Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, January 10, 2014

I prefer to call it "Bridgezilla"


Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that Chris Christie has been locked in a fight with the New Jersey Senate over judicial appointments; and that the NJ Senate turned down another Christie judicial nominee the night before the famous Bridget Kelly e-mail about how it was time to shut down the George Washington Bridge.

One salient point Rachel failed to point out:  Bridget Kelly was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs.

Which just further convinces me she's onto something, and that Chris Christie, who was so glib about this kerfluffle until this week (he didn't even know Fort Lee, NJ had "dedicated access lanes"?  What was up with that?  (The city doesn't, of course.).), is now suddenly so betrayed and saddened by it.  I don't think Bridget Kelly "went rogue."  And I don't think Christie was trying to punish the city of Fort Lee.  (Dave Weigel wonders why retaliate against a politician who wasn't up for re-election in 2014?  Which presumes another alternative answer could make sense out of closing a bridge to punish a local politician.)

As Rachel points out, the Senator who chairs the Committee that refused Christie's judicial nomination, represents Fort Lee.  And it's worth remembering, this only came to light because the New York side of the Port Authority said they knew nothing about lane closures related to any "traffic study."

Had they kept this thing entirely in New Jersey, we might still know nothing about it.  Tony Soprano would have thought of that.

And, in a civilized nation, Christie would already be embarrassed out the door.  As Brian Beutler notes, Christie is either a dupe or a liar.  He is responsible for the people he hired and for the work they do on behalf of the people of New Jersey.  The buck stops with him.  Except that doesn't mean anything, because you can't read his mind and know his thoughts so you have to take his word for it that he didn't know nuthin'.  Besides, as John Dickerson said, it was a great performance; and isn't that all we ask of our politicians, at least until we catch them naked in bed with our wife, and even then, who are you gonna believe? Christie, or your lyin' eyes?

Actually, Beutler is blunter than I make out:

1) That after two decades in politics and four in the New Jersey governor’s office, Christie’s no better prepared to serve than an unlikely Prince Hal surrounded by a merry band of younger Falstaffs; or

2) He’s one of the most audacious liars in 21st century American politics.

This is the part of American politics I just don't get.  Christie is guilty whether he told Bridget Kelly to "make it so" back in September, or whether he really did just learn about it on Wednesday morning after his daily workout (and if you believe that, I've got a bridge in New Jersey I can sell you, cheap).  He's guilty because he's stupid, or because he's lying.

Why do we tolerate this?  Either Christie is too petty and venal to hold elected office (there are all kinds of abuse of power issues here, even if not one of them is a criminal violation), or he's too stupid and ineffective to serve as the chief Administrator of the Executive branch at any level.  Does it really matter at this point what he knew and when he knew it?  This is as much a case of what he didn't know.

To me, that's enough to ask:  "Why are you still here?"

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