he is willing to pointlessly inflict hardship on “the other” for no good reason. Helping all of New Jersey after Sandy was an unfortunate necessity for helping “his” people.

      • TribalistMeathead

        I would guess they’re more worried about him straying off-message during a national campaign, either to benefit himself and his future political career or to spite someone one else (or, in the case of the post-Sandy praise for Obama, both).

      • N__B

        Fort Lee is, to the best of my knowledge, pretty white and middle-Americanish. Is having a D mayor enough to other the town?

        • Schadenboner

          According to Bridget Anne Kelly is very clearly is.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Wikipedia sez (summarizing the 2010 census):

          The racial makeup of the borough was 53.49% (18,905) White, 2.75% (973) Black or African American, 0.14% (50) Native American, 38.44% (13,587) Asian, 0.02% (7) Pacific Islander, 3.08% (1,090) from other races, and 2.07% (733) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.97% (3,877) of the population.[8] Korean Americans accounted for 23.5% of the 2010 population.[8]

          This compares to the state as a whole:

          68.6% White American
          13.7% African American
          0.3% Native American
          8.3% Asian American
          6.4% other races
          2.7% Multiracial American

          And, obscure but interesting,

          As of March 2011 about 2,500 Japanese-Americans combined live in Edgewater and Fort Lee; this is the largest concentration of Japanese-Americans in New Jersey.[52]

          There were 1,119 Fort Lee residents who filed claims to recover lost money from the Madoff investment scandal, the most from any ZIP code.[53]

          So: much less “white” (but also much less “black”) and perhaps less “middle-Americanish” than the state as a whole.

          • I stand corrected.

            In my defense for being wrong, I’ve been on foot there maybe four times and driven through on I-80 maybe a couple of dozen more. So I know it more by reputation than by firsthand experience.

          • Hanspeter

            Ft. Lee is also the mecca of all things Korean in NJ. I know people who come from Albany and Philly to get stuff there. Excellent restaurants, and nice walk across the GWB from Washington Heights.

            • The walk is beautiful, but I always make an immediate right-hand turn and enjoy myself in the Palisades Park rather than go into the town.

        • rea

          I ask below, “Can’t they even be competant sociopaths?” and this is another aspect of that. How the heck is a massive traffic jam on the bridge going to hurt the mayor?

        • DrS

          From my experience, all it takes is that (D), except for the ultra hawks like Lieberman.

          They other GOPers themselves now.

        • PSP

          It has a bad nick name of Fort Rhee, based on Korean immigrants.

  • Apparently, the Sopranos was taken as an executive guide to public administration. One suspects there may be a few….voters…buried in the Meadowlands.

  • joe from Lowell

    “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” she emailed David Wildstein

    What a maroon.

    She didn’t have a quiet conversation. She wrote it up, and sent it as an email.

    • rea

      That’s one of the things that amazes me about this. Can’t they even be competant sociopaths?

      • Rob

        Check out what one of Scott Walker’s aide in Milwaukee County wrote in email:
        http://www.wkow.com/story/20137690/former-walker-aide-sentenced

      • efgoldman

        Can’t they even be competent sociopaths?

        Especially when they have the excellent example of W’s staff, who “lost” a whole bunch of emails that may have been inconvenient. I’m sure if they’d looked in the same White House cupboard where Nixon’s 18-minute gap was stored, they’d have found ’em.

      • Matt

        Covering one’s tracks requires at least some sort of operational moral compass to recognize that there’s something worth covering up.

    • ChrisS

      It was just some locker room humor as a fraternity prank and people just need to lighten up about it. The lanes were going to be closed anyway and a paperwork shuffle (thanks to pointless government redtape) led to the mayor not being informed.

      Or something like that.

  • AcademicLurker

    Christie, Palin…what is it about GOP governors and bridges?

  • cpinva

    this also shows Christie’s weakness in hiring subordinates, people stupid enough to put this stuff in writing, electronically. geez, what a bunch of maroons!

    • Karen

      I feel sorry for her. I have no doubt someone told her to make this happen, but that person isn’t going to suffer any consequences for ordering a flunky to sign her name to his dirty work.

      • FLRealist

        I don’t feel sorry for her. One assumes she has some sort of conscience – she needed to apply it. I have refused to do something for my boss that I believed was unethical. It’s not impossible, and I didn’t even get fired for it.

