The Rise and Fall of Chris Christie
February 13, 2014 7:32 AM   Subscribe

"It was one of the most effective optical illusions in American politics—until it wasn’t." Alec MacGillis, in the New Republic, describes why "Chris Christie's entire career reeks. It's not just the bridge."
posted by spitbull (99 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Earlier MacGillis: "Chris Christie's Machine Politics Family Tree."
posted by spitbull at 7:33 AM on February 13


Where are the "liberal media" when you need them?

On MSNBC and apparently nowhere else.
posted by Repack Rider at 7:41 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

Matthew 23:27

See also: Heart of Darkness
posted by chavenet at 7:56 AM on February 13


Christie will be fine. Even Paula Deen gets a comeback. Besides, compare and contrast what happened to John Edwards and Newt Gingrich. The list goes on.

Christie has the most important bona fide there is in conservative circles - he makes liberals angry. He hates fags, unions, sluts and liberals. Conservatives don't elect politicians - they elect positions. And Christie has the right positions, mostly. That's all that matters.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:04 AM on February 13 [6 favorites]


And Christie has the right positions, mostly.

This could not be more wrong.
posted by The Bellman at 8:10 AM on February 13 [9 favorites]


What is frustrating is how I saw this coming a mile away. Christie was one of the select group of US Attorneys who wasn't fired by the Bush administration in 2004/2005 specifically because of his willingness to pursue flimsy, politically-motivated cases at the behest of the White House. While he railed against corruption and liked to bully public servants as "overpaid", he had a history of living lavishly on government expense accounts.

And yet, that is all precisely his appeal, much like how Silvio Berlisconi is appealing: many voters, and particularly Republicans, want to be the guy living high off these dirty deals while paying retribution against the "disfavored" classes. He was the embodiment of the maxim that "the rich are too poor and the poor are too rich", and his supporters cheered him for it-- that was his appeal.

The reason the bridge closing is such a big mess for him is simply that he picked the wrong target: suburban car commuters, the precise group that wanted to do the bullying Christie was doing, rather than thinking they would end up being the target.
posted by deanc at 8:13 AM on February 13 [55 favorites]


I am shocked, SHOCKED that there is political corruption the Garden State.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:13 AM on February 13 [5 favorites]


Christie can also hold his own in a conversation or debate. A talent that's sorely missing from almost all the 'top tier' political candidates. Listen to Rand Paul talk for 20 minutes, and tell me you wouldn't rather have Christie soaking up the airwaves.

I'd be fine with an asshole in office.

I'm not so fine with the quid pro quo/cash money rules everything business side of things. This saddens me. Even though I doubt the guy would have convinced me to go red.
posted by DigDoug at 8:14 AM on February 13 [5 favorites]


On MSNBC and apparently nowhere else.

Watching Rachel Madow cover this -- from "this can't really be a thing, can it?" to "wait, maybe this is really a thing" to "oh my God this is totally a gigantic thing!" -- has been maybe the most fun I have had watching television since the second season of Justified.

Also, it's been textbook strong investigative journalism, not just from MSNBC but from a number of local NJ news outlets, which has also been a pleasure to watch.
posted by The Bellman at 8:15 AM on February 13 [11 favorites]


Burt Ross in today's Daily Beast: "Why is New Jersey So Corrupt?"
posted by spitbull at 8:15 AM on February 13


When Christie beComes president, he's totally going to make MSNBC and the New Republic pay for saying he's a vindictive bastard.
posted by happyroach at 8:17 AM on February 13 [45 favorites]


I feel like if he runs for president, that Romney campaign file on him will end up seeing the light of day, whether via another Republican primary hopeful getting it, someone straight-up paying for it, or someone involved with the Romney campaign wanting to cash in on a timely tell-all book.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:35 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


It couldn't have been too effective an illusion, I mean even Romney's campaign staff saw through this joker.
posted by davros42 at 8:51 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


The Bellman: " And Christie has the right positions, mostly.

This could not be more wrong.
"

I don't think Pogo_Fuzzybutt meant that straight-faced. Christie has the right positions for the conservatives.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:51 AM on February 13 [9 favorites]


Man, on WNYC they were explaining the shit that's gone down in the Port Authority related to this, and I have to say, the more they talk about the Port Authority the more I imagine not the bus station but some underground bunker office where all sorts of shady shit goes down.
posted by angrycat at 8:53 AM on February 13


Christie has the most important bona fide there is in conservative circles - he makes liberals angry

Unless you're solely referring to the recent scandal, I'd have to disagree with you. Christie was never publicly in the mold of the teabaggers.

Christie does make Republicans giddy by being the loud blowhard who shuts liberals down. But he's also the guy who issued fulsome praise of Obama at a crucial moment in the '12 campaign and hugged the president when cameras were around. Pre-scandal, the mainstream media latched on to him as the Great White Bipartisan Hope. I've heard more than a few Democrats say they would be tempted to vote for him in 2016.

He was trying to have it both ways. Loud enough to keep the Republicans interested. Appearing moderate enough and bipartisan enough to bring over centrist Democrats. Probably would have been a brilliant and winning strategy if wasn't for his pettiness.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:59 AM on February 13 [8 favorites]


I too think Christie will come back from this and make a really strong showing next year. If anything, this scandal happening this early helps him. Corrupt local politics don't matter to people in Iowa and New Hampshire, and if they don't matter to New Jerseyians (ites?), the democrats could be screwed.

