Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why did Christie's staff order the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge?

So today at his presser, the Great White Whale Christie protested vociferously that he had no motive for ordering the lanes feeding the GW Bridge closed because, as Christie put it, he had never sought Ft. Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich's endorsement and barely knew the guy. The more often he repeated this, the more I found myself saying, "Methinks the Governor doth protest too much."

Christie's bluster demonstrates a classic instance of throwing out a 'red herring' in hopes that the press won't dig in to discover the real motivation behind the bridge closure. (Mayor Sokolich himself claimed to be mystified as to why Christie would retaliate against him, since as far as he knows his endorsement had never been sought much less refused to Christie's re-election campaign.)

Forget about seeking Sokolich's endorsement and retaliating for not getting it! That was NEVER the motivation and it will consequently be easy to maintain a denial of a motivation that never existed.

So why did Christie and his minions really order the lane closures? Simple, they hoped to so piss off the voters of Ft. Lee that they would hold Sokolich responsible for the traffic snarls that kept children from school, workers from their jobs and emergency workers from accident scenes and vote Sokolich out in the next election. That's the only motive that makes sense, given the facts we now know. It wasn't retaliation against Sokolich, it was an attempt to damage his relection prospects preemptively, a move taken straight out of Rove playbook.

They stupidly imagined in their hubris that they could get away with the dirty trick. I hope the U.S. Attorney shows no mercy.Update 1 (Jan 10 @ 10:30 a.m.): I have now learned that The Rachel Maddow Show has promulgated a competing hypothesis that is as plausible, if not more so, than mine stated above. To wit, Maddow argues that the timing of the first bridge closure memo closely follows Christie's outburst against Dems whom he called 'animals' for blocking some of his judicial nominees and against whom he promised 'serious ramifications.' According to Maddow, the initial bridge closure message, sent the day after Christie's outburst, was meant to foul traffic in the district represented by Democratic State Senator Loretta Weinberg. If there was any motive to 'get' Sokolich, it was only incidental to the principal motive of sending a shot across Weinberg's bow.

Update 2 (Jan 10 @ 5:00 p.m.): Have now learned from Talking Points Memo that Port Authority police were telling frustrated motorists that the lane closures were Mayor Sokolich's fault, which tends to support my initial hypothesis. So who ordered the PA Police to lay the blame on Mayor Sokolich? Inquiring minds would really like to know.

Link to Talking Points Memo story 

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