      • Karate Bearfighter

        As deputy chief of staff for Christie, she’s pretty far up the political food chain. This is not a career civil servant who was told to do something unethical; this is a career political operative and Republican hack who has her job because she’s a nasty piece of work. I don’t feel remotely sorry for her.

        • What karate Bearfighter said. This woman seems to have gleefully entered into doing this instead of,for example, refusing to do it.

      • Katya

        She didn’t just “sign her name,” though, did she? She seemed to be enjoying it. “They are the children of Buono voters” is not the line of a poor flunky going along under protest.

    • NewishLawyer

      Any litigator can tell you about their day being made or ruined by people putting something in writing especially e-mail.

  • kindness

    Not to go off topic but who needs a good Ned Stark gotcha?

    Balloon Juice has a thread w/a Ned pic & caption that is timely.

  • Tyto

    In addition to these emails, a natural follow-up to the claim of a traffic study would have been, “show us the proposal, and show us the resulting study.” I can’t see anything in the story that indicates there ever was one (shocking, I know).

    • rea

      “The fact is, I didn’t know Fort Lee got three dedicated lanes until all this stuff happened, and I think we should review that entire policy because I don’t know why Fort Lee needs three dedicated lanes to tell you the truth,” Christie said at a Dec. 2 press conference. “And I didn’t even know it until this whole, you know, happening went about.”

      He added later: “The fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it, that kind of gets me sauced.”

      http://www.northjersey.com/news/christie_kelly_bridge_lane_closures_emails.html

      • JKTHs

        Well, he is right that he sounds pretty sauced at that press conference.

        • joe from Lowell

          Hi, I’m the Governor of New Jersey, and I don’t know how (one of the) most important commuter routes into New York City works!

          And so, to sum up, vote for me.

      • Tyto

        Thanks for this–I love that this makes the optics even worse.

      • What I like about that weird quote from Christie is the template he forces over the traffic situation: there are moochers and their are slacker takers. Small towns are “moochers” who are “taking” ENTIRE LANES OF TRAFFIC from more deserving motorists! Someone should investigate this, pronto, and make sure that small towns are not “getting” more lanes than they are entitled to.

        • steve

          Small town folk are all moochers unlike us big city folk! That is going to go over very well in Iowa.

    • Alex

      “Study” is a great way to get out of questions from journalists. Judging from mainstream reporting of science, they are confounded by and afraid of academics and research. Most of them probably dreaded being told by an editor to check out the claim; they would have been forced to talk to an egghead and feel inferior.

      To give him credit where it’s due, Christie does know how to handle journalists. If he had answered “needed road work” or “looking for a fugitive,” journalists would have rushed to check with a bureaucrat or a police officer.

      • If he had answered “needed road work” or “looking for a fugitive,” journalists would have rushed to check with a bureaucrat or a police officer.

        Sad to say, I would no longer bet on that.

      • guthrie

        I think it more that they’d have to spend time listening to someone and spend brain power on understanding what they say, rather than writing their 58th article of the day. Also they can get a canned soundbite easier from the bureacrat or police communications person.

      • Tristan

        To give him credit where it’s due, he’s really good at his crimes.

  • Shoe

    Weigel’s article is so Slate. He’s ironically lamenting that he has to cover this issue. But IS IT IRONIC? IS IT.

    • toberdog

      Ask Alanis Morissette. She’s the irony expert.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        oh thanks. “it’s like ray ay ay ay ay innn -“

        • Gregor Sansa

          If you want better lyrics for your earworm, here.

          • Yeah, as some comic went on, years ago, it’s not ironic, it’s unfortunate.

            • Tristan

              I’ve been saying this for years: what would you call it that a song titled ‘Ironic’ with a refrain of ‘isn’t it ironic’, consists of a list of things, none of which are ironic?

              What word would most succinctly describe that situation?

              I’m not a fan, I’ve got no agenda here, but Alanis Morissette is clearly smarter than any of us.

  • Rob in CT

    They are the children of Buono voters

    Says it all, donnit?

    And by the way, What the HELL is going on with those online game ads? Every freaking site I’ve been on today (it feels like, not really)… yeesh. Play Free!

  • Davis X. Machina

    Check the kerning on that email. Always check the kerning.

  • “I feel badly about the kids,” he texted.

    “They are the children of Buono voters,”

    Those Republicans. Always thinking of the children.

  • It looks like Christie may have to…

    *Puts on sunglasses*

    …close the Bridget.