That's why I support Tommy Carcetti Martin O'Malley 2016. Battle of the Corrupt Governors! May the least dirty white guy win! If there's a bikini competition in the debates our guy is a shoe in.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:00 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


"Chris Christie's entire career reeks. It's not just the bridge."

Christie has the most important bona fide there is in conservative circles - he makes liberals angry.

And Christie has the right positions, mostly.

Under the bridge?

 
posted by Herodios at 9:08 AM on February 13


I really think this stuff makes him weak in the primaries even if it doesn't seem like it's gaining traction now - it's one thing to have MSNBC calling him out on this, it's another entirely to have other Republican candidates in a Republican primary hammering him on it.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:08 AM on February 13


I really think this stuff makes him weak in the primaries even if it doesn't seem like it's gaining traction now - it's one thing to have MSNBC calling him out on this, it's another entirely to have other Republican candidates in a Republican primary hammering him on it.

Yeah, but won't it be entertaining to watch Christie do his in-your-face loudmouth bully act on his Republican challengers?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:12 AM on February 13 [5 favorites]


IAmBroom: Christie has the right positions for the conservatives.

I got it, and my remark was far too flip and snarky, so I apologize for that, but what I meant was that Christie is, in fact, not popular with conservatives -- at least not with the far right wing of the party -- because he is seen as too liberal and too cozy with what passes for the Left in America today. So although he pays lip service to conservative positions on things like abortion and gun control the Tea Party (for example) has never bought it. It was his major weakness as a Republican candidate even before all of this came out.

Those guys would never have forgiven him for the hug.
posted by The Bellman at 9:12 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


The fact that he isn't a typical Republican in a couple of superficial ways makes him appealing to the money men in the GOP who realize they need democratic support to win the general election. The fact that when you dig deeper he's actually a regular republican makes him viable in the primaries. The fact that he briefly behaved like a decent person rather than a politician during a crises makes him appealing to everyone. If you care about the democrats maintaining the white house, stop laughing at him and start taking him seriously enough to figure out who we can run against him.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:16 AM on February 13 [9 favorites]


I will wager good money that Christie is going to jail, and count myself among those who think his political career is clearly finished already by what's happened to date. But I also believe Christie was never going to win the national GOP slot. He most assuredly did *not* have "the right positions" on certain issues -- especially guns, and, ironically, as someone who had openly called Islamophobia on the right "bigotry" (something for which I once praised him on Metafilter). He was going to be the Karl Rove candidate, sure. But the folks over at RedState, representing the unhinged 20 percent who actually vote in GOP primaries and caucuses, hated him with implacable focus before 2012, and ironically are half-heartedly warming to him now that he can be painted as a victim of LibrulMedia bias and a distraction from BenghaziCare.

He would also have been forced to be much more vocal and explicit and extreme about his already anti-choice views on abortion. Hillary Clinton was always going to trounce him on the woman's vote margin alone. Likewise for immigration -- Christie has had the luxury of taking no particular stance, but that wasn't going to last. He had to face the classic GOP primary conundrum, but with the establishment that backed him far more discredited than ever among angry right wing voters after two straight presidential debacles. And everywhere Mitt was unlikable because he was cold, Christie was going to be unlikable because he was hot, and HRC was always going to use her jujitsu to draw him into being a sexist bully by attacking her.

We'll see, of course. But I strongly believe federal charges are coming for Gov. Christie over the Sandy aid misappropriation business, and that damages whatever brand he might have been able to salvage from Bridgegate. As for the Romney file, isn't MacGillis' article sufficient to disqualify someone from the VP slot? Really, it just assembles mostly already public and known information into a coherent narrative of utter corruption and malfeasance. What could Romney possibly have had that would be worse, tape recordings of deals going down? Witnesses willing to go public only if Christie was on the national ticket? Anyone on the inside of the process would have known how dangerous and Machiavellian Christie had been over the course of his career already. I doubt they had/have a smoking gun.

And now, Americans don't need one. We've got a smoking bridge.

Is it wrong that I am smiling?
posted by spitbull at 9:23 AM on February 13 [14 favorites]


If you were a Republican political operative why on earth would you want to work for Chris Christie right now? He might get indicted. If you were a Republican political donor why would you want to give him money?

That's what's going to kill him. He needs to start running for President now and instead of looking like a golden boy with unlimited potential he looks like a crook who is being investigated.
posted by leopard at 9:24 AM on February 13 [8 favorites]


Those guys would never have forgiven him for the hug.

They would. They have to. McCain and Romney both are far too liberal for the deep red hardliners and still won the nominations over politicians with more enthusiastic support.

So it would be with Christie. If the NJ dems can keep this in the news cycle long enough to get to the low information voters, it might matter. But otherwise I would expect that the bridge scandal will only burnish his credentials with the right.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:25 AM on February 13


Before this I would have bet on Christie being elected President, but I think he's finished now. Which is kind of frightening. We could end up with Rand Paul or Ted Cruz instead.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:26 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


The dynamic is going to be very different than it was with McCain and Romney. The deal between the establishment and the hard right is no longer in force. Heck, look how hard the Teepers are going after McConnell.

McCain had War Hero. Romney had Businessman. What did Christie have? Competence. His best case scenario here is that he escapes charges because he was too incompetent to manage his staff.

