Utu via traffic jams

January 10th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

, the early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, was facing a crisis yesterday after emails appeared to show senior aides conspired to inflict an extraordinary act of revenge against the town of a political foe.

The emails detailed how advisers to the New Jersey Governor brought traffic gridlock to the town of Fort Lee after its Mayor Mark Sokolich had refused to endorse his re-election campaign last year. The revelations left Christie, a Republican star who claims a rare ability to forge bipartisan co-operation, open to charges of political bullying in his leadership of the “Soprano state”.

Christie, 51, had previously denied he or his close aides were behind the mysterious closure of access roads to the George Washington bridge, which links New Jersey with New York, in September. Yesterday an “outraged and deeply saddened” Christie said he was misled by an aide. He denied any involvement. The emails do not directly implicate him.

For Christie to get through this he needs to sack those responsible very quickly, and also have a full independent inquiry into it. Otherwise this will haunt him.

The winner from this is , the likely Democratic nominee. Christie is the only Republican who polls ahead of her in a match up. Most poll well over 10% behind her.

Clinton has also come out looking good in a recent book by Robert Gates. Gates was Defence Secretary to Obama and Bush (and had a security role in every administration since Nixon except Bill Clinton). Gates lashes Joe Biden, Congress, the Obama White House and many others. But he praises Clinton often, which is significant as Gates in Republican.

UPDATE: Christie has sacked staff and apologised, and did a two hour press conference which most observers said he handled very well. But there will be more hearings and information retrieval, so I doubt the issue is over – yet.

UPDATE2: Love this Onion article”

Following revelations this week that staffers under New Jersey Governor Chris Christie manipulated traffic in a small New Jersey town to punish its mayor, mortified Americans across the nation reported that they were shocked to learn the potential 2016 presidential candidate could possibly fumble such an easy political cover-up. “Man, this guy wants to be President of the United States and he can’t even conceal an act of corruption this rinky-dink and run-of-the-mill from voters? It’s crazy,” Newark resident Carolyn Baum said in agreement with millions of stunned Americans, adding that she holds potential presidential candidates to much higher standards of subterfuge and graft. “I mean, this is a total softball. If he can’t even bully one little small-town mayor into submission by oppressing his constituents and get away with it, how can we reasonably believe he’s politically skilled enough to cover up national scandals like orchestrating a foreign war, illegally colluding with big business, or violating the civil liberties of millions of Americans? It’s a little scary, to be honest.”

Heh.

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35 Responses to “Utu via traffic jams”

  1. tvb (4,324 comments) says:

    The staff behind this could only have acted with the explicit are implicit authority of the Governor. When the personal staff act they act under direct instruction. Christie is not through this yet. This might be an attempt of one of those plausible denial situations which is a practice I condemn.

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  2. anonymouse (709 comments) says:

    I think the 2016 pres race is the Republicans to lose, Hilary is pretty tied to Obama’s declining legacy in regard to foreign policy ( and by cabinet inclusion most other things too), She will find it really hard to energise the activist base that Obama was able to tap into in his early years, I am expecting Democrat turnout to be significantly down,

    If the Republicans can get a reasonably sane (Non TP ) candidate who can still touch the conservative base and reach out to conservative democrats they will walk away with the white house.

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  3. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    A bitter defeat for the RINO, almost elephantiasic, Christie.

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  4. radvad (746 comments) says:

    I do not believe Christie knew about this but only because nobody would be that stupid, especially a prospective presidential candidate.
    But then again power corrupts and after all, this is New Jersey. If it can be proved he was aware that it was about utu then he should be gone by lunchtime. Even if he learned that after the event he should have front footed it and booted those responsible.

    He may survive this but the stink will always be with him.

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  5. dime (9,806 comments) says:

    Much harder for Christie as hes a republican. He should survive ok.

    The media will drag it out for months but Christie has a big set of balls.

    Hillary has dodged the benghazi thing so far, but she has the media on her side.

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  6. Nigel Kearney (970 comments) says:

    In a just world this would be less serious than being responsible for using the IRS to help you win an election by crippling your political opponents.

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  7. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    anonymouse (620 comments) says:
    January 10th, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I think the 2016 pres race is the Republicans to lose, Hilary is pretty tied to Obama’s declining legacy in regard to foreign policy ( and by cabinet inclusion most other things too)

    Foreign policy barely rates on the radar of most americans.

    http://www.pollingreport.com/prioriti.htm

    Of course three years out it’s difficult to say what will ultimately be important or the narrative that will dominate particular issues. But even now, given the current state of affairs and Obama’s relatively low approval Clinton would likely beat a Republican challenger.

