Chris Christie In Trouble

christieOh boy, I got out of my sick bed this morning to read about the emails linking the Fort Lee traffic scandal to Chris Christie’s office. I had been aware of the shenanigans that went on back in September, but I never thought it would lead so blatantly to his top officials.

Courtesy of the LA Times:

NEW YORK — A contrite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized Thursday and said he was “embarrassed and humiliated” by the actions of his staff that closed busy access lanes of the George Washington Bridge in September, snarling traffic in a town whose mayor did not support the governor’s reelection bid.

“I come out here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey,” Christie said, at a Trenton press conference. “I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team.”

Christie said he had fired Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff who apparently engineered the lane closures and said in emails: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Christie said she lied to him in connection with the growing scandal.

He also asked Bill Stepien, a close advisor, to not place his name in nomination for the chairmanship of the state Republican Party because Stepien, who also participated in some of the emails, expressed a tone that Christie said was “callous.”

Yes, I’m sure Christie knew nothing at all about the four day traffic chaos in his own state. This isn’t the first traffic scandal that Christie has been involved in. Also from the Los Angeles Times:

It’s proper now to recall an action Christie took in 2010 that he owned up to quite proudly. This was his unilateral torpedoing of a $9-billion federal-state project to build a commuter train tunnel under the Hudson. The project would have doubled capacity on the route–a crucial improvement given forecasts of sharply rising ridership and the decrepitude of the existing tunnel. It was the largest public transit project at the time, and had already begun. Christie’s refusal to approve his state’s share killed it.

The cancellation made Christie a darling of the conservative budget-cutting movement, instantly raising his profile as a GOP up-and-comer. Two years later, he was still crowing about his courageous act before conservative audiences.

His depiction of the project was typically blustering and deceitful: “They want to build a tunnel to the basement of Macy’s, and stick the New Jersey taxpayers with a bill,” he said. You’d think that was pretty funny, unless you were a New Jersey commuter who knew that the “basement of Macy’s” in midtown Manhattan is actually Pennsylvania Station, where the commuter trains go.

By then, Christie’s rationale for killing the tunnel had been exposed as a passel of lies. He had claimed that it would cost more than $14 billion, and that New Jersey would be on a “never-ending hook” for 70% of the cost. In fact, as the Government Accountability Office reported, $14 billion was the maximum estimate, and $10 billion the most likely final bill. And New Jersey’s share was 14.4%, not 70%.

But the cancellation allowed Christie to divert the state’s share of the tunnel budget to a state highway fund, which in turn allowed him to avoid raising the state gasoline tax–already among the lowest in the nation–by a few cents.

So here’s the toll: Christie sacrificed the long-term welfare of his own citizens for short-term personal, political gain. He did so with bluster and deceit. Even after his own figures were exposed as bogus, he didn’t hold a two-hour press conference to apologize and promise it wouldn’t happen again.

He doesn’t seem to care for his own citizens commuting nightmares…it’s all about Christie!
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7 Responses to Chris Christie In Trouble

  1. MrsGunka says:

    His tunnel to no-where! What’s in it for me? Maybe he will sell his personal helicopter on ebay and have to travel that bridge instead!

  2. Uberduck says:

    I guess maybe I should be embarassed to admit this, but I’m a bit disappointed in Gov. C. I thought maybe he could be some kind of new beginning of a reasonable opposition for the Dems. A party without opposition doesn’t work well, kinda like a monopoly, I guess. But his lack of respect for the rules, which seemed refreshing when it had to do with ignoring party politics, seems to go a bit too far. Reminds me a bit (though only a bit) of our own Gov (LePage, GFGI), only Christie has brains.

    • 40Watt says:

      I don’t think there is any reason for embarrassment. The narrative spun about Christie, up until now, has largely portrayed him as a pragmatist, who got things done for his state, despite being a bit rough around the edges and perhaps over-outspoken, to put it politely.

      I don’t think this reputation is well aligned with what is actually going on in Jersey. However, the media seemed content to repeat the story in much the same way as they kept telling us George W. was a successful business man, despite all evidence to the contrary. Maybe they’ll take a closer look at him now.

      I think a lot depends on what happens next. I just saw the Mayor of Fort Lee on Rachel. The question he asked Christie when he came to apologize today, was are you going to retaliate against us for this? Pretty telling. If people start to feel Christie is fatally wounded, they may stop fearing retaliation and start talking.

      Rachel Maddow presents a new possibility of what the induced Ft. Lee traffic jam was retribution for if it wasn’t over the mayor’s gubernatorial endorsement.

    • irishgirl999 says:

      Uberduck, I was disappointed too for the same reasons you outlined above. There seem to be very few honest Republicans, and it is a crying shame.

  3. 40Watt says:

    My comment has got clogged up in the works. Basically, its about how the dam that is Christie’s real legacy is bursting already and the rest of the country will start hearing what we in the tristate area have known.

  4. crow says:

    Does anyone know how this was spun in the media at the time? Did traffic reporters give updates saying the bridge was still closed without ever giving a reason? After 4 days of a major disruption in traffic, I would think some news reporter might see a story here and think to go interview an official or something. Has anyone found any tapes of news or traffic reports as it was happening in September? If no one even did a story on this at the time…well, it would be a whole ‘nuther issue to wonder why not.

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