“National Democrats will make an issue about everything about me, so get used to the new world everybody, you know?” said Christie, who’s held relatively few news conferences since his reelection last month, told reporters on Friday in reference to the scandal. “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.” [Politico]
THIS IS a lot of fun for Democrats, snapping at Gov. Chris Christie’s heels over the closing of “the busiest bridge in the world,” which they are saying was a vindictive political action, because Christie couldn’t get the endorsement of the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey.
One Democrat who is having none of it is New York’s Gov.
Chris Andrew Cuomo.
Rachel Maddow is having a blast with Chris Christie’s bridgegate, as are Democratic strategists and other anti Christie folks, but whether this can get traction outside the New Jersey – New York area has not been proven yet. Perhaps that’s why Democrats are upping the stakes, asking for official investigations and pressing the point. It’s a good strategy if there is something there that can be seen as New Jersey politics as usual, especially if Democrats hand ammunition to Tea Party primary types who hate Christie already.
The bridge is run by a patronage-laden bi-state agency called the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and connects northern Manhattan and the Garden State. The lane closures started Sept. 9, causing major headaches in Fort Lee.
Christie has said he had no knowledge at the time that the closures were happening, and that he doesn’t think anyone on his staff ordered them.
Christie Port Authority appointee David Wildstein, a friend of the governor from high school and the person who ordered the closures, resigned earlier this month. At a Friday press conference, Christie announced the resignation of another Port Authority appointee, Bill Baroni, who also was linked to the controversy. But Christie assured reporters that the resignation of Baroni, who testified that the closures were caused by a traffic study, wasn’t connected to the bridge issue. Christie also said he accepted the traffic study explanation. But the claims of such a study were denied by the executive director of the Port Authority, an appointee of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The closures also have been fodder for legislative hearings and subpoenas.
Democrats have absolutely nothing to lose by using Chris Christie’s bridegate against him and taking it as far as they can. But it’s got a long way to go before it’s national news and people who might vote for him in 2016 get wind.
Chris Christie’s bridgegate won’t matter for Hillary Clinton in 2016, because if she’s the Democratic nominee she’ll easily take both New York and New Jersey, but if Democrats can blow this up it might help Ted Cruz or Scott Walker, neither of whom are a threat to Mrs. Clinton.
Nationally, Chris Christie could be an annoyance for any Democratic presidential nominee, especially if there is a third party candidate, and that’s why the progressive partisans like Maddow and the entire MSNBC primetime force are using Chris Christie’s bridgegate for all its worth.