Opinion: Big and Small Thinking at the Port Authority

Opinion: Big and Small Thinking at the Port Authority (via NJSpotlight)

The reason I believe Gov. Chris Christie will survive the Bridgegate controversy is that he is too smart to have directed or encouraged what he accurately called the “abject stupidity” of September’s lane closings on the George Washington Bridge…

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Posted: January 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Dick Zimmer, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bridgegate: What difference does it make?

Some members of New Jersey’s press corps, along with Senator Loretta Weinberg, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and the Democratic National Committee seem think they finally have an issue to thwart Governor Chris Christie’s rising star.   They’re hoping traffic jams in Fort Lee will prevent Christie from becoming President of the United States.

The Star Ledger has an article this morning quoting Democrats and academics saying “the scandal” could hurt Chrisite’s national ambitions.

But questions about the incident have fueled a scandal that even Christie’s masterful team of brand managers can’t make go away.

The Record’s Charles Stile writes that “Christie won’t easily shake GWB flap.”

Stile and The Star Ledger’s reporters have it wrong.  Christie deftly accepted “ultimate responsibility” for the mistakes made in Fort Lee last September, while deflecting blame, at his press conference on the matter on Friday. As NJTV’s Michael Aron said on Reporters Roundtablethe issue is ‘fundamentally over.”   If the ‘Bridgegate’ story gets any ink at all in 2014 and beyond, it will be deep in the back pages.

It’s doubtful that the subpoenas that Wisniewski, as Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, issued will result in any smoking gun that proves that Christie or anyone in his inner circle other than Port Authority’s Bill Baroni or David Wildstein knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures that tied up traffic in Fort Lee for a few days is September.  Even if a smoking gun is discovered, as Hillary Clinton would shout, “What difference does it make?”


Now that Christie is a legitimate presidential contender, the front runner in the early polls, it is perfectly appropriate that the press and his opponents attempt to make mountains out of traffic jams and other mole hills as part of the vetting process for a president.  Barack Obama got a pass from the press and his opponents in 2008 and 2012. Look what that got us.

Posted: December 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Sweeney Uses Gay Slang To Denouce New Democratic State Chairman

NJ Media trips over itself to give the Senate President cover

Photo credit: nomblog.com

Photo credit: nomblog.com

Senate President Steve Sweeney referred to Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, Barbara Buono’s choice to be the new Democratic State Chairman, as “Cryan’s beard” yesterday while condemning the choice as divisive.  Buono is the presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee.  By tradition the gubernatorial nominee of both parties chooses the state chairman of the party. Cryan is former Democratic State Chairman, Assemblyman Joe Cryan.

“Beard” is a slang term for a person, most often a woman, who is used, knowingly or unknowingly, as a date or spouse to conceal their ‘partner’s’ homosexuality.

Can you imagine the media outcry if Governor Chris Christie or another prominent Republican denounced an advisory as a beard?

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Posted: May 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Barbara Buono, Garden State Equality, Gay Marriage, Gender Equality, NJ Democrats, NJ Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

If Christie’s the new darling of the far right, where does that leave Steve Lonegan?

Should we care?

That’s the question that Bergen Record Columnist Charles Stile asks this morning at NorthJersey.com.

Stile is wondering how Lonegan is reacting to American For Prosperity benefactor David Koch’s declaration that Governor Christie is “my kind of guy” at the super secret corporate donors meeting in Colorado last June.  That was the meeting where Christie told the tale of how he saved Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver’s position by lining up Assembly Republicans to vote for her had the Democrats staged a coup to prevent the pension and benefits reform bill from being posted.

Strangely, Lonegan who is never shy with the press, rebuffed Stile’s inquiry four times in two weeks. 

Stile probably hasn’t noticed that Lonegan’s rare pontifications about Christie have been positive since April of this year.  That is when Christie prevailed upon Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips to get Lonegan to tone his rhetoric down, as reported at the time by the now defunct TheStateNJ.com.

Lonegan’s focus has been on co-opting and controlling New Jersey’s Tea Party movement and attempting to destroy Tea Parties he can’t control, if The Bulldog Pundit, Gene Hoyas’ body of work over this summer is accurate.

Hoyas has been white knighting for the Bay Shore Tea Party Group which has suffered ad hominem attacks from conservative websites that Hoyas says are Lonegan mouthpieces.  Hoyas’ smoking gun that Lonegan, and Senator Mike Doherty, are behind the attacks is that they haven’t publically called for the conservatives sites to stop picking on the BTPG.

All of this nonsense, from Stile’s piece this morning, to Hoyas and other purists fighting all summer, to Lonegan trying to control Tea Parties, if he is, are gifts to the Democrats who are on track to keep control of the legislature in Trenton.