He's a sitting duck.
posted by spitbull at 9:27 AM on February 13


But there was no lenience for those who bucked the system. Take Democratic State Senator and former Acting Governor Richard Codey, a Norcross nemesis. First, Christie slashed funding for an anti-postpartum-depression program founded by Codey’s wife. Then, Codey’s former chief of staff lost his state job and Codey’s cousin was fired from his high-paying post at the Port Authority. A personnel report on the cousin’s sexual harassment of another man, years earlier, was leaked to the press.

Wow. Classy.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:31 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


He's a sitting duck.

I don't know about that. FWIW, Christie is an easily understood persona. Presidential politics is all about appealing to the low information voter, and easy is key. He's a smart Fred Flintstone. Yes, he's a bully, but he's a bully for 'righteousness', getting all thouse liberals bent out of shape. Personally I think there's enough there that will trip him up before he gets to the Super Tuesday primaries, but I would not be shocked if he somehow turned the negatives around.
posted by readery at 9:37 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Painting Christie as the corrupt establishment RINO fits so perfectly into the Tea Party narrative, even before the scandals, that he looks tailor made to be Rand Paul or Ted Cruz's punching bag in a primary. Christie, before the scandal stuff, would have been formidable in the general election when everyone's rushing for the center/center-right, but I just don't see him making it out of the primaries when he's such a perfect target to distract from everyone else's flaws.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:40 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


Newark Mayor Sharpe James got 27 months on charges stemming from the sale of steeply discounted city properties to an ex-girlfriend. (James’s successor, Cory Booker, is the first mayor of Newark not to be indicted since 1962.)

That may be the most astonishing fact in the entire article.
posted by The Bellman at 9:48 AM on February 13 [9 favorites]


I agree with jason_steakums. To me, this scandal amplifies all of Christie's negatives with the right *except* "makes liberals angry." He had already milked that schtick, which is why his bro act with Obama was read as such a betrayal by the far right (turned out he was working Obama and the media for his Sandy slush funds, necessary to his own plans to move up). And he doesn't make liberals as angry as, say, Ted Cruz does anyway.

What really saddens me is that we are looking at Clinton v. Bush for 2016. How else does it possibly play out? Maybe a Walker or a Ryan or a Rubio could pull a rabbit out of the hat, but there's no way Rand Paul or Ted Cruz would even get close to HRC in a general election contest. They are not going to win any states Romney lost except maybe a couple of Western states (I could see Paul competing for Colorado and New Mexico, maybe, except HRC will get 75% of the Latino vote in both), and either one puts new places into play on the electoral map. It would be a bloodbath for the GOP. Ted Cruz would likely bring the end of the national GOP's presidential hopes for a generation.

It would be hilarious in a back to the future retro-politics way if it weren't so absurd. I'm no big fan of Ms. Clinton, but she stands astride the field of GOP competitors with ease and there isn't one name on their list other than Jeb Bush who, even with a billion dollars in Koch-Crossroads-Adelson money, could beat her unless there's some very serious deep scandal in her past that has somehow survived the most ferocious media onslaught in recorded history over 30+ years.
posted by spitbull at 9:49 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


> FWIW, Christie is an easily understood persona.

But "bully who takes it out on taxpayers" isn't going to play with anyone, ever.

> I would not be shocked if he somehow turned the negatives around.

I will personally bet you cash, any odds you like, that this will never, ever, ever happen.

You can get past, "Drunk driving and killing someone" - because most Americans have driven drunk at some point. You can get past "putting your dog on the roof of a car" because it's only a dog. And of course you can start all the wars you want based on any lie you care to name, and kill innocent brown people elsewhere, because they're only foreigners.

But deliberately causing long delays in people's commute? America will never, ever forgive him for that.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:51 AM on February 13 [13 favorites]


Oh, and reading this article makes me really angry, even though I have no ties to New Jersey. The systematic corruption through and through makes me feel sick.

I keep thinking, "We're getting to the end of the bad revelations," but there's just more and more.

Honestly, I'm starting to believe that the entire political system in the US is corrupt from top to bottom and isn't going to be fixable by any sort of gradual reform, but rather by tumbrels and the corrupt hanging from lampposts with ravens pecking at their eyes.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:59 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


But deliberately causing long delays in people's commute? America will never, ever forgive him for that.

The early polling when the story was first breaking and all over the front page news pretty clearly demonstrated that "America" didn't give a hoot in hell about a traffic jam in New Jersey. If some of the graver allegations about Christie that have emerged in the wake of the Bridge scandal stick, or if he is proven to have flat out lied about prior knowledge of the plan those will be serious and probably fatal blows to his future political ambitions. But Bridgegate by itself was a big "who cares" to anybody not likely to be directly affected.
posted by yoink at 10:00 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


I will wager good money that Christie is going to jail

I will take that bet. Any amount. MeMail to book.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:01 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


This whole scandal plays right into the Tea Party's hand. They don't compete against Democrats, they compete against moderate Republicans. Fox et al. will just disown Christie as a representative of the establishment elite, regardless of what they've said about him in the past.

I don't like Christie much but at least he was a sane and rational actor in a party that's increasingly dominated by irrational, populist, nativist nutbars. The Bush years were bad, but things could get far, far worse if those people gain more power.
posted by miyabo at 10:03 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


I will also bet that Christie wins the Republican Nom in 2016. Memail for details on that as well.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:04 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


I will take that bet. Any amount. MeMail to book.