    She will find it really hard to energise the activist base that Obama was able to tap into in his early years, I am expecting Democrat turnout to be significantly down,

    Fairly sure that’s what was said before the 2012 election and Obama still won, and a year before the 2012 election the RCP average had a 9 point negative spread, which is almost as low as he is today. Republicans have a demographic problem and that’s why Christie is important at the moment because out of the possible contenders so far identified he seems the most likely to be able to appeal to those demographics that other Republicans have done their best to offend.

    If the Republicans can get a reasonably sane (Non TP ) candidate who can still touch the conservative base and reach out to conservative democrats they will walk away with the white house.

    Problem is conservative means very different things in the context of each party. Romney tried to play to the conservative base and then shimmy to the centre. Didn’t work. Of course doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If it were easy I suppose anyone could become president.

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  8. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Nigel Kearney (634 comments) says:
    January 10th, 2014 at 10:55 am

    In a just world this would be less serious than being responsible for using the IRS to help you win an election by crippling your political opponents.

    Do you have any evidence to implicate Obama or senior members of his staff? Without the e-mails this wouldn’t be a scandal. Politically, there is a difference between being responsible because you are the ultimate person in charge, and being responsible because you initiated the activities which have caused outrage. If there were e-mails to show senior staff in Obama’s office orchestrating the targeting of conservatives by the IRS then plausible deniability would be as weak as it is here. The fact that some liberal groups were also targeted (albeit not as much) further diminishes the notion that Obama is personally responsible.

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  9. redqueen (553 comments) says:

    Definitely have to agree with the Onion. He’ll never be effective as US President if he can’t even bully or cover-up a small town mess. The Americans require their leaders to have better skills at keeping things secret and vigorously sepressing dissent.

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  10. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    dime (8,016 comments) says:
    January 10th, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Hillary has dodged the benghazi thing so far, but she has the media on her side.

    I take it “the media” doesn’t include News Corp. :)

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  11. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    The staff behind this could only have acted with the explicit are implicit authority of the Governor.

    Rubbish. It is entirely possible he had no knowledge of their actions, and more likely that he didn’t direct them to do it.

    The fact that some liberal groups were also targeted…

    And those liberal groups were string supporters of Obama, right? They weren’t critical of him from the other direction, right?

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  12. J Bloggs (224 comments) says:

    If the Republicans can get a reasonably sane (Non TP ) candidate who can still touch the conservative base and reach out to conservative democrats they will walk away with the white house.

    Therein lies the rub……

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  13. backster (2,142 comments) says:

    The implied guilt of Christie in respect of this traffic jam pales into insignificance in ratio to the apparent guilt by neglect of Clinton over Benghazi…..I think that many Republicans will show Christie the same level of support he showed Romney, he will need substantial cross sector polling support to get the Republican nomination.

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  14. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Kimble (3,919 comments) says:
    January 10th, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Rubbish. It is entirely possible he had no knowledge of their actions, and more likely that he didn’t direct them to do it.

    Don’t think it matters politically. It’s too hard to distance yourself from people so close to you.

    And those liberal groups were string supporters of Obama, right? They weren’t critical of him from the other direction, right?

    I really don’t know. But it really doesn’t matter. Without any evidence to actually implicate the President, or staff close to him, all you have is smoke. Smoke sells to an audience already inclined to think it leads to fire, but not necessarily so well in general.

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  15. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    The big takeaway from this for me is that people are still stupid enough to leave a electronic trail behind them.

    If the request to close the bridge had been done over a cup of coffee at a cafe, instead of via txt and e-mail then they’d be free and clear.

    Seriously, just how dumb are these people ?

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  16. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    backster (1,939 comments) says:
    January 10th, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I think that many Republicans will show Christie the same level of support he showed Romney

    An exceedingly stupid and immature attitude for Republicans to adopt. If he can weather the storm they should support him. If he can’t, or they won’t, they need a replacement. Three years is plenty of time though. :)

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  17. Tom Barker (136 comments) says:

    “I think the 2016 pres race is the Republicans to lose”

    They just lost it.

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  18. Grizz (591 comments) says:

    Republicans are notorious for selecting lame duck candidates with little appeal to the electorate at large. Outsiders like many commenters here will say he is what the Republican party needs. However the hardcore of the GOP that vote in the primaries will never see that at vote where the money is, which is not Chris Christie. Hence debate around this whole incident is simply academic.

