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    It's the Ego, Stupid


    Yesterday New Jersey governor Chris Christie took 108 minutes out of his busy schedule to do something so unprecedented there wasn't a pundit anywhere in the country who wasn't on top of it, who didn't have an opinion about it, and who, almost to a person, saw it as the beginning of the end of that lovable bully.  No White House for you, big guy!

    So what happened yesterday was that Chris Christie set up a press conference and stood before reporters for more than an hour and a half to apologize, sort of, for the colossal, politically incorrect, on-purpose screw-up that caused the week-long closing off of portions of the George Washington Bridge at Fort Lee, N.J.

    The apology for the undisputed fact that his own aides had orchestrated the closing was short and sweet compared to the hand-wringing that followed while Chris Christie, the ultimate victim here, explained to reporters how he felt when he discovered that he had been betrayed by members of his trusted staff.

    He felt sad. He was sad.  He was so sad:

    "I'm sad. I'm sad. That's the predominant emotion I feel right now is sadness, sadness that I was betrayed by a member of my staff, sadness that I had people who I entrusted with important jobs who acted completely inappropriately, sad that that's led the people of New Jersey to have less confidence in the people that I've selected. The emotion that I've been displaying in private is sad."

    The initial blow-up was over the vindictive, phony shutting down of toll booths and portions of the insanely busy George Washington bridge.  It ended up causing days of needless chaos for what turned out to be an odd game of supposed retaliation by Christie's staff against Fort Lee's Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing their guy in the last election.  Their guy, Chris Christie!  That guy!

    But after all that, their guy Christie, true to form, felt nobody else's emotion but his own.  It's true he mentioned the bridge fiasco a few times, but the main thrust of the news conference was about Christie's own strong feeling of betrayal.  Yes, the buck stops there, and yes, that mess on the bridge was awful, but how can he get across to the reporters in the room just how affected he was by his staff's actions against him? It was as if the chaos caused by the phony toll booth and lane closings was nothing more than collateral damage: The real story was Et tu, Brute?

    (By the way, Rachel Maddow made a pretty convincing argument last night that the traffic jam vendetta wasn't really over the mayor but was, rather, against New Jersey Democrats who wouldn't give the Gov what he wanted when it came to Supreme Court justices.  It's all about the timing.) 

    Egos are a dime a dozen in politics.  Every politician has one, and usually it's a doozy.  It has to be, in order to go through that whole election process.  When you go into it knowing hundreds if not thousands if not millions of people are going to hate you and make fun of you and try to bring you down in the process, something besides the thought of doing good deeds is driving you.

    If, once elected, politicians could check their egos at the door, let's face it--they wouldn't be nearly as entertaining.  The quiet drudges get no press, and that's a fact. Gov. Christie has built a pretty good career on being a callous blowhard while showing signs every now and then of an underlying humanity, just often enough to be forgiven for his theretofore signature rudeness.  (See Hurricane Sandy)  But it's Christie's ego that gets him every time.  In the end, it's always all about him.

      A healthy ego can be a marvelous thing (See Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, FDR, Martin Luther King, Jesus), but in the wrong heads it's the malignancy that will be the death of those folks yet.  Witness John Edwards, Anthony Weiner, Thaddeus McCotter, Herman Cain. . .

    Chris Christie went to Fort Lee yesterday to meet with the mayor there and apologize personally, even though the mayor all but begged him not to come.  He went anyway, because that's who he is.  He gives orders, he doesn't take them.

    But he didn't give the order to mess with the toll booths and set up the cones of artifice on the George Washington Bridge.  Because what do you think he is--stupid?




    Brilliant commentary!

    (but don't let that go to your head)

    Oh, it's only you.  Thanks.

    Okay, I hereby render unto Mike the Dayly Comment of the Day Award for this here Dagblog Site, given to all of him from all of me! ha


    Sorry, I just love this song!


    I watched Maddow last night too.  It is going to be interesting to see what trickles out over this.  We are not even close to the kick off of the 2016 presidential election and we already have a GOP circus.

    It'll be interesting to see what shakes out.  Maddow's explanation made too much sense.

    The GOP circus?  It's always in town.  They're nothing if not consistent.

    I like a theory that offers an answer to this kind of crazy crap as much as anyone. I watched last night and Maddow had me hooked but just about had me ready to throw my remote at the screen every time she repeated a point in some slightly different way for the fourth or fifth time on the way to making her case. I can usually grasp a simple analogy with only hearing two or three versions. I aint cumpleetlee stoopid. That is only a small gripe I have with her delivery. Like I said, I waited through it all to get to the end of her theory.
     I figure Christie is guilty even if only for assembling a team which thinks this sort of action is within bounds but there is still something I would expect to be seen as needed to make any vindictive reason for punishing political rivals make sense even when a perverted sense of how to wield power is in play.
     A demonstration of how you might be made to pay a price for not paying tribute needs to make the connection between the two things apparent to the victim. Whoever was being punished and whoever else was intended to get a warning message must be able to see the connection between the two things. The ones intended to learn a lesson or pay a price needed to see clearly that the lane closing was the price that was being extracted by the bully, but the action that was taken could never be seen as political bullying or there would be the political hell to pay that we are seeing. I don't see how Christy's people could ever even hint, because the public would learn,  that deliberate traffic jams were created by the big boy's ream.
     The only thing I can see that ties this all into a neat 'this-therefore-that bundle', so far, requires major big time stupidity, but that does not rule anything out.

    Rachel is often guilty of Yada Yada Yada, but I thought she made an impressive case for her theory.  It just doesn't make sense that a slight as simple as a non-endorsement would cause Christie's bunch to come up with punishment this diabolical.  It almost had to be something far more miff-making.