$100 to our respective favorite charity! How about Feb. 13, 2016 as a deadline.

It's in writing here. Call me on it then and I'm good for it. You can donate my winnings to the Postpartum Depression study Christie defunded in retribution.

A former US attorney in the opposite party is the biggest game a current US Attorney can bag except . . . a governor.
posted by spitbull at 10:05 AM on February 13 [17 favorites]


Yes, he's a bully, but he's a bully for 'righteousness',

A politician can ride that pretty far, especially in my home state of New Jersey that prides itself (rightly or not) on a certain type of in-your-face bluster. And while it's nothing like the old days of machine politics, a New Jersey pol can also take advantage of (or at least not be hurt by) the general public's indifference to at least a low level of corruption that's seen as just part of the way the state has always done business.

The problems I see in Christie's case are that the seemingly endless revelations of bullying are increasingly devoid of any discernible "righteousness" and are painting him more and more as a petty, vain and vindictive person, period. At some point this ceases to be an admirable trait to almost any portion of the political spectrum. These revelations are ALSO shedding light on a level of corruption that's rising to a point of state and even federal scrutiny, and while that might not hurt him as Governor, it's going to be harder to overcome on a national stage.
posted by jalexei at 10:06 AM on February 13


What really saddens me is that we are looking at Clinton v. Bush for 2016. How else does it possibly play out? Maybe a Walker or a Ryan or a Rubio could pull a rabbit out of the hat, but there's no way Rand Paul or Ted Cruz would even get close to HRC in a general election contest. They are not going to win any states Romney lost except maybe a couple of Western states (I could see Paul competing for Colorado and New Mexico, maybe, except HRC will get 75% of the Latino vote in both), and either one puts new places into play on the electoral map. It would be a bloodbath for the GOP. Ted Cruz would likely bring the end of the national GOP's presidential hopes for a generation.

It would be hilarious in a back to the future retro-politics way if it weren't so absurd. I'm no big fan of Ms. Clinton, but she stands astride the field of GOP competitors with ease and there isn't one name on their list other than Jeb Bush who, even with a billion dollars in Koch-Crossroads-Adelson money, could beat her unless there's some very serious deep scandal in her past that has somehow survived the most ferocious media onslaught in recorded history over 30+ years.


I just hope that Hillary's up against some even half-credible Dem opponents to give her a fight, because I feel super uneasy about her team buying into the "unbeatable" narrative.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:09 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


$100 to our respective favorite charity! How about Feb. 13, 2016 as a deadline.

It's in writing here. Call me on it then and I'm good for it. You can donate my winnings to the Postpartum Depression study Christie defunded in retribution.

A former US attorney in the opposite party is the biggest game a current US Attorney can bag except . . . a governor.
posted by spitbull at 1:05 PM on February 13 [+] [!]


Booked.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:11 AM on February 13 [12 favorites]


How on earth can Chris Christie EVER hold a press conference where he will be asked about the contradictions in his statements about the bridge shutdown?

He has given several different accounts of when and how he learned of the shutdown and what he did at whatever point in time he is currently citing. The problem with being a liar in the Internet age is that everything is on the record, and when the lies have to be modified to fit new facts, sometimes you lose the thread.

Every time he talks about the bridge scandal, he adopts a sniveling delivery that is so far removed from his usual confidence that he might as well be wearing a t-shirt that says "I'm Lying."

Bottom line (literally), he's toast, won't be nominated, won't ever win another election because his fellow REPUBLICANS will eat him alive in the primary.
posted by Repack Rider at 10:13 AM on February 13


Hypothetically, if DOJ investigations into Christie dragged on until an election and Presidential win by Christie, is there, like... any way to prevent him just restacking the DOJ with his own people and effectively dropping a pending case against himself? It seems like an in-progress DOJ investigation should maaaybe disqualify someone from running for President.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:18 AM on February 13


Although that would be ripe for all kinds of abuse by a sitting President sending the DOJ after potential opponents. Tricky.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:20 AM on February 13


What really saddens me is that we are looking at Clinton v. Bush for 2016. How else does it possibly play out? Maybe a Walker or a Ryan or a Rubio could pull a rabbit out of the hat, but there's no way Rand Paul or Ted Cruz would even get close to HRC in a general election contest.

As a Wisconsinite, I'm hoping that the Republicans pick Walker. Seeing that doofus humiliated on a national level would make my decade.
posted by nerdler at 10:35 AM on February 13 [6 favorites]


As a Wisconsinite, I'm hoping that the Republicans pick Walker. Seeing that doofus humiliated on a national level would make my decade.

As a Texan, I can tell you from very recent experience: it's glorious!
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:40 AM on February 13 [15 favorites]


One consistency about the Republican party: they continue to alienate voters who despise Obama.
posted by chuckiebtoo at 11:03 AM on February 13


Scott Raab: Chris Christie's Port Authority (Esquire, Feb. 12)

Give Christie credit for this much: He's hardly the first governor to use the PA as a piggy bank, a patronage pit, and a political weapon. But no other governor in history has been quite so greedy, so conniving, or so crude.
posted by spitbull at 11:21 AM on February 13


As a Wisconsinite, I'm hoping that the Republicans pick Walker.