    • Karen

      See, guys, this is the way to a make terrible puns about this issue. Don’t resort to fat jokes when appalling traffic puns and The Sunglasses Of Doom are available.

      *hits play on “Won’t Get Fooled Again” on iPod*

      • The Lee in Fort Lee was Light-Horse Harry Lee, and the fort was basically abandoned after Washington ordered the retreat south after losing the battles of Long Island and New York. So there’s fodder for jokes about retreats, Robert E. Lee’s father, the excruciating boredom of the NJ ‘burbs, and so on.

        Not that, you know, I can be bothered to make any of those jokes.

        • rea

          Wrong Lee–not Light Horse Harry, but Charles Lee, who was no relation to Robert E. (and who was 2nd in command of the American army at the time the original fort was built, although he hated Washington [“Washington is not fit enough to command a Sergeant’s Guard”]).

          • I stand corrected.

      • I’m honestly surprised nobody beat me to that one.

  • Barry Freed

    Penny ante Nixon is more like it. This is good news (and not just for John McCain).

  • Alex

    But don’t forget: it’s Obama who’ll sic the IRS on you if you don’t vote for him!

    Every time – like seriously every single time – the right accuses the left of doing something in this country the right is already doing it. Every accusation should be treated as an admission of guilt.

    • Rob in CT

      Seriously. It’s projection, all the time.

      • joe from Lowell

        Remember when the Cruz Maneuver imploded, and the Republicans started denouncing the Democrats for shutting down the government?

        • Rob in CT

          Dude, I’ve encountered conservatives mad about “tax increases” and, when pressed as to exactly which ones, it’s the payroll taxcut expiration from last year. The expiration of a Democratic tax cut originally in the stimulus bill, demanded by the GOP.

    • Every accusation should be treated as an admission of guilt.

      They’re actually quite honest. In their own sick and twisted and completely creepy way.

      • witless chum

        Oh, man. Those poor Texan box turtles.

    • Kalil

      Every time – like seriously every single time – the right accuses the left of doing something in this country the right is already doing it. Every accusation should be treated as an admission of guilt.

      Uh, so, what’s the whole Benghazi thing about?
      Actually, nevermind, don’t answer that. I think I got it. >.<

      • Barry

        “Uh, so, what’s the whole Benghazi thing about?
        Actually, nevermind, don’t answer that. I think I got it. >.<"

        Thousands of US troops (the right, and the US public don't really care about dead Iraqis) were killed by the Bush/Cheney maggost screwing up, all while being cheered on by the GOP base. They don't want people thinking about that, so they scream 'Benghazi!!!!!!!!!!!!'.

    • UserGoogol

      To an extent it’s projection, but the causation could go the other way too: they feel that they need to be as dirty and rotten as their imaginary enemies are. In general it’s very easy for people to overestimate how devious the other side is, but while the progressive version of this tends to be limited to certain websites claiming that Obama needs to start playing dirty and twisting elbows, conservative paranoia is more effective at reaching the politicians themselves.

    • Barry

      “Every time – like seriously every single time – the right accuses the left of doing something in this country the right is already doing it. Every accusation should be treated as an admission of guilt.”

      It’s probably been over a decade (since the last millenium!) since I’ve seen right-wing accusations which aren’t straight up freudian projection.

    • J R in WV

      I agree with this, these accusations are as good as confessions.

      I listened to Rush on my lunch break for a while when a new boss was listening to it – I found that al of Rush’s remarks were very nearly true, almost certainly true, except you need to replace all of his Democrat words with Republican – and vice-versa.

      So, now that we understand that Republican accusations are confessions of guilt – where are the real death panels? Small politically RED townships in rural parts of the country? You can be sure the victims are all registered Democratic voters!

      And I’m only partly joking here… how to throw an election to one party? Arrest the voters for the other side…!

      But what do you do with them after you win? Hmmm??

  • Royko

    “The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.”

  • Sockie the Sock Puppet

    Looking at the docs, I think the real action is in the redacted parts. Even as they released these e-mails and texts, there is even more damaging stuff hiding behind the marker.

    Of course, even if it does reach Christie _directly_ by this time next year it will be dismissed as “old news” that “everyone has heard about” and “a waste of time to rehash.” Hell, they’ll be saying that even if the big reveal doesn’t happen until January 7, 2014.

