1. Leo says

    Since it’s now well established you’re a GOProud shill on here Perry, let me be the first to shatter your hopes and dreams in informing you the IRS targeted both sides and there was no real scandal. You tried though.

  2. Steve says

    I love how on the comments section of any story about this Christie scandal there is an echo chamber of ‘IRS Scandal, IRS Scandal.’ Almost as if there was a coordinated effort to try and distract… hmmm.

    But just like Benghazi – when all is said and done there is not scandal just the right-wing echo chamber.

    Thanks for playing…try again.

  3. Sam says

    I love her reporting, but if you think about it, this isn’t new information. So why is she just now figuring this out. All of these things were public prior to the release of the emails. I wonder if she’s been sitting on the connection waiting for the bridge issue to take center stage. Nothing wrong with that, I’m just curious why the “new” information we have regarding emails somehow makes this more or less plausible.

  4. LincolnLounger says

    It’s too bad she hasn’t been as diligent about Benghazi, or using the IRS for political purposes, or “if you like your coverage, you can keep it.”

    I guess that would distract from being a leader of the Hallelujah Chorus, though.

  5. Sam says

    To be fair, Rachel Maddow has covered in detail the IRS “scandal” and Benghazi. Just because you do not agree with her reporting does not mean she has ignored it the way Fox News ignored the bridge scandal for the first 24 hours.

  6. HereinDC says

    …..This story is just getting bigger and bigger…..this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    How come Darrell Issa hasn’t called for Congressional hearing?

    TEN’s OF THOUSDANDS of people effected for 4 days of gridlock…

    btw, I think it’s about 50 cents per post the trolls are paid.

  7. dearcomrade says

    Looking forward to the U.S. attorney most likely handing out indictments later this year, then a trial sometime next year. This is going to stick to Christie like crazy glue.

    For the GOP trolls on this site, perhaps you should find someone other than Darrell “Grand Theft Auto” Issa to lead your investigations, because he’s turned up bupkis on Fast & Furious, the IRS nonsense and most of all Benghazi. Ha, Ha, Ha.

  8. Paul R says

    I’ll never quite understand the Benghazi “scandal.” In recent years Americans at all levels of power and influence have also been killed in Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. Libya is inherently unstable—an American was recently killed there while jogging, and no one seemed to care. Why was Benghazi such a mega-scandal relative to the others?

    Four people were killed, which is terrible. But people are killed every day almost everywhere. Pretending that it’s about intentional Democrat-led lapses in security doesn’t exactly explain why thousands of soldiers died in Iraq under Bush because you “go to war with what you’ve got, not what you need.” As for the IRS scandal, even the tea party dropped that one given that it was such a patently false accusation.

  9. james st. james says

    The great white hope of the Republican Party turns into a beached whale. Or something like that.

    A team of rescuers has rushed to the scene to try and keep the whale afloat. How many will get crushed as the whale turns?

    Good job Rachel.

  10. gr8guyca says

    @ Sam

    What’s new is the date of the first email. She has placed the closing into a logical timeline that makes more sense than the one that was suggested before.

    It doesn’t make sense that Christie would target the Mayor of Fort Lee. It does make sense that he would target the district of the Democratic State Senate leader.

    And the “Why now?” was a great way to sleuth out the answer. It’s a great piece of reporting. It rings true and, suddenly, the whole incident makes sense.

    I bet that Christie knew about this retribution – even if he didn’t know specifically what it was going to be. He was angry and probably told an aide to do something about it.

    My bet is that he will resign within 6 months. I hate to make comparisons to Watergate, but this is beginning to feel like that. Very soon, we are going to hear, “What did he know and when did he know it?”

  11. Sam says

    I’m not sure it rings that true. The timing factor was easily deduced already by the timing of the lane shutdown. The email only provides superfluous information. And what the emails lack is any apparently mention of Weinberg at all.

    Not that motivation really matters here. I just questioned why everyone thought this was brilliant deduction when the timing of the lane closures presented the same deducible conclusion as the emails essentially. I have a feeling when more documents are released, it won’t be a targeting of Weinberg. At least not as the only motivation.

  12. anon says

    Well, the fact a federal prosecutor is getting involved will mean this isn’t going away anytime soon. Even though it’s very unlikely any crimes were committed (the port authority can close bridge lanes at will), the purpose of the investigation is to keep this in the news. This is the rare case of an entirely political scandal. People have been addicted to the notion that scandals=crimes, which isn’t always the case.