First president since Harry Truman with no college degree!
posted by goethean at 11:37 AM on February 13


Despite his anti-union position, his anti all things liberal positions, the Dems in the NJ gave him great support. When you ask his supporters why he is liked, we are told "he is honest and tells you exactly what he thinks." So too, did Hitler. Thus, the appeal for the guy reflects the silliness of the voters in a heavily Democratic state.
posted by Postroad at 11:40 AM on February 13


We're still doing the "-gate" thing on any political scandal thing?

I mean, I don't have a dog in this, but "-gate" still? Is the self-deprecation meter not calibrated at all on journalism?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:46 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


I find it almost too writerly perfect that Christie had a front-row seat to Abscam as it went down way back when, and now he's living the story and American Hustle is in theaters.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:49 AM on February 13 [6 favorites]


Before this I would have bet on Christie being elected President, but I think he's finished now. Which is kind of frightening. We could end up with Rand Paul or Ted Cruz instead.

The Republicans don't get a "turn" at the White House just because Obama had two terms. We can vote blue again.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:52 AM on February 13 [14 favorites]


We're still doing the "-gate" thing on any political scandal thing?

I hear ya, but I'd let this one pass as I think that in this particular case bridge-gate makes a nice double metaphor for what actually happened.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:53 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Smedleyman... I initially had the same reaction to the -gate thing... but one of the pundits actually addressed it (might have been Maddow) and of all the stupid things it's been applied to this one actually fits.

It's largely about political payback and scheeming about an election that was never in doubt anyway. The actual function of this bridge being a major "gateway" to NYC in many ways. That it's all about the coverups and backroom scheeming that will bring people down rather then the actual up front crime...
posted by cirhosis at 11:53 AM on February 13


The Republicans don't get a "turn" at the White House just because Obama had two terms. We can vote blue again.

Not enough favorites in the Universe for this. How I hate this kind of thinking.
posted by The Bellman at 11:54 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


I would also put good money on Christie ending up in jail before he ever saw a national campaign. Rachel Maddow, in particular, has been airing this story almost to the exclusion of all else for months now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:59 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]



The early polling when the story was first breaking and all over the front page news pretty clearly demonstrated that "America" didn't give a hoot in hell about a traffic jam in New Jersey.


Between the beginning of December and the beginning of February, he had a 50-point swing in his favorability rating, from plus 25 to minus 25. That's a helluva ding. It may have taken a few weeks for non-news junkies to hear about it, but it obviously it's hurt him hugely.
posted by Diablevert at 12:02 PM on February 13 [5 favorites]


"-gate" has entered the English language as a suffix that means "political scandal." Language changes.
posted by spitbull at 12:15 PM on February 13 [10 favorites]


The Republicans don't get a "turn" at the White House just because Obama had two terms. We can vote blue again.

No. I just thought that, despite how "we" vote, Christie had a good shot to be a favorite in swing states - Florida, Ohio, North Carolina. I don't think that's the case for for Paul and Cruz, but you never know what could happen. Romney came pretty close to being a favorite after the second debate. If something worse happens to Hilary just before the election, all bets could be off. For that reason, I'd feel a lot more comfortable with a moderate Republican candidate, and that's what I thought Christie would be, but in hindsight he is much worse than I realized.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:19 PM on February 13


Between the beginning of December and the beginning of February, he had a 50-point swing in his favorability rating, from plus 25 to minus 25. That's a helluva ding.

Sure, but that doesn't start happening in any serious way until the post-Bridgegate revelations started to come out. At the time of Christie's big news conference (when you really couldn't turn on a TV program or open a newspaper without hearing all about the Bridge closure) polling showed very clearly that people didn't care about the traffic snarl ups per se. They have cared a lot more about the Hurricane Sandy money and the strong suggestion that Christie was not being truthful in that big news conference.
posted by yoink at 12:23 PM on February 13


Romney came pretty close to being a favorite after the second debate.

I think you're thinking of the first debate. (The second debate had the infamous exchange with Candy Crowley.) But even so, it was proven by 538 blog and a bunch of other statisticians after the election that Romney never had a real shot at the presidency.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:23 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Oops. yes, I meant the first debate. But that was just a single sub-par debate performance; a bigger scandal (or personal tragedy or whatever) could do much more damage. States like Ohio could decide to move to split delegates based on congressional districts rather than winner-take-all which could give Republicans a gerrymandered advantage, making the race closer to begin with next time. I think the country is much more divided than people realize. Republicans do have a majority in the House and governorships after all.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:39 PM on February 13


They have cared a lot more about the Hurricane Sandy money and the strong suggestion that Christie was not being truthful in that big news conference.

I suppose Nate Silver or somebody could do a sophisticated regression analysis to chart which revelation spurred which dip. My personal feeling is that a poll taken two days after a scandal breaks --- necessarily consisting of only news junkies --- does not give you the full measure of its impact. To the passionate follower of politics, all the little twists and turns of the story are hugely important events in and of themselves; my guess would be that for less tuned in people it takes a while for them to familiarise themselves with the details and for the impact to show up in their opinions. The whole she-bang isn't called Bridgegate for nothing; all this stuff is linked together in the public mind. As, I'd say, well it should be -- the reason the thing had the potential to damage him in the first place is that it flipped the frame, from aggressive crusader to thuggish gangster. Every subsequent revelation bolsters that frame; that's why they're damaging.