    • Sockie the Sock Puppet

      Or 2015, for that matter. *grmbl*

  • Joshua

    I really don’t like Christie. Nevertheless, the idea that him and his office was sitting there plotting against a bunch of nobodies who didn’t support the re-election he won in a walk struck me as too insane, petty, mean, and stupid even for Chris Christie.

    But now – man, I don’t even know what to say. It’s not surprising, I guess.

    I really do think this will stick, too – he was pointing to his campaign as proof he can “work across the aisle” (thanks for supporting Buono, national Dems) and now we have evidence that his office was willing to inconvenience the lives of New Jerseyans to settle a few scores.

    • Barry

      “…as too insane, petty, mean, and stupid even for Chris Christie. ”

      It wasn’t insane; he didn’t think that he’d get caught. As for pretty, mean and stupid, that’s what he is.

    • wengler

      ‘Petty, mean, and stupid’ is probably one of the most popular personality profiles of people that get involved in politics just behind ‘I am the greatest person that ever lived’.

    • Krispy Kristie

      One thing that impresses me about Jersey is that despite a pretty dreary parade of Governors the past 20 odd years, our state has managed to remain a pretty nice state to live. As opposed to say, other states with dogshit Governors like Florida or Louisiana.

      • Lee Rudolph

        I’m sure that’s so in large part because, despite everything, NJ still collects large taxes and spends the revenue on the public good.

        Today my college alumni magazine arrived, and hate-reading it as I always do (starting, and usually finishing, with the obituaries), I was particularly appalled by the quoted note from a guy a few classes earlier than mine, a physician (67 years old, still practicing) who has moved to Charlotteville, VA, “to escape New Jersey taxes”. Fuck him.

        • Krispy Kristie

          Gotta love the gratuitous swipes at New Jersey. I’ve always just written it off as projection, since it’s (parts anyway) a helluva nice place to live. But I grew up in Florida, so maybe I have low standards.

          I moved here about a decade and a half ago (First Hudson County, now Monmouth) because of my wife and her family. Very reluctantly, in fact. But now? I defend this place more vociferously than the native Jerseyan. More Catholic than the Pope I suppose.

          • Krispy Kristie

            And by god sir, when you insult Jersey you insult one of the original 13 states! Number 3, in fact!

            One funny thing I’ve noticed, at least having driven through Connecticut and Massachusetts, is that it’s easier to get a sense of their deep history. I dunno. I know it sounds like a ridiculous thing to say since I live very close to the Monmouth Battlefield State Park, but that’s how it feels.

          • Guggenheim Swirly

            But I grew up in Florida, so maybe I have low standards.

            Gotta love the gratuitous swipes at New Jersey.

            Or Florida, for that matter. Or Texas. Or anyplace else that’s too big and complex to be summed up with a dismissive little handwave.

            And as far as Florida (where I’ve spent most of my life) goes, yeah, it was a lot better once upon a time. The politics here suck, but I’m seeing signs on the ground of that (slowly) starting to change. There’s plenty of good in every state I’ve ever visited, but in order to see that you have to be interested in more than just using it as a punch line.

        • Hanspeter

          Heh. You saw that too? Between notes from the older classes and letters to the editor from older alumni, I’m always looking forward to finding the most “get off my lawn” comment.

          Actually, that would make a great student project. Take the last 50 years of issues and plot the commenter’s age vs crotchetiness of the comment and see if there’s a tipping point.

          • Lee Rudolph

            On the other hand, I’m heartened to see (finally) what appears to be a trend: for many, many years, obituaries of never-married men in the, ahem, older classes tended to include such phrases as “confirmed bachelor”; finally, in the last few years, mentions of “long-time companion”s and even some late-in-life official male spouses are showing up. So that’s something. (But including the yearbook photo of each deader is an appalling new feature, by me.)

  • Sly

    But Obama ordered the IRS to murder Andrew Breitbart in Benghazi with guns they got from Mexican drug cartels, so Christie is still ethically superior to any Democrat who runs in 2016.

  • brad

    I agree with those above who suggest this will help in the primaries, but Christie still hugged Obama. His only chance of the nomination remains too many of the Paul/Huckabee/Cruz con men splintering the base for too long.
    And it makes me that much less afraid of him in a GE. Christie cannot handle being challenged. He’s Eric Cartman only not a cartoon. His arrogance, ego, and inherently blowhard nature would be impossible to hide in that spotlight, I think, and while some will want to vote for that kind of authoritarian daddy it just won’t be enough.

