Ugly Underneath, Too

January 9, 2014

3High overcast and quiet this Thursday morning on California’s north coast — outside everything is still damp, but the rain.
Not much moisture produced this round for a state in a state of drought.

Meanwhile, nationwide, the words “polar vortex” had been replaced by “bridgegate.” Or in literary terms, how an asshole had to eat his own shit.
When I got home from work yesterday afternoon, the InterWebs were jammed with Chris Christie stories, and the loud pilings-on from all media couldn’t have happened to a more appropriate big mouth jerk.

(Illustration found here).

Of course, by now everyone’s aware of NJ Gov. Christie’s problem with reality — some of his aides acted with political vengeance in closing the George Washington Bridge in September, snarling traffic in the town of Fort Lee, NJ., which in turn might even have caused one person’s death. The gossip on the closings have been percolating for months, but yesterday, e-mails revealed the shitty side of the Jersey shore.
From the New York Times this morning:

The usually verbose and swaggering Mr. Christie, who once mocked questions from reporters about the abrupt closing of lanes to the bridge, seemed at a loss for how to respond on Wednesday.
As the drip-drip of internal documents intensified, he hunkered down in his Trenton office, canceling his sole public event, postponing long-planned interviews with local reporters and waiting seven hours before issuing a written statement expressing his own anger over the matter.
But by the end of the day, both Democratic and Republican leaders were seizing on the case’s growing links to the governor’s office, zeroing in on crude emails in which one of the governor’s top deputies and a high-level Christie appointee at the Port Authority seemed to celebrate their role in creating gridlock for residents of Fort Lee, N.J.
Despite Mr. Christie’s claims to the contrary, many saw an inescapable link to the temperamental governor, whose emotional outbursts at those who challenge him in public are a hallmark of his governing style.
Several leading conservatives, long suspicious of Mr. Christie’s allegiance to their cause, seemed eager to pounce.
“The point of the story is that Christie will do payback,” Rush Limbaugh said on his popular conservative radio show.
“If you don’t give him what he wants, he’ll pay you back.”

Asshole end of the feature.
Gail Collins, also at the Times, gives her wonderful interpretation:

This is very big.
Voters have been known to overlook financial chicanery or stuffed ballot boxes.
They might continue to love a guy who screwed up the local bond rating or got evicted from the governor’s mansion by an irate wife.
But could you ever trust a politician who was implicated in a deliberate effort to ruin rush hour?
We are, of course, going to refer to this as Bridgegate.
Also, we will try to figure out some way to call it a political polar vortex.
One central character in the story — which unfolds in newly public emails and texts — is David Wildstein, the governor’s high school pal and a former mayor of their mutual hometown who was appointed to a very important position in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The Port Authority controls the George Washington Bridge, which carries more motor vehicles than any other span in the world.
In September, Wildstein had workers block off two access lanes to the bridge from the city of Fort Lee.
This appears to have been an effort to get back at the mayor for his failure to join the governor’s re-election team.

America has not been this conscious of Fort Lee since the early days of Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live,” when Gilda Radner played correspondent Roseanne Roseannadanna, continually answering questions from “Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey.”
Now we are imagining Mr. Richard Feder on his morning commute to Manhattan, sitting behind the wheel and staring bleakly ahead as the clock ticks on toward 10 a.m.
Emergency services complained about delays.
Children were trapped on buses en route to the first day of school.
Meanwhile, the texting by the Christie camp went along the line of: “Is it wrong that I am smiling?” One of them expressed some mild regret about the kids.
Wildstein pointed out that they were probably the spawn of Democrats.

The entire GOP, underneath all that vile, hard-scrabble hatred for all things bright and wonderful, is the reality of a vile, hard-scrabble hatred for all things bright and wonderful. One major reason the US is in a perpetual state of continued crisis is because one of only two political parties in this country is way-way-bad news, no matter the subject.
TPM has a good wrap this morning on the Christie saga so far.

Also meanwhile, and also yesterday, the GOP met to discuss how they can reach-out to poor people in the upcoming election cycles — maybe they’ll just die.
Dana Milbank at the Washington Post has the hypocritical bullshit:

Some of the more strategic-minded Republicans, including Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, have been talking about how the party might do better by the poor.
But if you want to get a sense of where the GOP consensus is on the have-nots, you’d learn more from the news conference held Wednesday by the conservative Republican Study Committee, which claims as members 174 of the 233 House Republicans, a full 75 percent of the caucus.
The chairman of the RSC’s “anti-poverty initiative” is one Rep. Steve Southerland, a funeral director from the Florida Panhandle who is best known for heading an effort to dismantle the food-stamp program.
Southerland led five other white men in suits onto the stage Wednesday and declared the War on Poverty a failure.
“It’s clear we’re now engaged in a battle of attrition that has left more Americans in poverty than at any other point in our nation’s history,” he said.
There are 46 million in poverty, he added, “despite more than $15 trillion to fight this War on Poverty. Clearly the big government ideas of the past need to be improved and aren’t working to the extent that they should. We have a moral obligation to break the mold.”
CNN’s Dana Bash asked the mold-breaker what he thought of the White House’s claim that the poverty rate fell from 25.8 percent in 1967 to 16 percent in 2012.
“The percentage of people in poverty today as compared to 50 years ago as a percentage is less,” he acknowledged. “But I also want to make sure it is very clear that there are more Americans living in poverty.”
Well, yes, 10 million more Americans are in poverty now than there were in 1963 — but the overall population has increased by 125 million.
If you include all of the financial assistance from anti-poverty programs, the poverty rate dips to below 8 percent today. And people who are poor suffer less because they receive health care through Medicaid and nutrition through food stamps.

Other than making food-stamp recipients take nonexistent jobs, the RSC had few specific ideas for replacing the War on Poverty.
Some were old: reform the tax code, open the Keystone XL oil pipeline, issue private-school vouchers, remove restrictions on states.
Others were mostly beyond the reach of policy: extolling the virtues of two-parent families and the good work of charities.
Southerland bristled at a reporter’s question about the perception that Republicans don’t care about poverty.
He mentioned his past service as chairman of the Salvation Army of Panama City and other good works, and those of Rep. Frank Wolf (Va.), who wasn’t in attendance.
“Every 90 days, Frank meets with every food bank in his district. I dare one of you to print that!”

What a pompous, self-centered asshole!
Outside, inside, on the bridge or at the podium — the ugly core of the GOP.

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