If the bridge thing had been the only thing, probably it would have faded; but that's impossible, really, because of what the bridge thing tells you about his character. There was always going to be other stuff, the question was what was going to be the straw.
posted by Diablevert at 12:41 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


I would also put good money on Christie ending up in jail before he ever saw a national campaign.

My wallet offer remains open.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:46 PM on February 13


I'll take Christie and his corruption--no matter how deep--over the lunatics of the right any day. For the nomination and the win. It is their brainlessness, their disdain for facts about the world around them that really scare me when we're talking about the Cruzes and the Pauls of the political right. Reading that ton ten list of Rick Perry's gaffes brings it all back from 2012. I'm not confident enough in any Democratic nominee to exult in the win of a loony rightwinger. I'm in Georgia, and down here we might have to face the reality of Senator Paul Broun, or Senator Karen Handel. HRC is powerful, but we have no crystal ball.
posted by feste at 12:56 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


We're still doing the "-gate" thing on any political scandal thing?

How about "Bridge-ghazi" instead?
posted by Renoroc at 1:08 PM on February 13 [11 favorites]


What saddens me the most is that it's starting to be time to talk about presidential nominees already. I feel like we just got done with that.

I hope Jill Stein is running again. I like her. I've pledged to myself never to cast a "lesser evil" vote again.
posted by Foosnark at 2:19 PM on February 13 [7 favorites]


I'm on record as opposing "wanna bet?" machismo on MetaFilter, but Potomac Avenue is offering some serious easy money here on the GOP nomination.
posted by gerryblog at 2:24 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


> I hope Jill Stein is running again. I like her. I've pledged to myself never to cast a "lesser evil" vote again.

Days Since "Moral Purity" vs. "Gritty Realism" Debate
685 0


*sigh*
posted by benito.strauss at 2:47 PM on February 13 [13 favorites]


We're still doing the "-gate" thing on any political scandal thing?

Sorry, yes. I'm tired of it myself but it appears indelible at this point (and indeed, is international). Our only hope is that it's become hopelessly overused for pathetically minor "scandals", e.g.

Christie is, in fact, not popular with conservatives

This is my take as well. Christie is best read as a reactionary, which is sometimes in line with conservatism, but sans the ideological curbs.
posted by dhartung at 2:47 PM on February 13


I'm *amazed* that the article was this long and yet there was no mention of Christie's connection to the for-profit hospital chain HUDCo (which has recently changed its name to Carepoint) that swooped in to take over three bankrupted NJ public hospitals with low bids in Bayonne (you know, the one that now has the highest billing rates in the county), Hoboken (a coup that Mayor Zimmer pointed to as a feather in her cap and cited Christie's heroic actions in making that happen as why she's previously been such a big supporter of his) and Jersey City.

I've tons of research collected on this and will probably post some of it later this evening, but a search on Chris Christie + Laxmipathi Garipalli + Vivek Garipalli should bring up some insane background on this for anyone who's interested.
posted by stagewhisper at 2:47 PM on February 13 [4 favorites]


Right, because "-ghazi" simply needs to become the suffix for "bad thing exploited as a scandal for partisan purposes to stoke faux poutrage."

Hence we debate whether a scandal is a "gate" or a "ghazi." And on the answer, we make gentlemanly wagers, good sir.
posted by spitbull at 2:58 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Does this gate vs. ghazi thing have something to do with the Guelph vs. Ghibelline thing? 'Cause I've never understood that.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:25 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Usage would be like Lewinskyghazi (a retronym) vs. Iran-Contragate, let's say, or Weinerghazi vs. Rangelgate, to bring it down to a local NY level.

Ghazis are actually sometimes quite helpful to a politician, as when they don't pan out to be anything truly scandalous, those who built them up tend to be recognized as having cried "wolf." See Clinton, second term of.
posted by spitbull at 3:42 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


(Not helpful to Anthony Weiner, however, rest his soul.)
posted by spitbull at 3:43 PM on February 13


Morphology sidebar:
This reminds me of one of my favorite examples of the productivity of folk linguistic intuitions, the use of "-aholic" (or "-oholic" or "-a-holic") to mean "someone addicted to" whatever precedes it.

"Alcoholics" are of course people addicted to alCOHOL.

Shopaholics, however, are not addicted shopahol. Nor do we call people who can't stop shopping "shopics" either.

So the lexicalization and semantic shift (abstraction/typification) of morphemes is a Thing That Happens.

posted by spitbull at 3:47 PM on February 13 [8 favorites]


That reminds me of one of my favorite Homer Simpson lines: "I'm a rageaholic!
I just can't live without rageahol!"
posted by feste at 3:54 PM on February 13 [4 favorites]


Rachel Maddow, in particular, has been airing this story almost to the exclusion of all else for months now.

That is, of course, because it is the most important news story of the past months, and has nothing to do with Maddow simultaneously acting as a Democrat political operator while producing product aimed to a certain entertainment industry marketing niche.

In for 50 apiece on 1) Not nominated, I think the Dems did enough damage to get us a crazy R rather than a sane one in 2016. Thanks! 2) No prison, think he has enough dirt on Ds from being in cahoots that they don't want to see a Christie with nothing to lose.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:06 PM on February 13


Good times. The law firm run by Governor Christie's top man at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson, extracted a secret agreement from New Jersey Transit that it would build a transit station in a favorable location for Samson's client.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:34 PM on February 13


In for 50 apiece on 1) Not nominated, I think the Dems did enough damage to get us a crazy R rather than a sane one in 2016

If there is a sane Republican, don't keep us in suspense. Further, what "damage" have Democrats done to Christie? The vote in the Jersey assembly to continue the investigation was unanimous, so you can't consider that "Democrats" doing damage.