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  19. Fletch (6,251 comments) says:

    I’m no fan of Christie, but as another blogger has pointed out, the media is making a big deal of this because he is Republican; the same media that has ignored the HUGE mess that Obama has made of the country, leaving it many times worse off than when he began.

    Dear Media:

    I’d like to care about Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” or “Fat and Furious” or whatever clever name you’re calling it today. I really would. You see, I know the GOP is planning to shove Gov. Christie down our throats in 2016 whether we like it or not. And I know that conservatives like me will hate it because he’s not a conservative leader and that’s what we really want. So yes, I’d love to care about scandal that could bring down his presidential hopes. There’s only one problem.

    I can’t.

    I can’t care at all. I’m trying because political commentary is my livelihood, but its just not happening for me. That’s because my Facebook wall has been exploding with panicked statuses and messages from friends and acquaintances who are heading into 2014 with no health insurance. There are many more messages from people who have lost employment altogether. They’re terrified about how they are going to provide for their families. Just a year ago they had full time jobs and health insurance they liked. Now they have nothing.

    I can’t care because while everyone is freaking out over a bridge closure, the state department is admitting it was TERRORISTS responsible for killing our ambassador and three other Americans in the horrific Benghazi attack last year – not a video. That’s big news.

    We were lied to, the families of 4 Americans brutally slain were lied to and they are still begging for answers from the Obama administration. That’s a big deal. It really, truly is a big story but the media is acting like its been settled and put to bed. Benghazi is a bigger corruption scandal than Watergate, but you’d never know it if your only source of news is HuffPo and MSNBC.

    I can’t care because in the black community only 50% of males graduate high school on time. Our public school system sucks up more money than ever and yet minority students continue to spiral and get left behind. Then the Democrat party – that is supposed to be our champion and our “liberator” – stands firmly in the way of the one thing that could even the playing field – school choice. As the mother of two black children, that greatly disturbs me. Our community is dying because we have no options. But Chris Christie!!!

    I can’t care because my family’s tax burden is crippling. My husband and I both worked ourselves out of poverty. We dreamed of being middle class one day and we did it. Now we are watching it all dissolve simply because we choose to obey the law rather than cheat to keep what we’ve earned. That hurts. A lot.

    I can’t care because President Obama has so many promises he made to the American people. He has proven himself a to be an uncaring liar. He insults our intelligence by thinking we will believe his tired rhetoric about class inequality as he frolics in Hawaii for the 14th vacation of his tenure and his family enjoys $60 million vacations abroad, on our dime. The IRS scandals could be coined as the worst abuse of Presidential power in modern times and yet Rachel Maddow wants me to scream and stomp over a New Jersey Governor and a bridge closing?

    I can’t care because I look around and see the ingenuity and spirit that makes America great being broken down more and more every day, and it’s heartbreaking.

    Still, I just can’t care right now. We are living through the worst economic times since the Great Depression. We’re being led by a naked Emperor, and the institution that is supposed to protect us by keeping us informed (that’s you, mainstream media-types!) refuses to point the cameras at his bare buttocks. I’m scared. So no, I don’t give a flying flip about Governor Christie’s bridge or ego. Not today. Today I’m wondering how we’re going to survive another tax season and if my friends will find employment anytime soon.

    http://www.ijreview.com/2014/01/107364-dear-msm-id-like-care-bridgegate-cant/

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  20. cha (3,933 comments) says:

    Couple of fun tags.

    #Bridgeghazi.

    #GWBVendetta.

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  21. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    #Bridgeghazi – because covering up what lead to an ambassador’s body being dragged through the streets is just the same as a really big traffic jam.

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  22. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    If there were e-mails to show senior staff in Obama’s office orchestrating the targeting of conservatives by the IRS then plausible deniability would be as weak as it is here.

    Or say, testimony before congress?

    Or say, this:
    http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2013/07/general-counsel-attorney.html
    So I can’t for the life of me come up with any kind of innocent explanation for why Obama would have met with the Chief Counsel of the IRS. That meeting shouldn’t ever happen, and especially not without the Commissioner of the IRS being there. Presidents just don’t go to agency chief counsels with legal questions. Presidents don’t go to anyone with legal questions. Their staff does. The idea that the President would sit down with some random agency chief counsel and discuss some pressing legal issue is just bizarre to anyone who has worked in the legal field at that level. I am not sure the reporters covering this story understand how legal advice is actually delivered to the President and just how out of the ordinary that meeting was.

