Friday, January 10, 2014

Early opinions on Christie's "Bridgegate"

Three of today's opinions about Gov. Christie's "GWB" scandal, from the NY Post and the NY Daily News, that I read today.

Chris Christie Confesses

It was an uncharacteristically subdued but still assertive Chris Christie who began his press conference Thursday by apologizing to “the people of New Jersey, the people of Fort Lee . . . and the state Legislature” for the traffic chaos at the George Washington Bridge inflicted by his appointees.

So the question is not how Christie “handled” his presser or what it all means for a presidential run. The question is whether New Jersey’s governor told the truth to his citizens — and can show with his actions what taking responsibility really means.

Gov. Chris Christie’s load of bull

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s one-hour-and-forty-seven-minute self-serving, self-pitying display of contrition on Thursday was a climactic act in a brazen cover-up that threatens to further unravel his political career.
The independent investigation that remains to be done will reveal that he infected the Port Authority with political thuggery, identify who concocted the lane closure scheme (including all communications between Wildstein and Christie) and disclose all the machinations that took place as Christie hoped to evade responsibility for screwing tens of thousands of people and endangering almost as many while he searched for an open lane to the White House.

Port Authority rife with ugly politics

The scandal isn’t just that a top aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered up massive gridlock at the Fort Lee entrance to the George Washington Bridge in retaliation for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to endorse Christie’s re-election bid. It’s that Port Authority officials went ahead with that political hit.

But the authority turned rancid a long time ago.
Governors started using the PA for unacceptable political ends way back in the ’60s — when Gov. Nelson Rockefeller got it to divert financial resources to building the World Trade Center. (His brother had just built an office tower downtown, and needed company for it.)
If Bridgegate proves anything, it’s that we need more checks and balances, not less.
Consider: The PA did provide some checks and balances — if Christie alone had run the GW Bridge, we’d still probably be in the dark (and in traffic). But that doesn’t change the fact that the agency regularly acts at the behest of sleazy political operatives.
New York and New Jersey voters deserve better. That means: no more patronage appointments. No more patronage projects.
And when either governor asks the Port Authority to do something rancid, it should just say “no.”
Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.