The fact is that Christie now has so much baggage that Rick Perry could beat him in a primary. Christie has hung his hat on the incompetence defense, saying that the scandal was because his entire staff went rogue without his knowledge. Who wouldn't want to face a guy like that in a campaign?

Rachel Maddow may in fact be partisan, but unlike every other talking head, she shows her work, every assertion is accompanied by the evidence that supports it.

She is smarter than any two other news personality. Her tireless work on the Christie story is the only reason it is national, because apparently everyone else was scared of the dude, and for that she deserves every journalism award the broadcast industry gives.

My wife is lucky that Rachel would never have me.
posted by Repack Rider at 4:37 PM on February 13 [9 favorites]


Christie was the sane Republican. Vindictive and bullying, but not going to drive the country off a cliff or start an Iran war. This goddamn D-R nonsense, meanwhile I'm worried about the bipartisan threats of war with Iran, NSA, and inaction on climate change.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:47 PM on February 13


I dunno, there's an awful lot of sweetheart contractor deals in military adventurism, Christie might get a taste for it.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:56 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


Does this gate vs. ghazi thing have something to do with the Guelph vs. Ghibelline thing? 'Cause I've never understood that.

Handy mnemonic: there's a P in Guelph and in Pope; the Guelphs were on the side of the Pope. (The Ghibbelenes were on the side of the Holy Roman Emperor).
posted by yoink at 5:26 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


I dunno, there's an awful lot of sweetheart contractor deals in military adventurism, Christie might get a taste for it.

You can get sweetheart deals for rolling over little pissant places like Iraq or Grenada or farting around purposelessly for a while and departing like Afghanistan. Iran, they could actually hit back.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:34 PM on February 13


"Alcoholics" are of course people addicted to alCOHOL.

I cannot help but read this entire sentence in the voice and cadence of an on-stage Paul Stanley.
posted by invitapriore at 6:15 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


-gate" has entered the English language as a suffix that means "political scandal."

I just wish the Nixon break in happened at the building designed by George Dix.
Then everything could be -dix. Bridgedix. Memodix. Ghazidix.
That thing with British Prime Minister David Cameron riding Brooks' horse?
I mean c'mon, it sounds so much better - by better I mean worse of a scandal - than 'Horsegate.'
posted by Smedleyman at 8:12 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


It's taking me forever to pull together all my research and links and then edit them down in any form that makes sense, because the connections between the actors involved are so convoluted and overlapping. And crazy. I've amassed dozens and dozens of articles and links, so it'll be a while. For the moment though, this little throwaway blurb gives some insight on where I'm going with this, scroll down to the bottom of this page: Christie takes care of his friends.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:52 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


A couple more things about some of the players named in the article. Christie and his corrupt machine have their hands in almost every for-profit industry that undermines the public good. His ties to the for-profit Hospital group, Carepoint, probably is enough of a derail from this article to warrant its own post instead, but one thing the (excellent) New Republic article didn't delve more deeply into was how corrupt and intertwined the power brokers who were mentioned continue to be.

I'll focus on two of the boldface names in the New Republic piece: Palatucci and DiVincenzo

The New York Times ran a 3 part series called "Unlocked" in 2012 that investigated a for-profit industrial prison and immigration detention company called Community Education.

Some excerpts from the first NYT article in the series:

"In the 1990s, Mr. Clancy worked out an unusual arrangement. Under state law, only nonprofit agencies can receive contracts for halfway houses. But regulators allowed Community Education to obtain contracts through a nonprofit called Education and Health Centers of America, state records show.

That arrangement remains. The primary purpose of the nonprofit has been to pay Community Education hundreds of millions of dollars that the nonprofit has received in recent years from state and county agencies, disclosure records show. The nonprofit has only 10 employees, and gave Mr. Clancy a $351,346 salary in its 2011 fiscal year, according to the records. Community Education itself, which is privately held, does not disclose how much it separately pays Mr. Clancy."...

"Early on, Mr. Clancy hired a law firm, Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, to lobby in Trenton. Its lobbyists were Mr. Christie and Mr. Palatucci, who were close friends and rising political stars. Community Education and Mr. Christie’s aides said Mr. Palatucci, not Mr. Christie, lobbied for the company, though both men were listed on disclosure forms."...

"Mr. Christie and Mr. Palatucci were major fund-raisers for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. After Mr. Bush won, Mr. Palatucci sent Mr. Christie’s résumé to Karl Rove, the president’s political strategist. Soon after, Mr. Bush picked Mr. Christie to be the United States attorney for New Jersey.

In that job, Mr. Christie had no direct role in the state corrections system. Even so, he regularly visited Community Education’s facilities. He even attended the ribbon-cutting at the company’s new corporate headquarters in 2007."...

"In 2005, Mr. Clancy hired Mr. Palatucci as Community Education’s senior vice president for business development, though he did not have major experience in corrections. The company said Mr. Palatucci does not lobby the Christie administration."


Contracts for Community Education have been awarded through shell corporation non-profits:

"The comptroller also questioned the legality of the state’s contract with its largest provider of halfway houses, the politically connected nonprofit Education and Health Centers of America, or EHCA.

