Elections #Featured

Hey You! Wanna be Governor of NJ? We Need One

Chris Christie will go down in New Jersey history as one of the most unpopular, least effective, self-serving governors this state has ever had. And given our history, that’s saying a lot. But for someone with the political skills he has and the ability to connect with everyday people, having a 17% approval rating is shocking. He spent all of his political capital on Hurricane Sandy and thought that he would be the big mouth with the righteous anger in 2016, but that didn’t work out either.

And now he seems to have disappeared. OK, not entirely. He is spending his last few months highlighting the problems of drug addiction and is stumping for more money for treatment programs, but otherwise, he doesn’t have much else. His school spending plan is pretty much dead on arrival and Trump has taken all of the available space and oxygen in the politician realm. Christie was passed over for a cabinet position, but I can see him taking over after one of Trump’s originals flames out, which will happen sooner rather than later. Heck, if Christie can hang on, he could become VP if Trump does something high-crimish or misdemeanorlike in the next two years, which is also looking somewhat possible given that he can’t stand criticism and thinks that everything that goes against his family is unfair.

Even Christie’s Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guagdano, is fleeing Trenton and is running to succeed her boss. It will be interesting to see how she’s going to separate herself from him since we didn’t see much of her leadership style for, well, eight years. And that includes the time when the state got smacked with a blizzard when Christie was on vacation and Guagdano was the acting Governor. Not a peep. And the state ground to a halt. Talk about laissez-faire.

The Democrats are in much better shape in this state than nationally, but they are still going to have to round up votes in the traditionally Democratic urban and suburban areas. Right now Phil Murphy is the front-runner and has already been endorsed by party bigwigs and some unions. John Wisniewski is also running and he actually has state-level governing experience as a member of the State Assembly for the past 20 years. He’s trying to run as an outsider, but if Trump is any guide to how an outsider runs a government, Wisniewski might want to run as the trusted, sure hand who can actually govern.

But this is all for the future as we’re in the money-grubbing phase of the election until springtime, and the primaries aren’t until June. Another election. Fun.

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bridgegate #Bridget Kelly #Politics

Bridget Kelly Testifies – Christie Knew about Bridge-gate a Month Before it Happened

Somebody is lying. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has maintained that he knew nothing of the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, lane closures carried out by his closest administration officials. But testimony after testimony cast more and more doubt on Christie’s claim.

In bombshell testimony Friday, Bridget Anne Kelly said that she told New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) that access lanes to the George Washington Bridge would be closed for a traffic study a month before the plan actually was carried out in September 2013.

The former deputy chief of staff testified that the governor approved the study, which prosecutors allege actually was cover-up for a revenge plot against a local Democratic mayor.

Christie has long maintained that he knew nothing about the lane closures that brought traffic in the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey to a days-long standstill until he read about them in the press in late September or early October 2013. Yet Kelly and other former Christie allies have contradicted what Christie’s said about what he knew of the lane closures and when throughout the federal trial investigating the so-called Bridgegate scheme.

Telling her version of the saga for the first time from the witness stand Friday, Kelly testified that former Port Authority official David Wildstein informed her on Aug. 12, 2013 that he was moving forward with a traffic study that he said would create major traffic problems in Fort Lee, according to WABC. Kelly testified she then informed Christie about the study, and alleged he said he was alright with it.

“He said, ‘All right.’ He didn’t really react. He said that’s fine. He said, ‘How is the relationship with Mayor Sokolich’ of Fort Lee?” Kelly testified, according to Philly.com. “And I didn’t know. I really didn’t know.”

The next day she sent the email that would cast a shadow over Christie’s administration for years to come: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” she wrote to Wildstein.

Donald Trump #Politics #sexual abuse

Chris Christie Slams Trump – His Comments are “Completely Indefensible”

Can you believe it? Just like you I am totally shocked that Chris Christie found something disgusting about Donald Trump.

The former Republican presidential candidate stood with Trump through thick and thin, even getting ridiculed by many for his undying support of Trump’s foolish positions.

But Christie drew the line after hearing the things Trump had to say  in the infamous 2005 tape, where Trump condoned grabbing women by their genitalia and trying to have sex with a married woman.

Christie called Trump’s comment, “completely indefensible.”