Stile could have written about the current and ongoing rifts within the Democratic party, rather than suggesting to his readers that Christie is more “far right” than Lonegan.  Instead he attempted to tweak Lonegan into reigniting a battle that he surrendered months ago.  We should expect that from Stiles as a center-left opinion leader.

But Hoyas and other conservatives fighting with each other, as well as the ongoing ideological Inquisition of RINO hunters is nothing more than a circular firing squad.  

Now that they have wasted the summer, it is time for all the ideological purists to stop fighting over which angel does a better dance on the head of a pin and get to work electing candidates who are right and center-right.

Posted: September 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bayshore Tea Party Group, Chris Christie, NJ Media, Steve Lonegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Give Me My “Smash Mouth” Governor

By Art Gallagher

Since the “chopper gate” story hit the fan last week, The Record’s Charles Stile has been gleefully making the case that the media and partisan noise about Governor Christie’s use of the State Police helicopter has been so ferocious because of “smash mouth” style.  Stile, and other NJ media elites, have cited two recent polls, both taken before the chopper hullabaloo, that showed Christie’s approval ratings slipping as evidence that his style is wearing thin on New Jersey voters.

Stile has noted correctly that the chopper noise has been so harsh, despite the facts that Christie’s use of helicopter has been far more frugal than that of his predecessors and that  his use of the chopper didn’t cost taxpayers anymore money than if he had traveled by SUV, because of Christie’s “in your face” plain spoken style.   Christie’s political opponents and their media lapdogs have been laying in wait for an opportunity bash him back.

Stile has joined The Star Ledger’s Tom Moran in arguing that Christie should be nicer and more polite while turning Trenton upside down.  Stile and Moran would have Christie’s compromising more and reforming less.

The irony here, from my point of view, is that over the last few months Christie has been nicer and more compromising.   He’s toned it down.   His opponents have subsequently stepped it up.

Maybe Christie’s poll numbers have slipped because he’s toned it down.  Last spring he was railing against the NJEA and urging voters to defeat school budgets where unions wouldn’t compromise.  Voters responded by defeating budgets in record numbers.  Christie’s polls were strong.  This spring Christie was silent on the school budgets.

Is there no more waste in our public schools?  Has the the problem of excessive compensation, pensions and benefits been solved?

Since the GOP lost the legislative redistricting battle, Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney announced a compromise over Supreme Court nominee Anne Patterson’s nomination that had been held up for a year.  Part of the compromise included a promise by Sweeney that a hearing to fill the Court seat of former Justice John Wallace, which has been vacant for a year because Sweeney didn’t like that Christie did not reappoint Wallace, would take place next March.  By making that agreement Christie acknowledged that Sweeney would still be Senate President in March, meaning Republicans are not going to win control of the State Senate in the coming election.

That the Democrats will retain control of the Legislature after the November election is probably realistic calculus on Christie’s part.  He probably made a strategic decision that he can get more of his agenda accomplished by compromising than by fighting.  That might be the best decision, but it also means that New Jersey will only have incremental improvement to our dysfunctional governments, rather than real reform…turning Trenton upside down reform…for the rest of Christie’s term.

I’d rather have the confrontational governor we elected.  Even if it means stalemates and the shutting down of government, I’d rather Christie ridicule and embarrass the Trenton cesspool than compromise with it.  Christie has only been in office less than 18 months.  The cesspool has spent decades putting us into the mess we’re in.

As a matter of style, the chopper hullabaloo demonstrates that the media/establishment cesspool is not going to respond to a kinder, gentler Christie in kind.  As a matter of substance, today’s news that the Democrats are going to attempt to increase education spending more than the Supreme Court has ordered and increase income taxes, demonstrates that the cesspool will always try to maintain and protect the status quo that makes them fat at the taxpayers’ expense.

Christie came into office promising to govern as if he only had one term to get the job done and without consideration for whether or not he’d be re-elected.  Since then he has admittedly fallen in love with the job and become enamoured with national attention and presidential wooing his in your face style has brought to him.

Christie’s “in your face” style works.  His adjustments should be by adding humor and charm to his ridicule, like Reagan did, not by compromising and being more polite. 

If Christie has concluded that he has accomplished all he can in New Jersey with confrontation, he should get ready quickly and run for President.  New Jersey and the United States both face horrendously serious problems.  Compromise and tinkering around the edges of a broken system will not do.

We need Chris Chirstie’s unabashed leadership in New Jersey and in America.  As Christie advised the new Republican leadership in Washington, we need to put up or shut up.  

Shutting up is not an option.

Posted: June 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Economy, Education, Government Waste, NJ Media, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »