Quotes of the day

The chairman of a New Jersey legislative panel investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures said Gov. Chris Christie’s top aides had engaged in a “cover-up” and the governor could be impeached if it is determined he was aware of efforts to use the bridge for political purposes.

“Using the George Washington Bridge, a public resource, to exact a political vendetta, is a crime,” New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is spearheading the bridge probe, told NBC News on Saturday. “Having people use their official position to have a political game is a crime. So if those tie back to the governor in any way, it clearly becomes an impeachable offense.”


As Rich pointed out below, this morning’s political talk shows were amazingly obsessed with the news that some of Chris Christie’s top aides appear to have been involved in causing a serious traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge, between New York and New Jersey. It was indeed something of a slow news week, but the past seven days saw terrifying advances made by al-Qaeda in Iraq, the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty and Republican talk about how they’d like to address the problem, the release of an important account of how the Obama administration handled national security, and the death of one of the key figures in Israeli history. But with certain exceptions, you wouldn’t know it: As Rich said, the New Jersey scandal is a legitimate, important story, but the Sunday shows fell over themselves to offer incredibly comprehensive coverage of it and idle speculation about how it’ll affect a potential presidential candidate’s fate two or three years down the road…

Meet the Press: 33 minutes. After having on the mayor of Fort Lee (the town most affected by the traffic jam), airing a report from Iowa on the scandal’s impact, and suggesting that viewers weigh in on Meet the Press’s Facebook page (among other things), the NBC program’s roundtable finally, at 11:03 a.m. New York time, turned to discussing the release of Secretary of Defense Bob Gates’s explosive memoir. Thankfully, just eight minutes later, at 11:11, they returned to the Christie controversy.

This Week: 22 minutes. ABC’s Sunday program spoke with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani about the scandal, aired a report from New Jersey, had on Judy Smith, a crisis-management professional whose story has been turned into the cable-TV show Scandal, and even ran clips of late-night comedians cracking jokes at Christie’s expense. At 10:22 a.m., more than a third of the way through the program, stand-in host Martha Raddatz finally steered the conversation away from the traffic tiff, to discussing Bob Gates’s new book.


Christie’s style was always going to be problematic for him in the primaries, especially in the polite South. But now he also can be viewed as a victim not only of malignant, malicious and mind-bendingly stupid staffers but also of a two-faced, pro-Democratic media.

The media are not monolithic, as we like to remind people. But we do have a tendency to focus on the latest scandal. And it does seem that we tend to treat Republican scandals as more delicious than others. This is owing less to the sins committed than to the greater sin of hypocrisy. The higher the bar, the harder they fall.

But Christie isn’t a strong exhibit in the mean-media argument. More than a Republican, he is a colorful, larger-than-life character who speaks loudly and carries a big stick. Cameras will always find the most interesting landscape, and Christie has that turf covered. More to the salient point, as the leading Republican presidential candidate, he can hardly be ignored. Coverage of this fiasco isn’t disproportionate to the man, even if it may be to the event.


Journalists know the Obamans. Intimately. They know them from college, they know them from work, they know them from kids’ soccer. They’re literally married to them…

The journalists are not covering up for their friends and their spouses. They just believe the people they know could not be responsible for behaving badly, or cravenly, or for crass political advantage —and the tone they strike when such things are discussed is often one of offense, as though it is a sign of low character to believe otherwise. It would be, well, like believing the journalists themselves were crooks…

Christie may be entirely innocent of all wrongdoing. Or there may be some connection, even a very tenuous and suggestive one. But there will be little let-up now.

For in the end, because Christie is a Republican. Christie isn’t them.


He does not have the committed ideological core that Ronald Reagan could rely on to overcome Iran-Contra. He does not have the Democratic base that stuck with Bill Clinton during his sex scandal because the excesses of a special prosecutor and then of a Republican House that impeached him came to enrage Democrats even more than Clinton’s misbehavior.

What of Christie’s base? Wall Street is fickle and pragmatic. The media can turn on a dime. And the Republican establishment, such as it is, has alternatives. Oh, yes, Christie also has support from some machine Democrats in New Jersey who have made deals with him. But they will be even more pragmatic than Wall Street…

Christie has one other obstacle, and this may be the most important. A great many conservatives never trusted him, and a tale that plays so perfectly into their critique of government could make things worse. Erick Erickson, the right-wing writer, captured this rather colorfully. People sometimes want a politician to be “a jerk,” Erickson wrote on Fox News’ Web site, but “they want the person to be their jerk,” not a jerk “who tries to make everyone else his whipping boy.”

To win Christie some sympathy on the right, defenders such as former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour quickly deployed the GOP’s first-responder technique of attacking “the liberal media.” But liberals are the least of Christie’s problems.


The end of Christie’s career would not be a good thing — for New Jersey, for the Republican party, for conservatism, or for the country. He is a valuable conservative, one of the most talented politicians in America. We are lucky to have him on our side — general side…

If you spend enough time in RightWorld, you may be led to believe that our enemies are John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Karl Rove, Reince Priebus, and definitely anyone named Bush. I can’t tell you how nutso this seems to them (as to me). In the words of one of them, “I’ve been decried as a right-wing lunatic my entire life. And to be decried now as an establishment moderate is almost an out-of-body experience.”

Think for a second what it’s like to be George W. Bush. In the dominant liberal culture — the universities, Hollywood, the news media — you’re Attila the Hun, if not BusHitler. (Did I spell that right?) In RightWorld, you’re Elliot Richardson, at best…

Because I am a Ted Cruz man — he is an old, dear friend, and I’ll be supporting him in ’16, if he runs — I should be gleeful over Christie’s tumble. I am not, however. I think that conservative rejoicing over his troubles is unseemly, and self-defeating. I don’t have to be for him 100 percent to appreciate him. Eighty percent will do, and maybe even 65.


[J]oining the media madness before Christie had a chance to defend himself was short-sighted…

Whether it was the false and defamatory supposed connection of Sarah Palin to the Gabby Giffords shooting, or the media frenzy over Mitt Romney’s (now vindicated) comments about Benghazi, there is no Republican immune from the media mob. Only Democrats are immune…

This is not about Chris Christie. It’s about any number of other Republican candidates who will be met with the same faux-outrage and media-led obsession a year from now as the 2016 field begins to define itself.

Don’t feed the beast.



You cannot become one of them when you’re not one of them, and you can’t make them like you. Membership in that club, it’s really strict and unique, and you don’t get to admit yourself. Did they not see what happened with McCain? McCain was loved and adored until he becomes a candidate, then he becomes a dirty old man kicking kids off his front yard. So that’s what amazes me. What amazes me is after all of this, after that hour and a half press conference they thought a home run had been hit and they thought the media minds had been changed.

I’ll guarantee you, they’re sitting there stunned that this investigation is still underway and that the Feds are now involved, ’cause they thought that Christie had succeeded. They thought Christie knocked it out of the park, when it didn’t matter whether he knocked out of the park or not. This is the only guy beating Hillary in the polls, and they’re gonna go destroy this guy whatever it takes.