  13. HereinDC says

    ……..You know how at the end of a murder mystery the dectective ( Hercule Poirot ) takes his time and lays out all the evidence….

    Well, that’s how Rachel laid out the evidence….she took her time…and WHAM!

  14. Zlick says

    Plenty of crimes have been broken. The Port Authority cannot close lanes “at will” when that will is ordered by the governor’s office.

    Rachel’s show did some interesting sleuthing/reporting. I’m not convinced the judgeship kerfluffle is the reason for the governor’s office retribution … but it makes much more sense than the lame endorsement theory.

    Of course, the entire thing didn’t make much sense. But, as I was recently reminded, neither did the literal mother of all scandalgates: Watergate. Nixon was way ahead in polls in all 50 states, and had no logical reason to order the break-in to Democratic headquarters. The commentator who reminded me of this opined the Nixon thing AND the Christie thing and hundreds of ill-advised conspiracies like them are due to the arrogance of power. And, alas, I find that all too easy to believe.

  15. tyler says

    Seriously now, anyone who can say Maddow is not biased for the democrats would be blind to the fox network being biased for the GOP. It is upsetting that we, mostly younger generation, accept the garbage our government throws at us. The idea that we are not screaming about NSA files, IRS abuses, facebook harvesting, phone call storage, is shocking. As long as we act like we are part of the Dems of GOP instead of the PEOPLE. The way it stands now it should be US against the abuses of the government. I can see the handlers in both parties laughing as they say: GOP “point out how Christie acted better than Obama in dealing with a problem and let the minions argue over that” or the Dems saying ” point out how Bush dealt with individual rights vs Obama reporter targeting”. The political heads are playing us.

  16. tyler says

    Paul, Benghazi murders were on US soil. The embassy is US soil and is to be protected by the government as such. The four murder victims (including our ambassador) were there as representative of our country. It is different than an American being killed jogging or in a warzone.

  17. says

    @Tyler (who’s actually someone pretending to be the Tyler who usually posts): Of course Maddow is biased, duh. She doesn’t pretend not to be. Hers is a show with a liberal POV. Any thinking person can look at her reporting, or Sean Hannity’s (or whoever’s) reporting, and decide for themselves whether they think it’s credible. Anyone who swallows any POV without question is indeed showing their gullibility, but, if you’re informed, sharing the opinion of someone like Maddow doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting played.

    On the subject of Chris Christie and the bridge (though a few here suddenly want to talk about the IRS and Benghazi–weirdly, since they’re old news), whatever the reason why there was retaliation, it makes little sense that the big guy’s staff did this on their own since their boss is a bullying micro-manager. The why he did it is open to question, but the if he was involved isn’t much of an if. Only a question of how much of a trail he left, and why he did such a stupid thing to begin with.

  18. tyler W says

    did not see any other tyler on the thread, but to be clear I added my initial. If there is a Tyler W just tell me, don’t assume I am pretending to be that person as well.
    As for being played, I do believe we all are being played. By keeping the country so divided and hostile towards each other the career politicians direct our anger towards each other and not them. Too many people, including reporters, are willing to accept this role.
    Christie, he has always been a bully. All the popularity ha gone to his head. He believes the hype, and that leas to a bad public servant.

  19. tyler W says

    NJ is a weird place (ala Weird NJ). Saddle River, Newark, Cherry Hill, all have very different characters. Politics has, since the 80’s at least, been sketchy. I used to be given 20 tickets to the Pegasus Club (to purchase)t watch a politicians horse run. If I failed to buy them (or fill the two tables with bodies)the fire chief would inspect my business the following week. GOP, Dem, they both did it.

  20. says

    @TylerW: (FYI, a very frequent commenter uses Tyler, hence the name confusion. You must be new to TR.) You’re only being played if you allow yourself to be.

    As regards to this scandal. Maddow is putting forth some theories to accompany the facts known thus far. She wasn’t pretending to be presenting something other than a theory. Anyone can make of her thoughts what they will. She is undeniably skilled at making her arguments.

    I agree that Christie has always been an arrogant bully. The difference this time is that his claim that he’s also a real straight-shooter, no lies or BS, comes across as pure BS, one of his alleged attributes called deeply into question. This is likely to be a political problem for him.