The state can only contract with nonprofits for halfway homes. But the report describes EHCA as a shell corporation, passing almost all its state dollars to the for-profit company Community Education Centers, which runs the houses.

The same person, John Clancy, runs both organizations. William Palatucci, Gov. Chris Christie’s close political adviser, is a senior vice president at the for-profit company."


They have also been awarded at least one sole-bid contract for an Immigration Detention center specifically tailored for them:

"Community Education and its executives are major supporters of Mr. DiVincenzo, one of the most powerful politicians in North Jersey.

Community Education employees, including senior executives and several of their family members, have donated a total of $30,600 to Mr. DiVincenzo’s campaigns since 2006, according to disclosure records.

Mr. DiVincenzo, the county executive since 2002, is also influential in Trenton. Though he is a Democrat, he has developed a close relationship with Mr. Christie, a Republican, who swore him in for his third term. Mr. DiVincenzo has said he agrees with 95 percent of what the governor is doing, and has broken ranks with his party to support Mr. Christie’s efforts to curb the pay and benefits of public employees."


Bonus: a bit more on the cross-party corruption.

Extra Bonus: The new Republic article mentioned Christie was a lobbyist before becoming attorney general. The issues he lobbied for? For-profit schools like University of Phoenix, (where Palatucci was also registered as a lobbyist) but:

"Christie also lobbied for exempting securities (stocks, bonds etc.) from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, from the New York Times: Before Mr. Christie became the United States attorney, they note, he worked as a lobbyist and represented the Securities Industry Association in its effort to block securities fraud from being included under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act."

Extra Special Bonus: for hours of more fun, look up Reform New Jersey.
posted by stagewhisper at 6:46 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


(one last thing, for anyone who is interested in how the political pay-to-play machine came to be/works in NJ, it looks like a lot of the research for the NR article was based on the blog swamp watch. The blog appears to be dormant now, but lays out how this all works. )
posted by stagewhisper at 7:13 PM on February 15


And the plot thickens...

This is starting to seem almost incestuous.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:30 AM on February 16


woah.
posted by stagewhisper at 3:15 PM on February 16


leftcoastbob, these are the names that will keep coming up together in all sorts of overlapping current NJ corruption, in addition to the main players at the Port Authority in the Bridgegate scandal (for anyone interested in putting together a bingo card):

people:

Judge Herbert J. Stern
Laxmipathi Garipalli *indicted for massive medical fraud by Christie when he was attorney general but given light slap on wrist fine and no jail time, because all these years later he's still a "cooperating witness"
James Lawler Cooperating witness who blew the whistle on Laxmipathi Garipelli. Since then went on to partner with his son Vivek, is a co owner of Carepoint.
Robert Torricelli (former senator, now a lobbyist for Carepoint)
Vivek Garipalli *key operator, Laxmipathi's son, Christie contributor, part of team ushered in by Christie to purchase struggling Bayonne hospital, which now has the highest billing rates in the entire country,and makes the bulk of their their money by forcing the surrounding community to be out of network.
Bill Palatucci see previous post on Community Education Centers

companies:

Bayonne Medical Center / Carepoint Made 25k donation to Reform Jersey Now. Carepoint is comprised of Vivek Garipalli, James Lawler, and Jeffrey Mandler. Christie earmarked $11million and then 5 more million of state funds to pay down Hoboken hospital's debt, in essence lowering the price Carepoint was able to purchase it for later in bankruptcy. Christie recently granted $1million in sandy funds to BMC, which, by the way, just flipped the hospital buildings and land they sit on for a cool $23million *profit* after purchasing it in bankruptcy 3 years ago.

sketchy non-profit PACS:

Reform Jersey Now founded by Mike DuHaime, Christie's former campaign manager and and Bill Palatucci, his former campaign treasurer among other things
The Movement Fund (Vivek Garipalli donated $300k to this recently to get Gov. Nikki Haley of S.C. reelected/ defund Obamacare)
posted by stagewhisper at 4:11 PM on February 16 [4 favorites]


Chris Christie's Private Army: The Port Authority Police Department is responsible for the traffic problems in Ft. Lee, and also the defense of the Freedom Tower
posted by homunculus at 12:52 AM on February 20


I didn't see this up post, so here is the Christie Tracker. haven't poked around much, so may/not be good.
posted by annsunny at 9:01 PM on February 20


Nine Reasons Why Chris Christie Is Done
posted by homunculus at 8:12 PM on March 1


Christie, Coumo, Baroni, and Wildstein implicated in orchestrating Commuter Fare Hikes battle

The thing is, a former Port Authority official told The Star-Ledger, “It was all bullshit.”

From the start, the fix was in, said that former official and five others who occupied key Port Authority posts when the toll hike was rolled out and eventually approved.

The whole process, the authority officials said, was orchestrated from the outset to make the governors look good even as they reached deeper, through the long arm of the authority, into the public’s pockets.

posted by stagewhisper at 11:29 AM on March 3


For a state that lost hundreds of lives on Sept. 11, the gifts were emotionally resonant: pieces of steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center. They were presented by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to 20 carefully chosen New Jersey mayors who sat atop a list of 100 whose endorsements Gov. Chris Christie hoped to win.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:05 AM on March 11


« Older How Durham Academy, North Carolina, announces a sn...  |  Nigerian photographer J.D Okha... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments