Bridgegate question

I know there are other threads about the fiasco and I’ve read most of them but I haven’t seen one question addressed. Assuming the closing of the lanes was intended as some sort of punishment/retaliation - what is the logic? How is closing the lanes punishing the mayor or legislators or whoever? Yes, the local drivers will get mad but the mayor has a simple out - “I didn’t know anything about it, wasn’t consulted and have no control over the Port Authority. I WILL, however, find out who was behind this outrage and demand answers for my constituents”.

As political retaliation this doesn’t seem to have been though through very well. “We’re going to cause traffic jams in your town/district because you won’t get on board” So, what? Pulling funding, canceling a project? That makes sense. Creating a massive traffic jam - not so much.

It’s essentially just “fuck you”. Fuck you to the mayor, fuck you to the legislators, fuck you to all the little people who voted for them.

I think the goal was making people mad at the mayor and inconveniencing non-Christie supporters. No, it wasn’t well thought ought. Revenge plans often don’t make a lot of sense.

For all his faults, Nixon didn’t fuck with innocent people. Sure, he had his enemies list. But he never as far as I knew decided to screw up the lives of thousands of people in order to extend the middle digit to a politician. At least when Dick Cheney outed Valerie Plame, it was because he was upset with her husband. True, it endangered the lives of many innocent covert agents, but he kept his primary target within the family. Christie, he’s an entirely new breed of evil. It’s do it my way, or I fuck up your highway.

That’s ludicrous. Spying on your political opponents and trying to screw with the electoral process is far, far worse than stranding people in traffic, and the distinction you’re drawing between Cheney and Christie is silly. We also don’t know for sure that Christie made this happen, of course.

I don’t believe Nixon’s meddling in the electoral process is worse than the Republican orthodoxy of today- if you can’t promote programs that people want to vote for, just throw roadblocks up in the way so fewer people vote against you.

Nixon, Cheney, and Christie all abused their power. Christie just more directly fucked with ordinary citizens than the other two.

It is the best argument for Christie to claim he had no prior knowledge of this. It didn’t give him any real political advantage, and didn’t really affect the Mayor of Ft. Lee because it was clear that this was a Port Authority decision. This was the kind of dirty trick common among political operatives, who then provide deniability to the elected official.

The idea is that the mayor didn’t do what the governor asked so the governor fucked with the people that live in the mayor’s city. The people tell the mayor, “Next time the governor tells you to do something, you do it.”

Think of it as being like the scene in Full Metal Jacket. Sgt Hartman was mad at Pyle but he didn’t just fuck with Pyle. He fucked with the entire platoon and told them he was doing it because of Pyle. So the platoon beat up Pyle.

That only works if the people and the mayor have to know the governor was responsible, which is much worse for the Christie administration than it is for the mayor of Fort Lee.

Wow, just wow.

"True, it endangered the lives of many innocent covert agents"

How does this not seem worse to you than the petty idiocy of Bridgegate?

That only works if 1) you know it’s the governor and 2) you actually blame the mayor for the sitution.

For example, in my city, they’re engaged in some sort of endless project on the interstate that runs through the city. They’re supposed to work on it over night and end by (I think) 7 a.m. Every once in a while (for some reason), they don’t stop; they continue into rush hour; and everyone is really late to work. People bitch and moan; local news talks about it alot; the contractor gets blamed and we all move on (until next time). It would never occur to me to blame either the governor or the local mayor. If this is political punishment, it’s ineffective. I would think the same about the actions of a nominally independent cross-state agency. I’m not sure your message gets conveyed.

It’s my understanding that the mayor of Fort Lee was constantly trying to get someone at the PA to talk to him and correct the problem, and was met with “radio silence.” It’s likely that these efforts on the part of the mayor were wholly predictable, and therefore predicted.

From that experience to a realization that the Christie Machine was prepared to respond to any political slight strikes me as only a very short leap of intuition.

I don’t really get it either. Why not have the state audit him or something - seems like the traffic thing is much less direct. I think plenty of people didn’t think the governor or his office or whatever would do this - so other then some employees feeling better about it - I don’t see what it really accomplished.

If the port authority is run jointly by NY/NJ - how did people on the New York side not think - why the fuck are they closing these lanes?

I don’t believe Christie totally with his willful blindness and all, but he seems pretty smart - and as he mentioned - plenty of other democrats didn’t endorse him either. I don’t think the Rachel Maddow theory on the Judge makes a whole lot of sense either for the same reasons mentioned.

But obviously someone did it - and it appears to be at least in part cause they didn’t like something about Fort Lee. I wonder if his deputy was just off her rocker - and the rest of the people fell in line, but that doesn’t explain why Christie just turned a blind eye to the obvious traffic issues that were all over the media.

Let’s not focus only on Ft. Lee. There was an impact on everyone trying to cross the bridge that day, a greater number of people than the entire population of Ft. Lee. I’ve been stuck in traffic for hours in that town, long enough to turn around and go home because my flight had already departed from Newark. It doesn’t seem likely that Christie had prior knowledge of this prank because it was so it had no upside and a huge downside, but it should be considered a capital offense and those involved should be prosecuted. I don’t believe in the death penalty, but this incident is a good argument for it.

Hmm - maybe this billion dollar development project - that allegedly relies on easy access to the GWB is part of the reason…

Yea, I haven’t really seen a theory that makes sense yet either. It’s pretty clear the closures weren’t done to study traffic, and that several people in Cristie’s office were involved. And since no ones coming forward to explain the real reason, its a pretty safe bet its not something the public or the law would approve of.

But none of the explanations that have been put forward as to why really make sense.

How would impeding the development help Christie?

That doesn’t make much sense either. Why would a traffic jam, that was supposed to be due to a temporary traffic study, damage a building project that hadn’t even broken ground yet? And why would Cristie and his staff want to sabotage a billion dollar project in NJ, especially while the economy is depressed relative to other states? Surely if they want to fuck over the Mayor*, there must be less “cut off your nose to spite your face” ways available to them.

And if Christie for some strange reason did want to screw over the project, surely the Governor has more effective ways of blocking such a thing then blocking traffic?

*(which itself is still kind of a stretch.)

The problem with that is that for it to work there needs to be a clear cause-effect picture that the voters see, understand and act upon. I really don’t see that in Bridgegate.

Well, presumably there was a reason, even if we don’t know what it is yet. And since they bothered keeping it secret, even in their internal emails, I think its a safe bet its not something that’s going to reflect well on the people involved.

How “clear-cut” it is remains to be seen. But given the number of people involved and the strong possibility of criminal prosecutions, I imagine someone in the know will talk and we’ll find out what it is.