    But the stupid part is what confounds me.  I doubt if they're really that stupid.  More likely they do this sort of thing all the time and get away with it.  Who told on them?  And why? Do we know that yet? 

    It bothers me that we have so much fun with stories like this without really focusing on the ethics and morality of the people involved. (And yes, I'll include myself in that.) But really, what kind of monsters come up with something like this?  If they've been fired, fine, but how are they different from common criminals?  Nothing matters but their own gratification.  So where do they go from here?  What's next from them?

    They're coming to your town ... they're outside your house!

    Oh, you've been to Michigan, huh?  Our guys make those Jerseyites look like amateurs.

    The real stupid ones are in Florida.  We have convictions every month down here of misconduct with our GOP.  A couple of years ago the Feds were making arrests every week for everything you could think off.  I am still amazed that Rubio wasn't arrested for the credit card scandal.  

    This is a very interesting look at the verbal AND body language "tells" that Christy demonstrated during his presser. Definitely worth a read.  It is based on research on how to tell when people are lying. This is the first of five:


    1. Too much detail regarding unimportant issues. According to Meyer, a subject will often offer specific details that have nothing to do with the question of his guilt as a way of validating his claim of innocence. It’s as if the specificity will add credibility to what he’s about to tell you. However, when you listen closely, you’ll observe that the abundance of details does not lead to relevant information.
    When explaining how he learned of the breach in his office regarding the bridge lane closures, Christie said that he finished his workout at 8:50 and received a call from his director of communication at 8:55. Then he said, “I found this out at 8:50 yesterday morning. By 9:00 this morning, Bridget Kelly was fired. By 7:00 yesterday evening, Bill Stepien was asked to leave my organization.”
    This may sound credible, but it begs the follow-up question, where’s the inquiry? Why fire your deputy chief of staff without talking to her further to find out who else might have been involved and what her motive might have been. As a former attorney, Christie knows that establishing motive is critical to securing a conviction of guilt, and if she’s the linchpin, why isn’t he speaking to her to find the others involved? Instead, when asked why Kelly lied to him, he said, “I have not had any conversation with Bridget Kelly since the email came out. And so she was not given the opportunity to explain to me why she lied because it was so obvious that she had. And I’m, quite frankly, not interested in the explanation at the moment.”
    Notably, Christie indicated nine separate times throughout the conference that he was interviewing his staff and would continue to interview them. He details conversations with people he said are not involved. But why spend so much time talking to innocent people? If you want to find the guilty, talk to those you know are guilty. At one point, he said,
    And so now, having been proven wrong, of course we’ll work cooperatively with the investigations. And you know, I’m going through an examination, as I mentioned to you, right now. That’s what I’m doing. I’m going through an examination and talking to the individual people who work for me, not only to discover if there’s any other information we need find, but also to ask them: How did this happen? How did, you know, how did this, you know, occur to us?



    Christie doesn't really want to know, keep him out of it. He wants his friends to be able to plead the fifth.

    They told him nothing, so he can't spill the beans. His staff had 4 weeks and unless you find a memo (un-shredded); wheres the smoking gun? 

    You might want to read what I wrote before commenting. It would make more sense. However, I do agree that willful ignorance may have been the plan. The article that I linked to is just showing how he gave off signs of knowing what happened and lying about it. 

    Christie Story Attracts Little Public Interest
    Recent Opinions of New Jersey Governor Are Largely Unchanged

    Pew Research Center, Jan. 13, 2014

    After reading this, I am puzzled by what cable news TV has been doing on it (both MSNBC & Fox seem to be treating this story like it's the best thing since sliced bread as far as coverage is concerned.) Maybe their audiences are different demographics with different "poll" (Nielsen) results than the general public with news interest?

    I think this is the sort of story reporters like ...

    The type that decided what they wanted to be when they grew up after watching All the President's Men?

    I should also point out types like Josh Marshall love these kinds of stories too and that he spends a lot of time and resources on them; he even gives out an annual award for the best political scandal. (Actually, maybe I'm wrong about this but I think I read a post by him recently saying something along the lines of "it doesn't get better than this.") So it's not just cable TV news. I just thought the latter are more subject to having to follow ratings when deciding what to spend resources and time on. And what I was suggesting is: maybe cable TV audiences basically consist of a lot of Josh Marshall types, so even though most of the nation isn't that interested, this story is giving them relatively good numbers.

    Maher has been pretty dismissive of the scandal from the beginning, arguing last month that there will be no smoking gun tying New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to the politically motivated lane closures.

    That outlook puts the liberal comedian sharply at odds with MSNBC, which has given significant coverage to the scandal and broken news on the lane closures, so Maher announced in a blog post on Friday that he's done with the liberal cable news channel [....]

    Maher went on to say that MSNBC has become no better than Fox News, and that "Bridgegate has become [MSNBC's] Benghazi."

    "You've stopped leaning forward," Maher added. "Look, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little lanes of traffic don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." [....]

    Great post. Totally self-destructive on Christie's part.

    His ego is like a huge zeppelin overfilled with gas... it swelled, and it swelled, and ... Hindenburg.

    LOL.  Short and sweet and right on.

    Christie appears to have forgotten that he had seen David Wildstein recently, the WSJ obtained photos of Christie on day three of the bridge closure. In his press conference, Christie stated that he had not seen Wildstein in a long time.

    Of course he didn't forget but did he really think there would be no photos?  I can't believe how dumb these pols are when it comes to covering their tracks.  Or making up better lies.  They're slipping.  (That story is all over MSNBC tonight.  I'm sure it'll be all over the place tomorrow, too.  The explanation should be interesting.)


    (For those who don't know, Christie is an extreme fan of Springsteen.)

    Yes.  Now he's really REALLY sad. . .

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