    The fact that some liberal groups were also targeted (albeit not as much) further diminishes the notion that Obama is personally responsible.

    Let’s review:
    1. The entire thing blew up because the IRS *admitted* they had targeted conservatives.
    2. The initial excuse was that there was a flood of applications. That’s been refuted by hard data.
    3. The Obama DOJ is stonewalling the investigation.

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  23. cha (3,933 comments) says:

    And an ambassador’s body being dragged through the streets is just the same as cutting and running after 200 sleeping men were killed.

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/fort_lee_woman_died_as_gwb_closures_delayed_medical_help.html

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  24. Scott Chris (6,024 comments) says:

    I doubt Christie knew anything about ‘Bridgegate’. He’s not a stupid man.

    But jeez, was his aide stupid as was the controller who closed the bridge lanes, firstly to come up with such a harebrained scheme and secondly to overtly arrange it via email. Retards.

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  25. dcrown (15 comments) says:

    Well done DPF, I see you have managed to stir up the ‘Leighton Smith Conspiracy Theorist’ lunatic fringe with this post, keep it up :)

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  26. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    200 sleeping men were killed

    I know I’m gonna regret this, but what the heck are you talking about?

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  27. iMP (2,354 comments) says:

    Clinton -Benghazi and US deaths in office.

    Christie – staff-connected traffic jam.

    Liberal media, which is the crisis of leadership?

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  28. dcrown (15 comments) says:

    @scrubone, this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Beirut_barracks_bombing

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  29. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    You can see the MSM illiberal media drooling after the issue trying to nail fatso Christie, while overlooking the shortcomings of lardy Hillary. It’s called an even-handed approach.

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  30. Fletch (6,251 comments) says:

    The MRC blog points out that the same media nailing Christie for this bridge shutdown all but ignored Obama’s illegally shutting down cycleways, roads, and monuments during the government shutdown at the end of last year.

    Also, the media has given 17 times more coverage to this than the IRS scandal (which really IS a scandal).

    http://mrc.org/biasalerts/networks-torch-christie-lane-closures-ignored-obama-admins-corrupt-shutdown-tactics

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  31. peterwn (3,239 comments) says:

    the staff involved must have been nuts. What is the use of utu unless the reason is publicised. Both the key players were Christtie’s people.

    Even if Christie himself is ‘innocent’ then he has shown such poor judgment in hiring / appointing that he is not suited to the Presidency with his finger on the nuclear button. As for a game of golf, John Key would tell him to ‘forget it’.

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  32. peterwn (3,239 comments) says:

    Re IRS scandal – This same matter arose a few decades ago. IRS staff at that time set a deliberate policy of not auditing individuals on the ‘say so’ of political officials. On the other hand other agencies could legitimately suggest an audit where some prima facie evidence exists – that was the only way the Feds could nail Al Capone in the 1920’s.

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  33. cha (3,933 comments) says:

    what the heck are you talking about?

    Ronnie Raygun.

    The truck carried some 2,000 pounds of explosives, but there was no way our Marine guards could know this. Their first warning that something was wrong came when the truck crashed through a series of barriers, including a chain-link fence and barbed wire entanglements. The guards opened fire, but it was too late. The truck smashed through the doors of the headquarters building in which our Marines were sleeping and instantly exploded. The four-story concrete building collapsed in a pile of rubble.

    More than 200 of the sleeping men were killed in that one hideous, insane attack. Many others suffered injury and are hospitalized here or in Europe. This was not the end of the horror. At almost the same instant, another vehicle on a suicide and murder mission crashed into the headquarters of the French peacekeeping force, an eight-story building, destroying it and killing more than 50 French soldiers.

    http://www.beirut-memorial.org/history/reagan.html

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  34. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    peterwn (2,675 comments) says:
    January 10th, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Even if Christie himself is ‘innocent’ then he has shown such poor judgment in hiring / appointing that he is not suited to the Presidency with his finger on the nuclear button.

    In hiring someone how can you be sure that they would never exercise poor judgment? Surely by that logic America demonstrated itself unsuitable to vote after it elected George W Bush. :)

    (Confession: that includes me)

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  35. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Enjoy this one: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2014/01/10/leno-now-christie-denying-everything-he-sounds-even-more-presidential

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