“​Appearing on WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton,” the governor told Craig Carton that the 2005 video of Trump is “completely indefensible and I won’t and haven’t defended it.”

Christie also said that Trump’s apology was inadequate.

“He should have been much more direct and focused on just saying sorry and only saying sorry,” said Christie. “When you’re going to make an apology like that, you need to be focused on it (alone.)”

Christie, a father of four, also said he wondered if Ttump was the right person for the job of President.”You certainly have to think about it,” Christie said.

Christie admitted that explaining Trump’s remarks to his children was “the hardest thing.” He said tryimg to find an explanation got “a little tough.”

Even with that though, Christie still endorses the Republican nominee. Go figure.

bridgegate #Domestic Policies #Donald Trump #News #Politics

Lock Him Up

Don’t you just love politics and politicians? Here’s a group of people who seemingly do not ever consider that what they say about their opponents will even happen to them. And yet…
This week’s ridiculousness comes, not surprisingly, from the Trump-Christie branch of what used to be one of America’s great political parties; the GOP. These days it’s difficult to see how they were able to elect George W. Bush, much less get through a week without one of their candidates self-destructing.

The once-and-never-again national candidate, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is on even thinner ice (consider that image) concerning the traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge that not only killed his presidential chances, but is also resulting in crater-like approval numbers across the state. Now we have some evidence that Christie “flat-out lied” when he said that his political team knew nothing of the bridge closure. He’s denying it of course, and I can’t see that this would lead his leash holder, Donald Trump, to dump him as his transition boss since at this point it looks like Trump’s transition might be to a different floor on Trump Tower, as opposed to a move-in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The bigger issue, though, is that it was a during Christie’s speech at the Republican Convention that  the crowd chanted that Hillary Clinton should be locked up for, well, unspecified crimes against, um, someone. Now Christie has leapt the queue and is looking more likely to be the one facing an actual indictment. Not that I expect one, but still. Christie has no one to blame but himself after endorsing Trump and tying his political future to a man who, at best, will lose the presidency for himself and the Senate for his party. Christie’s fall is a monumental one, and after November he will be the lamest duck in the land as the Democrats jostle to pick someone to replace him.

In the meantime, the road projects are still stalled, NJ Transit still has one train track in and out of Manhattan, the public employee pension system is still massively underfunded, property taxes are sky high, and social services are lagging. Yet Christie still finds time to campaign for a candidate who accused Christie of knowing about the bridge closure and who Christie hopes will save him from a life of retired bliss in…Mendham. A nice town, to be sure, but certainly not where Chris thought he should be.

Outside the state, Donald Trump is mystifying the political press with his antics, which include saying that president Obama and Hillary Clinton founded ISIS, then saying, as most ignorant people do, that he was just being sarcastic, questioning the need to get his supporters out to vote in November, saying again that the only way Clinton can win, this time in Pennsylvania, is by cheating, and by traveling to those hotbed competitive states, Maine and Connecticut  instead of, say, Ohio or Florida where Trump absolutely must win in order to be elected (shudder).

If anything, these two gentlemen deserve each other, and it looks like they’ll destroy each other in the process.

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Donald Trump #Donald Trump #News #Politics

The Trump-Christie Effect

trump christie effect

In case you missed it, Donald Trump had a terrible week that saw any lead he had after the GOP Convention in Cleveland completely evaporate in a climate-changing blast of heat and parch. Not only did he dive into the empty pool of stereotype, anti-Islamic rhetoric and sexism, he ended the week by questioning the sanity and mental awareness of Hillary Clinton. She’s gone from being corrupt to evil and unhinged in his eyes. It is certainly true that Hillary has spent a great deal of her campaign time attacking Trump for being unfit to be president, but when he acts the way he did last week, she has a point. If that’s the way he’s going to react after a political attack from the Khans, then how will he react when things go badly if (shudder) he wins the White House?

Republicans are running away from Trump in larger numbers than those he might have gained from disaffected Democrats, and his late week endorsement of Paul Ryan and John McCain’s primary fights came far too late to be seen as sincere. And to think we’ve been told that Trump is a different person in private. Would it kill him to show us that side?

