Get Me Rewrite, Sweetheart (Christie Exonerated)
I don’t know about you, but I have been suffering from Christie-deprivation. This past month nights have gone by without any really solid speculation about who knew what and when, which had been a major preoccupation on MSNBC, the most reliable source for extended coverage of the political freak show known as the GWB Scandal.
Instead of my nightly fix, Bridgegate scandal junkies like myself were forced to listen to things like the Republicans re-flogging that dead horse, Benghazi, something they dig up whenever there is a lull between the lulls of their obstructionist tactics in Washington.
Then there were other silly things like the missing plane, the Ukraine Revolution and the Second Crimean War. I tell you there has been a dearth of girth, a lack of news about our New Jersey governor, Chris “Bluto” Christie, and his seven dwarfs, as we locals call our chief executive’s brain trust.
The situation had gotten so grim one night in early March we were forced to listen to debates on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” my favorite place to keep up with Christiezpoppin news, about members of His Rotundity’s team taking the Fifth.
A week later, trying to fill the holes in her network’s former all- Christie-all-the-time regime, Rachel performed a tour de farce dramatic reading of a New York Times front page survey of all the dirty tricks played by the Magnificent Brontosaurus’ clean-as- the-Passaic-River administration. Interrupting the reading of the Trenton magic show’s activities, Rachel said it made her feel like needing to take a shower. She was virtually dry retching as she scrolled through the list, as if doing favors for friends and slights to enemies was something new in the history of politics, not an extract from Politics 101 playbook.
Suddenly, last night (March 24) the drought was over. Out of nowhere, a front-page story in the New York Times that morning reported an extensive review of the Governor’s office that exonerated him. No evidence was found that the governor was involved in the plotting or directing of the infamous lane closings in Fort Lee. Ah, yes, they were dancing in the streets of Trenton last night.
True, the investigation was conducted by Christie’s own legal team. His two top defense counselors from an elite law firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutchers, which already had ties to the Christie administration, unleashed 12 of its best and brightest legal beagles, including five former Federal prosecutors, who conducted 70 interviews, including the governor, the lieutenant governor, every current member of the Christie senior staff and top New Jersey officials of the Port Authority. Everybody except the three people at the center of the Fort Lee “time for some traffic problems” caper (Kelly, Stepien and Wildstein) actually known to be involved in the dastardly act.
Still the investigation cleared him unequivocally of wrong- doing.
Now I don’t know if His Heaviness is guilty or not. No indictment has come down. Results of the 38 subpoenas are still sealed. Three Federal and state investigations are in motion.
But none of this has stopped the cable network news court from booking a room for Christie at the East Jersey State Prison (yclept Rahway) for whatever crimes and misdemeanors he might still be charged with some day.
By all the laws of cable network news, a man is guilty until proven innocent.
True, this is a better criterion than used in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692–3. As I understand it, a decision was rendered by throwing the defendant into the water. If the body floated, it was ipso facto evidence of guilt.
While we pondered the good news about Gov. Christie being exonerated by his own people, Rachel Maddow’s court was in session. Weighing in on the breaking news (The Times story) his lawyers’ verdict was discussed with crack news talk show host Steve Kornacki. When Rachel and Steve get together, especially with Chris Hayes, they are like the three witches in “Macbeth,” stirring the boiling oil, mixing in soupcons of poisoned entrails, toes of frogs, lizards legs, wool of bat, adders fork tongue, eyes of Newt. Hell broth, boil and bubble.
Instead of double double/toil and trouble/ fire burn and caldron bubble, Rachel and Steve stirred the pot with sly facial gestures, raised eyebrows, smirks and snide remarks, leaving no doubt that in their considered opinion this ad hoc trial was as trustworthy as a Continental dollar.
The most shocking part of the breaking news is that New Jersey taxpayers are said to be stuck with the bill for this anointing of His Magnificence. At $650 an hour, the firm’s billing rate, the cost of the exoneration is over a million dollars so far. Holy donut! That’s a lot of double whammy burgers and milk shakes at Wendy’s, eggmcmuffuns at McDonald’s, and five-foot longs at Subway back in the days when the governor was eating Burlington County for lunch.
What a waste of taxpayer money. The Guv already told us back in January on TV he wasn’t involved. His word and $2.50 will get you a ride on a PATH train. To return to the Elizabethan (not Elizabeth, N.J.) iambic pentameter mode: “Prithee, me thinks the guv’nor protesteth too much.”
Meanwhile, as a taxpayer, I hope we can pay the legal bill with Bitcoins.
March 25, 2014