    • Sockie the Sock Puppet

      The problem is that all of these deficiencies have to be reported, and then treated as barriers to a successful presidency. I don’t have much confidence in that.

      Tangentially related, I was hate reading the top of Maureen Dowd’s column this morning, and before I could stop, I came across this passage:

      My grandmother and her nine sisters were tall, strapping women who immigrated to America from Ireland in the second decade of the 20th century and found jobs as maids, cooks and nannies for rich families with names like Gore and Mellon.

      Dowd was one of the people who lead the hounding of Al Gore in 2000, and this makes me wonder if she did it to settle some score against Gore’s granddad or great uncle or something.

      Anyway, I don’t doubt that if push came to shove, the Beltway media wouldn’t find some way to hide or wave aside Christie’s Cartmania until after November 2016.

      • The Gores were a southern family, weren’t they? They probably didn’t hire a lot of New York Irish women. This symbolizes her fixation with what would have been an enormously alien Washington/Southern elite class instead of the real world upper class of Boston-New York Wasps.

        • Sockie the Sock Puppet

          If I remember correctly, Dowd actually grew up in D.C. (same as Pat Buchannon). Senator Thomas Gore was in Washington in the 1930s, and Sen. Albert Gore was in D.C. in the 1940s. I don’t know enough about either of them to know how well-off they were, though being politicians probably enables them to hire domestic staff.

          • Gores family was well off but when his father was in DC they lived in a hotel, not a private house.

            • Sockie the Sock Puppet

              True. Of course, this passage doesn’t say that her relatives served rich families like the Gores in their houses. Perhaps they worked in the hotel. (This could actually make some sense — one would think domestic staff for Southern politicians in pre-desegregated Washington would be mostly black. Hotel maids? Maybe not.)

            • snarkout

              I just confirmed my recollection that Sen. Al Gore, Sr., was a graduate of the Nashville Y.M.C.A. Night Law School. I mean, not that he wasn’t an elite — he was a frigging senator! — but Dowd’s Gore derangement syndrome seems to still be on display.

        • Joshua

          Dowd says “names like Gore”, maybe she doesn’t literally mean the Gore family, but uses it as a signifier of class.

          • JustRuss

            Pretty brilliant, gets a poke at old Al and if someone points out she’s smoking crack, she can just say “Name’s like Gore, with , you know, vowels and such.

          • ChrisTS

            It would have been more apropos to use names ‘like’ Lodge, Cabot, Webster, or Smith.

            • Fish, particularly with a “joking” first name.

      • brad

        Except it won’t be up to the Beltway to hide it. Repub primaries get more and more vicious, and as the establishment, centrist candidate Christie will be the natural target for everyone else on the stage at every debate. He’s going to have to sit there and smile and let 4-5 of the biggest assholes in the world pile on him. That’d be hard for anyone to take, let alone an insecure egomaniac like him.

        He remains the biggest threat, but he’s also got the hardest path.

        • John Revolta

          Damn. I picked a bad decade to give up popcorn.

      • Joshua

        Anyway, I don’t doubt that if push came to shove, the Beltway media wouldn’t find some way to hide or wave aside Christie’s Cartmania until after November 2016.

        It’s possible the national press falls in love with Christie’s “Jersey guy” demeanor in the same way they fell in love with Dubya’s cowboy gimmick. Thing is, it’s not 2000 anymore. Reporting is different, narratives are shaped differently, the internet and grassroots reporting has a huge influence it didn’t back then. Think of Romney’s 47% comment, spoken in confidence among friends, Dubya probably said the same thing hundreds of times.

        • brad

          This too. Where’s Christie’s potential media base? The NYTimes has declared war. Their article is unflinching in ways that make me think they’ve gotten sick of the bullying too. Fox can’t hug someone who hugged Obama. The Gawker style internet media will be ruthless with him. And the chattering, Dowd, class only really speak to themselves at this point, and Christie might well not be of high and proper enough birth for those assholes anyhow.
          Christie versus Bill Clinton in 96 would have been a GE for the ages. Christie vs Hillary in 16 seems like two eras passing each other as one comes in and the other goes away.

          • Sockie the Sock Puppet

            I dunno — the Republicans seem to have a pretty strong ability to stand up and salute whoever they are told to salute. Remember how all the Southern Baptists were going to boycott the 2012 presidential election because they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon? Just didn’t happen.