  21. ben~andy says

    I’m seeing another kind of miss-direction as well. First the correct information:

    Smoking Gun email: early Tues morning Aug 13th to Wildstein from Christie’s asst chief of staff.

    Wildstein, childhood friend of Christie and Christie appointee to Port Authority, orders the closures Friday Sept 6th.

    Monday September 9, closures commence.

    Friday Sept 13th, PA Exec Dir [Cuomo appointee] orders closures lifted and demands explanations about it.

    Monday Sept 16th, PA claims it was a traffic study.

    Tuesday Sept 17th, Baroni [Christie appointee] writes to Wildstein that they should meet to “stave off reporters”

    Wednesday 18th, Wall Street Journal story appears, Wildstein writes he came to work with boxes, just in case to Christie’s two-time campaign manager.

    But the email parts of this timeline weren’t known until they were released meaning the only dates available to Rachel M previously were 9/9-9/13 closure and perhaps the 9/6 date of the order.

    So, Rachel hasn’t been “sitting” on this and it IS new news. She was also reacting to the long, long, long, looooong press conference where he was doing damage control and yet not really convincingly explaining why his staff would be SOOOOOO angry at the mayor of Ft Lee on 8/13 when neither the Mayor nor the Governor could ever remember having any significant interactions [not with staff, not with anybody].

    Rachel is saying, “I don’t buy this. Here’s a plausible, timeline based possibility of what might have caused this to happen.”

    Is this action on the part Christie staffers and appointees part of partisan politics, you bet. Is it possibly a reaction against the leader of the NJ Senate Dems home district over an ongoing war between them over the NJ Supremes? Could be.

    Is there anyone who reads Towleroad who could POSSIBLY think the NJ Supremes aren’t important when they decided that the NJ ban on Gay Marriage was unconstitutional and made NJ another state in marriage equality in 2013? Really? I can’t imagine anything MORE important. Be interesting to review how that voting came down. I can’t imagine it was unanimous. Such things seldom are [yay, NM!].

    So, Rachel not “sitting on this” there have been new developments. Christie’s story about it [and how convenient not to have asked his staffer “why”, plausible deniability] is wishy-washy and out of character. Yes, heads have rolled. They’ll be hired by other Republicans. They will have defense funds set up for them if they are indicted. They should go to prison, or be forced to be bridge maintenance workers on the GW Bridge for the exact amount of time they stole out of thousands of people’s lives over 4 days.

    Rachel is going her job.

  22. Bill says

    The main problem with Rachel Maddow’s hypothesis is that she hasn’t been able to come up with a good test of it. A good test is one that has the ability to disprove it.

    Meanwhile Christie seems to act like firing a couple of people means he doesn’t have to figure out what actually happened. No surprise – even if he wasn’t involved, he has no idea what else might turn up if they beat the bushes. He probably figures, “why take a chance?”

  23. ben~andy says

    Ah, not Rachel’s job to come up with a “testable hypothesis”. That is the job of a scientist. It is the job of a federal prosecutor [and since this involves interstate commerce and political appointees, it is a federal case] to come up with evidence, subpoena witnesses and the perpetrators and let them take the 5th, check cell phone records, you know, have a gay old time until they KNOW what happened. Then the “test” is in front of a jury. Somebody going to jail. Does it go up to Chris? Who knows? What did he know and when did he know it. Inquiring minds want to know and WILL find out.

  24. Bill says

    @ben~andy : coming up with a test that has the ability to disprove a hypothesis is what you should be doing before jumping to conclusions.

    BTW, check out – it seems that after this disaster, what followed on the part of Christie appointees was more concerned about any political fallout than anything else.

    And there was also some indication of a report indicating that it could have been the result of a traffic study or pilot program – they sometimes have to try things to see if it is an improvement or not, and sometimes it doesn’t work. The article quoted a UC Berkeley engineering professor as saying that a document appeared to be a preliminary study and “a legitimate internal report of the sort transportation officials often circulate among themselves.” He also said, “It could well be a good-faith effort,” but added, “You wouldn’t want to publish it in an academic journal.” The quote from some email, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” could have simply been a wisecrack about a test possibly having an unknown impact on a neighboring town. But out of context, a wisecrack can sound really bad. You know, like Werner von Braun’s wisecrack while working on rockets in Nazi Germany: “We only make them go up; where they come down is not our department.” It sounds callous, but what was actually going on is that the rockets were blowing up on the launch pad. Finally, one managed to go up three feet before settling back down and blowing up on the launch pad. So Werner made that wisecrack as a tension releaser.

