Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Josh Marshall:
As I've written several times, this Christie Bridge Scandal is far more potentially damaging for Christie that it might seem on its face because its fits so perfectly with the negative view (as opposed to the positive view) of Chris Christie. That is, that he and his crew are thugs and bullies.
I tried to address this in a couple of addendums to my last post, but I'll try again, more explicitly: Please remember that the right's positive view of Chris Christie already is that he's a thug -- but he's their thug, inclined to act on behalf of their interests.

Yes, explaining Bridgegate away is going to require some Escher-esque thinking on the part of supporters -- but, really, how hard would that be for the right? Remember torture in the Bush years? Remember how right-wingers basically seemed to believe that it wasn't torture, but really it was torture and that was fine because all evil ragheads deserve to be mercilessly tortured as much as possible, but what's the big deal anyway because the torture/not-torture happened only an extremely limited number of times? The thinking here is going to be similarly convoluted and self-contradictory: Yes, a top aide was involved, according to emails, but there's no direct evidence of Christie involvement; yeah, maybe it was hardball on Christie's part, but what actual evidence of harm is there?; and hey, that mayor in Fort Lee probably had it coming, and good for Christie for sticking it to him.

The right found the early viral videos of precisely this Chris Christie -- Christie the bully -- so delightful that he may actually gain in status among GOP voters from this scandal, especially if he spends a lot of time in the near future berating reporters and saying that he's focused on the people's business while they're obsessed with a traffic story. (Local reporters will be conflated with the national media, whom right-wingers will angrily accuse of focusing on this story as a distraction from Obamacare and the lousy economy and Benghazi.)

Marshall writes about Bridgegate:
It's not bribery or killing someone or a high crime. But it's vindictive and quite possibly illegal. It's almost the definition of an abuse of power. It won't sink Christie. At least not the evidence so far. But it will hang around his neck forever as that bad thing Christie's operation did that supposedly (depending on whether you're a friend or enemy) tells you who the real Chris Christie is about.
But, see, the right likes "vindictive and quite possibly illegal" if the vindictive lawbreaker is on the right's side. The people who've liked Chris Christie like the fact that he's this way. I'll say what I've said in the past: you think GOP voters don't like angry guys from the East Coast? Then why is their favorite TV host Bill O'Reilly? (And why limit this analysis to the East Coast? It's not as if right-wing heroes like Phil Robertson, or Sarah Palin, or Ted Nugent weigh their words carefully and avoid giving offense whenever possible.)

I still say the other side of Christie's public persona -- the Obama hugging, the support for DREAMers -- is a far greater threat to his hopes for the GOP nomination. I'm sticking with that.


L.A. Goldenrod said...

I think this one has legs. It exposes Christie not just as a vindictive bully (which his mancrushers love about him), but as petty and small. That doesn't play well in politics any better than it plays in real life.

And Christie indicates he gets this:

After the emails were released on Wednesday, Mr. Christie canceled his one public event for the day, which had been billed as an announcement of progress in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. His office had no immediate comment.

You don't run and hide if you're not worried about it.

Victor said...

Yeah, hugging the minority female HS student, who'll now be eligible for lower in-state college tuition, will be a killer for Christie!

The base loves them some A-holes!

They hate empathy!

40cfc580-789c-11e3-84fd-000f20980440 said...

Agree in principle with the psychology of the right wing. but in this case they already hated chris christie for other reasons. just head on over to RS right now and read Erickson and the comments. Christie is done (assuming he wasnt right after he hugged obama)

Timothy Cornell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve M. said...

t exposes Christie not just as a vindictive bully (which his mancrushers love about him), but as petty and small. That doesn't play well in politics any better than it plays in real life.

It's my experience that petty and small play surprisingly well in many aspects of real life, especially for high-status white men.

aimai said...

OK, Steve--Christie has come out and said "Not me, nuh uh, this is not worthy of the people of new jersey and I was misled." Whats your theory of how this plays, because he's totally lost the asshole advantage that this gave him among a certain percentage of the population, while also having lost his phony bipartisan cred with the Democratic and independent voters. If he doesn't actually go after his own subordinates who "misled" him with criminal charges I'm not sure how he survives this, and if he does they probably know where all his bodies are buried. I just don't see a good outcome for him here.

Never Ben Better said...

A bully undone and brought down by his bullying? Oh, that would be SO FINE to see.

Steve M. said...

Aimai, I assume he's going to go into (faux-)sincere mode. He's going to continue vowing to hold people responsible, gosh darn it. He's going to give earnest-sounding interviews to Joe Scarborough and some Fox host or other. And he's just going to wait for it to die down without implicating him. (People at the very top are never implicated. Murdoch survived the phone hacking scandal. Jamie Dimon is surviving billions of dollars of payouts at Chase. Etc., etc.)

aimai said...

I doubt he will survive if his closest associates face jail time. Not that he will go to jail, but he's simply not going to be able to keep a lid on it.

Never Ben Better said...

Reacting to Booman's story (citing you!) on this topic, some of the commenters have already dug up stories of first responders being handicapped by the closures, even a story of a 91-year-old woman dying because help couldn't get to her fast enough. That's going to give this issue easy-to-understand resonance with a lot of people. Soomebody's grandmother died because a bully wanted to punish a political opponent and did so in a way that screwed things up for thousands of innocent victims? Will not sit well with many people.

Lex Alexander said...


The New York Crank said...

If you don't see the liability to Christie, you're not an advertising copywriter with a grasp of what motivates people.

Ever hear of road rage? Harness it. My anti-Christie TV commercial starts on a sea of stalled traffic. A cloud of gray smoke hovers over the cars. Innumerable car horns honk. And then we hear the announcer's voice...

ANNOUNCER: Were you stuck in traffic recently? It may not have been a normal traffic jam. It may have been the deliberate work of the people who work for Chris Christie.

Last year, to get even with a mayor who didn't endorse the governor's re-election, Christie's evil people deliberately blocked lanes on an interstate bridge for days on end. This made people late for work. It turned commutes from a drive of minutes to a drive of hours. It prevented emergency vehicles for getting through. It filled the air with the pollution of over two hundred thousand idling cars. It cost businesses, maybe your small business, over 200 million dollars in lost productivity.

Remember, this was not for any good reason. Just to get even with an official who wouldn't kiss Christie's ring. The governor and his people didn't care that they were hurting innocent bystanders. They didn't care that their little power play might cost you your job. They didn't care that an ambulance might not get through.

Chris Christie...too small-minded to be president. Because the next person in a traffic-jammed ambulance might be a member of your family.

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank

Aunt Snow said...

The funny thing is, they could have done it to Fort Lee and done it openly, with prior notice to officials and a whiff of credible bureaucratic incompetence - they would have had close to the same results and they would have been in the clear. Shitty traffic diversions happen all the time for semi-legitimate reasons.

But no, they had to over-reach, do it without advance notice, lie about it and gloat about it. Because they're vindictive.

And to what end, really? It's not like the mayor's refusal to endorse cost Christie anything in the election.

Such hubris, and such mean-mindedness. It's Christies "Greg Stillson" moment.