Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bridgegate and Chris Christie...

For the first time in a long time, I finally saw something in a Republican politician that I liked. Chris Christie came across as a take charge, no nonsense, down to earth, calling it as he sees it, leader. I saw him in action during storm Sandy. He was impressive enough to sway my thinking into believing I could actually vote for him if he ran for president in 2016. Even our Governor Cuomo, who is a democrat and may throw his hat in the ring in 2016, was not the strong leader I thought he needed to be. These are hard times in every sense of the word. People around the country are struggling with so many issues and these constant bouts with extraordinary and devastating weather events are more than we can stand. Too many people are still not back in their homes due the the damage from Sandy. It's hard to believe.

Fast forward to Bridgegate. I did a lot of reading about this scandal and I watched the very long, televised press conference that Christie had after the scandal broke. He sure seemed sincere in his apologies and his insistence that he didn't know anything about it's planning or execution. I hoped he was telling the truth. Surely, he would not compound the stupidity of this whole mess by adding his denials of any knowledge, especially if there was evidence out there that he knew something or even gave the orders to close the lanes on the George Washington Bridge. If there is proof he knew anything about it at this point, he could kiss his political career good bye.

A couple of things bothered me though. First, he said he had just learned of the fact his staff was involved the morning before the press conference, but later said he had lost TWO nights sleep. I caught that, but then the media highlighted it and questioned it. Everyone was asking why, if he only found out the day before, did he lose two nights sleep? That in itself isn't so incriminating. I'm sure there are many reasons why he could have lost an extra night's sleep. But now there is a second thing weighing on my mind. David Wildstein. Wildstein is the person who ordered the lanes of the George Washington Bridge closed based on an email from Bridget Kelly saying, "time for traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein answered "got ya," as though he had understood her short command and had done this sort of thing before.Wildstein knew Christie in high school. Someone at the press conference asked Christie about their "friendship." Christie downplayed the relationship, saying they went to high school together, they passed each other in the hallways, they haven't seen each other in 20 years or more. Really? Because this doesn't have the ring of truth to it. Why? Well, a special position was created for Wildsten in the Port Authority by the request of Christie, namely Director of Interstate Capital Projects paying over $150,000 per year. A position that never existed before and is being done away with now that Wildstein resigned on the heels of the scandal. Who believes Christie would ask for a position like this for a guy he barely knew existed in high school? I don't. I have some serious concerns about it. To top it off, Wildstein, in an effort to save himself from prison time, is offering up evidence that Christie didn't tell the truth on some matters during his press conference, for immunity. Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien were subpoenaed to submit documents for the investigation and I heard she refused.

Lastly, Rachael Maddow pointed out something interesting on her show. We all have a hard time thinking Christie would condone wrecking havoc on Fort Lee just because the mayor there didn't endorse him, especially since he admits they didn't ask for his endorsement. But Maddow looked closely at the timing of the event and what happened just before the lane closure went into effect. it seems that Christie, for the first time in I don't know how many years of NJ history, decided not to give a supreme court justice a lifetime appointment after he had served seven years with a very good record. This angered the state senate because there was no reason for it. So in retaliation, every appointment Christie made to fill that seat, was rejected. The night before the traffic jam, another candidate had been rejected and Christie was pissed. The president of the senate lives in Fort Lee. Maddow's theory is that the lane closures were in retaliation for this situation and had nothing to do with the mayor. It seems to make sense. Does that mean Christie knew what was about to happen or did his staff orchestrate the whole thing without his knowledge? Did the governor tell them to do what they have to do to get back at whoever, but he doesn't want to know the details? I don't know. I imagine that happens all the time. Of course, when he asked them about it they lied and/or said nothing. That may be the way it is done to protect the reputation of the leader, so he can say he knows nothing, and the underlings become totally responsible and the scapegoats. Heads have to roll. Some key people close to Christie lost their jobs. But that didn't end things and subpeonas are going out. If there is anything incriminating out there it will surely come out. Its just a wait and see game.

I don't know what to think or believe. The whole idea was asinine from the get go.

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