    So, there is a possibility that someone was simply trying to improve traffic flow and it didn’t work as expected when the idea was tested. But the mess was bad enough that the politicians ended up trying to cover it up.

    BTW, there was a short lane closure in our town that got a bunch of the locals upset – it was done with cones so you could remove them quickly if anything went wrong. The idea was that we really didn’t need four lanes on one road except near a light at a major cross street where the signal timing had to allow for a lot of left-turning traffic – that light reduced the capacity of the intersection to well below what you could get out of a single lane. So what went wrong? Well, at a small stop-sign controlled cross street, the drivers got impatient and would crawl out and block half the road. That prevented the queues at the four-lane section from filling up, and traffic backed up in the two-lane section instead. Our local pundits went on about an anti-car agenda and other silliness.
    One pundit complained that people weren’t told in advance, but if they were, the test wouldn’t work as the announcement could change how many drivers use that route.

    Given that, I’m going to be rather skeptical until a lot more comes out than already has.

  25. ben~andy says


    Dems control the NJ Senate at least. Expect hearings. Expect some kind of federal investigation. It is only the “busiest bridge in the world”. And sure, they have put out a traffic study and it might even be the real deal, even if it isn’t ready for publication. It will all be quite tedious to get into every little crook and nanny.

    I’m not jumping to anything. I just agree with Rachel that her version of this sounds highly plausible while Chris’ sounds awfully doubtful. And sure, covering ass is what people [never mind pols and pol appointees] will do when there is massive loss of face [tee-hee] hitting the fan. But it taking FOUR days of slow motion disaster [and living in LA, I know how lane closures affect freeways well enough to write papers on it that WOULD be ready for publication not to mention how on-ramp and off ramp closures make everything grind to a halt at any choke point] to decide that whatever they “thought” they were testing was bogus. Come on, whatever adjustments people could make were made by the SECOND day. Everyone knew about it from what happened on the FIRST day. Oh, and Tolls went DOWN, so even the PA had zero incentive to continue it w/o there being some agenda.

    And Chris will have a huge obstacle in just getting past the primaries. He hugged Prez O, he chastised the Rep Faithful for being against the Dream Act. He lay down w/o a fight over the NJ Supremes marriage decision. Yes, he might be someone who would appeal to the middle of the road since he’s obviously somewhat able to work with Dems, but that very quality is exactly what will kill him in the primaries. Even if he’s the subject of a Dem “witch hunt”, which Fox will trumpet from the rooftops, if they find anything that makes this a partisan fight that he took out on the people or his staff took out on the people of NJ, that will be in the back of every voter’s mind. He’s sunk.

    Conclusions. Not yet jumped to. Suspicions, yeppers.

  26. Bill says

    @robert: the problem with the idea that the traffic study was a trojan horse is that such a study, even a badly done one, requires some data collection, which means people tasked with measuring what was going on. If someone fabricated the study – just wrote the report with no one doing the actual work – that would be pretty easy to detect by going through documents about who was assigned to what during that time period. Plus, you’d expect to find some prior discussion before trying such an experiment. Has anyone looked for that?

    Also, people with an engineering or scientific background get really, really mad if someone tries to force them to falsify results – having a reputation for doing that is a good way to end one’s career. In addition, they aren’t likely to lie and say they came up with a bad idea if it was really someone else’s fault.

    Unless you have a guy in charge who makes that Watergate nut Gordon Liddy look sensible, there should be some evidence of prior planning for such a trial, and it might easily predate any alleged squabble involving Christie.

    Christie could have put himself in a double bind. If there was something nefarious going on, people will assume he at a minimum encouraged it. If he fired people merely because a trial didn’t work, with his staff trying to cover it up, he comes across as someone who throws his staff under the bus at the first hint of a problem.

  27. Bill says

    @ben~andy: I think a bad outcome of a test, followed by politicians trying to cover everything up and looking like fools as a result, is far more plausible that Rachel Maddow’s “theory”. BTW, many studies are just for internal use and never published. Sometimes you need to run a test for several days because the first day or so, people are reacting to the mere fact that something is different. If they don’t know what to expect, they drive slower than they might otherwise.

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