            Not to say that Christie won’t be targetted. But with every wingnut and his uncle lining up for a shot at an open seat, I think it’s going to be as hard to coalesce around a Not-Christie as it was to agree on a Not-Romney. And Wall Street is going to be more comfortable with someone like Christie than guys like Rand Paul or Sam Brownback who might believe enough of their shtick to be bad for business.

            Christie is his own worst enemy, and this might scandal might well implode his chances. But I think there are powerful forces pushing for him, and one would be foolish to write him off.

            • brad

              I don’t dismiss your points, at all.
              But to me, it seems pretty safe to say it’ll be Walker. He’s got Koch money, assaults on Dems and unions and the democratic process itself to excite the base, and he’s too bland to easily be labelled the extremist he is.
              And remember Romney had about a decade’s worth of running for pres underpinning his nomination. Christie will be putting together a national machine for the first time, and putting loyalty above competency, which seems likely in his org, will not help.

              • Christie’s problem isn’t that Republicans won’t fall in line for whoever makes it past the primary–its that they won’t fall for him in the primary for a variety of reasons: not jesusy enough, doesn’t play well with the kind of rubes and rube governors he’d have to make friends with on the trip (Erick Erick son of Eric has just begun dumping a load of insider governor bitchery about how hated christie is by the other republican governors.) etc..etc..etc… Once he beats out the other candidates in the primary, which I honestly don’t think he can do, he stands as good a chance as McCain and Romney of pulling a standard amount of the base vote in the general. But where this scandal is a problem for him is that it knocks on the head the faint, blue state notion that he’s really a bluff, hearty, conservative we can all love. He’s revealed himself, and will continue to reveal himself, as a petty, angry, dangerous little tyrant who never forgets or forgives even potential allies. What democrat will vote for him then with a good democratic candidate to vote for in the general?

                • brad

                  Sadly, I can only remind that John Cole has a bit of a mancrush on Christie, tho I haven’t checked in today to see if that’s been updated on.
                  Some guys like that kind of asshole despite themselves. In a way, it speaks to how the MRA mindset is so widespread in an unconscious, underlying, bits and pieces way.

                • Tom Servo

                  What democrat will vote for him then with a good democratic candidate to vote for in the general?

                  Dumb Democrats. How do you think Christie was elected in the first place? Only by Republicans? He needed (and had) some Democratic support (both in local/state politicians and voters).

                  And it’s not like he was an unknown quantity. The first time around, especially given how much Corzine sucked, I can forgive a protest vote for Christie. The second time around? There’s no good faith argument that he was an unknown quantity. It was obvious to any non-idiot who even casually followed their own state’s politics that Christie was a bully-a petty, vengeful little manchild.

                • Tom Servo

                  Well, okay, I notice that there is the caveat of a “good” Democratic candidate. But even still, it’s hard to justify voting Christie over Buono. Because, Buono, whatever her flaws is…ding ding, not Christie.

                  Just like I was amazed at all my very liberal friends in 04 bitching about how uninspiring they found Kerry. I said yes, maybe Kerry isn’t the second coming of JFK in terms of inspiring a generation, but he’s, most importantly, Not Bush. Isn’t that enough for you to hold your nose without handwringing over whether you should vote for Nader again?

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Isn’t that enough for you to hold your nose without handwringing over whether you should vote for Nader again?

                  If you hold your nose while handwringing, you may end up spiting your face even without an sharp-edged implement!

              • Pat

                Walker has to get re-elected first. If he does, I agree that he’s a good front-runner.

            • Joshua

              Southern Baptists did vote for Romney, but they didn’t really go out there and GOTV the way they did for Bush, which surely made a difference in the end.

              There are powerful forces behind Christie – mostly the big money Republicans love him. They loved Romney too, didn’t work out that well. For all we (rightfully) complain about big money in politics, 2012 proved that it’s not enough by itself to win an election.

          • Tristan

            He could take a cue from up north and claim the media is part of a massive conspiracy to get at him.

      • Royko

        With Dowd, it’s just as likely that she’s including the name here out of her dislike of Al Gore, to show (in her mind) what a richy-rich phony he is.

        Frankly, it’s Dowd: the more we think about it, the more of our lives we will have wasted.

    • Stan Gable

      I agree with those above who suggest this will help in the primaries

      I can’t see that.

      What he did amounts to punching down to a ridiculous level AND he basically whiffed (while punching down). None of his targets seem to have been harmed by this but it did generate a monster blowback for him and his staff.

      The risk/reward is just awful – I can’t imagine it’s going to inspire a bunch of confidence among donors and party organizers.

