Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Attack of the Liberal Lilliputians

The Chris Christie bridge scandal/fiasco remains a juicy piece of red meat for a number of groups: the Democrats of course, the pundits and talking heads in general, and the folks on the Right (like me) who don't particularly care for the New Jersey Governor.

In my previous bit on this scandal, I made my feelings about Christie known. To be clear in this regard, I don't like Christie's style, I don't think he really has a firm set of principles in line with a conservative ideology at all (as evidenced by his attempt to steal unused gift cards), and I think he's obnoxious. I do believe he is an effective leader, however. And if--somehow--he were to end up as President, he might actually do a decent job. Still, I think having a leader who practices and/or promotes a "paybacks are a bitch" kind of politics is bad news.

In this particular case--the Fort Lee bridge scandal--Christie's underlings used their authority to punish a political foe (or foes), ostensibly due to a lack of an endorsement. Initially, only a couple of people--appointed by Christie but not on his staff--were involved and they were forced to step down, while Christie could and did claim a lack of involvement. But when the story broke about Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff being involved, that line got a little harder to sell.

Christie was still not prepared to admit his involvement, however, and held a press conference to announce the firing of Bridget Anne Kelly, while still insisting that he had no direct knowledge of what went down. But he also "accepted responsibility" for the incident and promised that he would cooperate with and not stand in the way of further inquiries. As I noted in my previous bit, what else could he do? He played it the only way he could, regardless of whether he was telling the truth or not.

To this end, I'm not sure I believe him about his lack of knowledge. It's not consistent with his style of governance in the least to be in the dark on, well, pretty much anything. And it is consistent with his style to engage in political payback. Still, I cannot rightly say that I know he is lying. What I can say it what I said previously (my boldface):
As the e-mail exchange above indicates, the closures were all about Mayor Sokolich getting exactly what he deserved, in the minds of Christie's troops. The idea that such a mindset isn't reflective of Christie's leadership style is simply not believable. The fish stinks from the head, as it were.
To me, this is the only fair conclusion to be had right now. Those who still support Christie have to accept this aspect of his leadership style. Those adamantly opposed to Christie have to allow they have no actual evidence to reach a more damaging conclusion.

Thus, it is with a great deal of smugness that I watch and read the small-minded attempts by some on the Left to argue for such conclusions, especially given how they have reacted to other "scandals" involving politicians they approve of. Look at this piece from Sally Kohn at CNN. Her conclusion (my boldface):
NBC's Chuck Todd said that watching Christie try to defend himself was reminiscent of Bill Clinton's denying his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Indeed, the analogy is that Clinton was handicapped from the get-go by the common knowledge that he was a philandering cad, just as many New Jerseyans and voters across the country find it hard to believe that a governor known for being a political bully had absolutely nothing to do with the bridge scandal. 
Chris Christie built his political career with a reputation for directness. But increasingly, it seems as though he has something to hide. And so the questions will keep mounting until Christie comes clean.
What if Christie actually has "come clean"? What if he actually did not directly order the lane closures and was unaware of the role people on his staff had until quite recently? It is a possibility. But allowing that this is not the case, that Christie is covering up (which I happen to think is the case), the insistence from people like Sally Kohn that he must come clean is laughable. She tries to score some points by citing Clinton, but that was ages ago. What about something more recent? Like, for instance, the Benghazi scandal? Has Kohn been insisting that Obama must "come clean" in that regard?

No, of course not, even though new evidence keeps appearing that is not beneficial to the Administration's Benghazi narrative. According to Kohn, you see, there's nothing to the Benghazi story. It's all just a ginned-up smear campaign directed at President Obama and Hillary Clinton:
The other thing that's troubling about this [the Benghazi story] overall is it's good to get the facts. I agree with everyone. We really need the facts of what actually happened. But the reason this continues to be an ongoing story is because, is solely because of conservative desire to smear President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And so the lens through which every little granular piece of information is interpreted and misinterpreted and manipulated--I mean they now--they're attacking the "New York Times" for actually having sources on the ground and saying that they should have gone and interfered or done something to prevent the violence. That -- that's ridiculous. It's preposterous. The story has sort of jumped the rail, frankly.
Oh, and Kohn previously voiced her displeasure at the Fast and Furious investigation as well, having tweeted the following in October of 2012:
Dear conservatives — NO ONE GIVES A SH*T ABOUT FAST & FURIOUS. Manufactured issue, was a mistake and was resolved.
All of this becomes even more interesting when it is coupled with Kohn's whining about the idea of a "liberal bias" in the media, expressed before her "analysis" of Benghazi:
I mean there's this sort of trend that I think that kind of comes on the heels of, of conservatives, for a long time, arguing that there's this sort of liberal media bias. And then it becomes this kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. The media rushes to prove that it's not and so has to sort of fall over itself to try and defend its actions.

And "The Times" actually sort of more upped the conservatism of its reporting to try and, you know, appeal to -- or appease those conservative critics and, actually, then you create a conservative bias in the media.
So according to Kohn, there's no real bias to speak of. Yet, she dismisses any scandals linked to the current Administration as "manufactured" or as nothing more than a "smear campaign," even though it is clear that all the facts are not out yet. Meanwhile, she sings exactly the opposite tune when it comes to a scandal involving a powerful Republican and insists that figure--Chris Christie--must "come clean." Hysterical, in an oh-my-God-you-are-such-a-blatant-hypocrite kind of way.

Cheers, all.

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