I don’t have evidence, which is what makes personal blogging such a joy, but I can’t help but think that Chris Christie, the now-popularly-challenged (30% approval) governor of New Jersey, is failing in his attempts to influence the Republican standard-bearer. Christie was done in because of texts and emails related to the GW Bridge scandal, and Trump’s tweets seem to be having the same effects on his campaign.  But where Christie acts like a politician, Trump defies convention. If Christie is supposed to be running Trump’s transition team, he’s either not doing a very good job or, more likely, is having little effect on Trump’s sense that he really needs to start focusing on Clinton’s weaknesses in a coherent fashion.

Of course, having someone who’s broadly disliked advising another person who’s broadly disliked is not a recipe for success. Yes, Hillary also suffers from underwater favorability, but that’s changing, if this new ABC news poll is any indication. We’re still in Hillary’s convention bounce window, so let’s see what’s happening with the polls once the Olympics are finished.

In the meantime, letting Donald be Donald doesn’t seem to be a winning strategy.

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Donald Trump #Donald Trump #Education #News #Politics

Chris Christie: Terrible as Governor But Qualified for VP


I sort of forgot that Chris Christie was still the Governor of New Jersey and an active politician until this week, so quiet was he on policy and bombast.

But now he’s back.

His first foray was to emerge with a set of checks made out to suburban school district students for $6,599 each.  This was his way of solving the school funding problem that has vexed governors for the better part of 40 years. Christie’s solution was, in essence, to tell the students who live in New Jersey’s cities to either go to a Charter School, move, get different parents, or suck it up and try to learn in a class with 34 other students because Christie’s plan would mean a bunch of school closures.

To the suburban districts, the message was much less harsh: Your property taxes will go down and you can continue to have fine schools. What I really like is that the amount of aid isn’t a round number. In fact, I think if Christie had consulted Donald Trump, the price would have been $6,599.99. The pennies add so much class.

And speaking of Christie and Trump, the other information that emerged this week is that the Governor is being vetted for the Vice-Presidency. Yes, I’m still scared of ISIS, but this potential pairing comes in a close second (and tied, by the way, with the thought of Newt Gingrich being VP). Christie has evidently been giving Trump political advice ahead of the GOP’s Cleveland Convention, weighing in on the recent firing of Trump’s campaign manager and moderating Trump’s speeches so they include more substance and less invective. OK, that last one isn’t working out too well, but Christie is taking his job as manager of Trump’s transition very seriously.

Which brings us to this weekend’s crisis in New Jersey over the Transportation Trust Fund which, I am told, is out of money because the Legislature hasn’t raised the gas tax to fund it. Of course, it’s really Christie’s problem because instead of agreeing to the gas tax increase in return for an end to the inheritance tax, which Christie has been running on forever, he tried to make a different deal to agree to the gas tax, but lower the sales tax by 1%. That would create a huge hole in the state budget. When the state Senate balked at the deal (both Republicans and Democrats opposed it), Christie threatened to shut down road projects over the weekend. Which would throw a bunch of people out of work. And seriously compromise driver safety. And make him less popular than he already is.

In years past, even though I didn’t agree with much of what the Republican politicians wanted to do, I could at least see their arguments and follow their thinking. Not this year. The party’s done blowed itself up. And Chris Christie has his hand on the dynamite plunger.

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Donald Trump #Politics

Errand Boy Chris Christie Now Fetching McDonalds for Trump’s Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, accompanied by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, takes questions from members of the media during a news conference on Super Tuesday primary election night in the White and Gold Ballroom at The Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

And fittingly so. Chris Christie is a disgrace to the Republican party… and that’s saying a lot considering that the very meaning of the word ‘disgraceful’ references the Republican Party as an example.

“[Christie] has transformed himself into a sort of manservant, who is constantly with Trump at events,” Ryan Lizza wrote in the magazine’s June 20 issue. Lizza also said one anonymous Republican source told him a friend on Trump’s campaign “used Snapchat to send him a video of Christie fetching Trump’s McDonald’s order.”

The piece, which traces Republicans coming to terms with Trump as the presumptive nominee, is the latest humiliation for Christie since he became a prominent surrogate for the businessman’s campaign.

After appearing on camera with a panicked, deer-in-the-headlights look in his eyes for much of a Super Tuesday press conference with Trump in March, Christie was forced to hold a presser of his own to clarify, “No, I wasn’t being held hostage.”