So I've thought over the criticisms, and I've taken down the pic of him stuffing a jelly doughnut into his mouth and I'd like to give everyone a different take on the whole Bridge affair if you'll go below the fold.
The real problem in the Bridge affair isn't the fact that Christie may or may not have known about the 4-day closing of the lanes that caused havoc for commuters into New York. The real problem, the deeper problem, lies in the structure and activity of the agency that oversees the Bridge - the Port Authority of NY and NJ - whose senior management is chock full of Christie's political appointees willing and able to do his bidding on all sorts of nefarious things.
The PA manages all of the infrastructure of New York's vast port, including bridges, tunnels, airports, commuter rail, highways, the new (and the old) World Trade Center, and just about everything in between. It's an enormous operation employing thousands of people and is financed by a combination of bridge and tunnel tolls and public bonds backed by New Jersey and New York. The Authority is managed by a Board of Commissioners headed by a Chairman who right now happens to be David Samson, one of Christie's most reliable and influential pals. His law firm has billed enormous sums representing various private companies who do business with the Port Authority, a conflict of interest that until now was never questioned or even really understood.
The whole bridge mess unraveled when emails surfaced between Christie's staff and another PA manager and Christie appointee, David Wildstein, whose chief claim to his $150K annual salary lay in the fact that he and Christie were high school classmates. The emails made it clear that Wildstein and members of Christie's staff were in cahoots over the lane closings, a subject which, according to Christie, was never discussed when he and Wildstein met and talked during the second day of the backup at the bridge. When Christie later denied ever meeting Wildstein during this period, the shit hit the fan.
Now here's where it gets very interesting. Turns out that there's a piece of property in Hoboken, NJ, that a New York investment group wants to develop which abuts the waterfront so the Port Authority has to give its okay. Turns out that the investment group is represented in this proposal by David Samson's law firm. Turns out that David Samson has just hired a criminal attorney, Michael Chertoff, to represent him in this case. Turns out that Chertoff's security company billed the Port Authority $1.5 million to advise the PA on procedures to follow in case of a terrorist attack. Chertoff, you may recall, was head of Homeland Security until he quit to join a law firm and start a security company to peddle his government connections to companies worried about exposure to terrorism both here and abroad.
Somehow, don't ask me how, Christie's in the middle of all this. I know, I know, it's New Jersey's 'politics as usual' kind of thing. But Christie wants to be President and he's trying to convince everyone that he's all about reaching out to all sides and getting the job done. He's also hired a criminal attorney to represent him in the bridge affair, and I hate to sound old-fashioned but I never knew anyone who needed a criminal attorney if they had done nothing wrong or had nothing to hide. And as long as Christie hides behind his attorney and lets various Republican mouthpieces (like Rush Limbaugh) come to his defense, we won't be nasty and call him a big, fat schmuck. We'll call him what he really is: a big, corrupt schmuck.