      • brad

        I mean among the base. Christie already has the inside track with any sober minded money people in the party. Who else are they going to go to? But to the backwash 27% being a dick isn’t a bug but a feature. They’ll just be glad to see him acting out on resentment with fuckall concern for logic or the consequences for the people actually affected.

        • Stan Gable

          There’s this narrative of him being a tough guy, willing to fight the bad guys and all that but if it turns out that he’s mostly punching the weak and treating the powerful (ie Obama) with kid-gloves, that’s not going to play very well.

          • brad

            Depends who he’s favoring. If it’s Trump and the Koch’s, then he’s just being a good authoritarian in the good ole boy power structure and feeding the pyramid scheme that is God’s America.

            If there’s any trickster logic to his methods, it might be to assume that by 2016 even the Repub base will be kind of bored with all Obama loathing all the time and tune out. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

          • quercus

            I thought punching the weak and treating the powerful with kid-gloves was exactly the core of the Republican party values. Why should doing that hurt Christie?

            • Stan Gable

              By weak, I don’t mean the poor in classic hippie-punching sense. I mean punching weaker political actors.

              I think in general people want to see their champions either winning or losing heroically. Making a bunch of schlubs sit in traffic just so you can settle a score with some nobody mayor (and failing!) isn’t the same thing as taking on the NY Times or Obama.

        • Royko

          While he might get some style points for being a crafty pol, I don’t think the base will be that impressed with his feud with some nobody mayor of some town they’ve never heard of. His base wants to see him go after targets that have cultural resonance with them, on their behalf and not on his.

          • brad

            Except it’d take 5 seconds for a Christie proxy in the media like the Post to spin it as him saying fuck you to Manhattan’s UWS and “spillover” from it across the river.
            Just call it rich New Yorkers complaining about being inconvenienced, not real working class Jersey folk.

            • Thats really not going to work. Because if you have to explain to that level of detail you are already losing, big time.

              • Barry

                The point is that f*cking over some innocent people is something that the GOP base likes; the details are secondary, at best.

                • Tyro

                  The point is that f*cking over some innocent people is something that the GOP base likes; the details are secondary, at best.

                  Only certain innocent people. If this was cutting off a rail connection, bus system, screwing over public employees, or messing up a city, Christie would have skated by while collecting some high-5s from his supporters. In this case, he screwed over a bunch of car-driving suburbanites. That’s the wrong target for a Republican.

                • Popeye

                  Eh, it’s one thing to cut off food stamps to some poor children who should be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps instead of relying on government handouts. It’s another to deliberately fuck up massive traffic for no reason. It wasn’t even to save money or divert funds into some stupid bullshit — it was pure pique. This isn’t even political, it’s purely personal, it makes an easy punchline for everyone on the planet, it directly calls into question his ability to lead, and it scares off donors and other power brokers. Game over.

            • Today’s news included reports of Fort Lee police being delayed in finding a missing 4-year-old and EMS workers being delayed in four separate incidents on a bridge. Anyway halfway-savvy political operative is going to be able to mine this story.

        • Warren Terra

          Christie already has the inside track with any sober minded money people in the party. Who else are they going to go to?

          Are you kidding? The sober money people will love Scott Walker – he can play blandly inoffensive, he does what he’s told, he’s eager to screw the poor and the unions (indeed, even more eager than Christie). Sure, he’s got strong ties to loony midwest industrialists rather than to loony Wall Street executives, but that’s largely geographic bias (if Christie were in Wisconsin rather than across the river from Wall Street, he’d have different plutocrats as friends!), and at the end of the day the sociopathic CEOs share most of their interests with each other.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t wait till President Christie gets peeved at the mayor of LA and diverts the Colorado River to more Republican areas.

    • Denverite

      ?

      The Colorado doesn’t run anywhere near LA. It’s true that it’s the primary irrigation source for the Imperial Valley in California, but those farmers sell mostly outside of the state.

      • Shoe

        A big ol tunnel diverts an enormous amount of water from the Colorado to the LA-area.

        • Royko

          Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.

          • Tristan

            Check your privilege.

  • Pingback: Chris Christie And The George Washington Bridge: Politics As Usual, Scandal, Or Much Ado About Very Little()

    • I love that Mataconis claims that Christie’s rep as a bully is “created by Democrats”. This is a guy whose national fame originally came from viral videos where he yelled at some government worker or teacher or uppity woman who dared ask him a question he didn’t like. How many other governors of New Jersey have been nationally famous?

      • N__B

        Woodrow Wilson, Christine Whitman, Jim McGreevey, Jon Corzine.

        Famous for, ah, differing reasons.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    “You can see why he’s such a darling in the Republican Party…”

    As far as I can tell, he’s much more a darling of the media than of the GOP. Republicans distrust him for the same idiotic reason that the media is convinced he’s the ever-absence GOP moderate: he happily worked with Obama on disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

    Though this whole incident might manage to convince a few GOP voters that he’s not a RINO.

  • Tom Servo

    At least Nixon was a human. An ugly, petty, vindictive one. But human. I never got any indication that Reagan was a human being.

  • This just got a lot more serious. Negligent homicide serious.

    • ChrisTS

      Shit. I wondered if this hadn’t affected some ‘serious’ traffic (unlike school kids).

      The thing is that people like this don’t even think about the real possible effects of their off the cuff nastiness. I hope some of them go to jail.

  • Marty

    Hmm.. It would appear someone got more butthurt about Christie being a fat slob than Christie being just this side of being in the mafia. I was going to suggest he tripped over his infantile penis with his ample belly then felt fear grip me when I realized the genital challenged might be offended.
    Just for the record it’s been years since my last porn film, Tiny the bug f**ker.

    • ChrisTS

      I don’t like fat-baiting, but I agree that the thread got off track a bit with that concern. Christ, the man is a bully, likely corrupt, and his minions did something that might well have endangered people’s lives just out of spite. All that seems far more important to me than policing our own discourse when we are [rightly] outraged.

      • Really?

        First, what about Marty’s arguably trans* hostile comments? (This just seems like a weird place to endorse the concern which, after all, was discussed pretty sensibly above even though I don’t agree with it.)

        Second, while I agree that the slur problem is comparatively small, but then this defends a huge range of abusive language (cf Palin).

        Wen do we let things slide and when is it important to speak up?

        Fat bashing Cristie adds nothing to the substantive debate. So why aren’t the folks who think its ok to fat bash the problem rather than those who object?

        • And note that, reportedly he had lap band surgery partially to address “fitness to server” concerns:

          Christie, 51, revealed in February that he had undergone lap band surgery to assist him in losing weight after many questioned his fitness for future office, including his current re-election bid as governor and what seems to some supporters as a likely White House run in 2016.

          Given that he has a clean bill of health now, this seems a bit surprising.

          • ChrisTS

            I’m not sure he has a “clean bill of health,” although I applaud him for undergoing something I imagine must be unpleasant (at the least) to address his own health concerns.

            At any rate, i reaffirm my dislike of fat ‘jokes.’

        • ChrisTS

          I don’t approve of the comments about his weight/size. I think the thread got off track for a bit because of responses (pro and con) to that. My comment was just a comment on the thread track.

          I’m not sure what the trans-hostile part was; I missed that.

    • The prophet Nostradumbass

      Your comment is like a flashing neon sign saying “I am an asshole”.

  • mike in dc

    I don’t think there’s a truly viable alternative “establishment” GOP candidate to replace Christie if he should stumble badly. Jeb Bush? He would be DOA in the general. All the other alternatives are “zzz” type candidates.

  • jgh

    Can we all agree it is still ok to refer to someone as an asshole?

  • K

    Dude, fat or not, he is an asshole. Gives republicans a bad name, and that takes effort. The fact that someone wasnt screaming “what the fuck are you thinking, you cant just do that” or otherwise expressing some form of disagreement, says a lot about our society. For all we know, someone did, in which case, they probably got shitcanned for their efforts, no good deed goes unpunished, ya know.

  • Christie was the only candidate I was legitimately worried about in 2016. I am less so now.

  • K

    The worst thing is, im only an intermediate asshole, im the asshole who has to point out that this guy is probably that much of an asshole. I wonder what people were thinking as they drove by those lanes, closed, for no good reason. Sad thing is, some of his supporters who got stuck, probably still support him. And im sure this type of shit gets done by democrats as well, just haven’t been caught by the republicans yet. At what point did we go from having elected officials to having a bunch of kids? Think about it, kids are expensive, politicians are expensive. Kids tattle on each other, so do politicians. When kids break stuff, they point at each-other and say the other did it, when the government fucks the pooch, the donkey and the elephant both point at each-other and say “he did it”

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