Schadenfreude Wednesday: Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
Posted January 15, 2014on:
Widdershins, the latest conservative “golden boy” and alleged threat to Hillary in 2016, Governor Chris Christie, appears to be losing his luster. It’s amazing what you can find when you dig into a nasty, self-righteous, lazy and arrogant politico’s laundry basket.
Perhaps only those of us in the New York Metro area were privileged enough to see them, but after SuperStorm Sandy in 2012, Christie put out a bunch of ads about how New Jersey was “stronger than the storm.” They would have been a lot more moving if His Majesty and his family weren’t in them. Here’s one for your viewing pleasure.
Now, it turns out that poor taste may not have been the only flaw in these commercials.
The Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has opened a federal investigation into whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) improperly used Hurricane Sandy relief funds to produce commercials starring himself and his family ahead of his re-election campaign. Auditors will examine how the Christie administration used $25 million set aside for “a marketing campaign to promote the Jersey Shore and encourage tourism,” focusing on the bidding process awarding a $4.7 million contract to a politically connected firm that cast Christie and his family in the Sandy ads, while “a comparable firm proposed billing the state $2.5 million for similar work” but did not include Christie in the commercials.
When it rains, it pours, eh, Chris? But hey, the numbers are what they are….that extra $2.2 million to that politically connected firm might have helped buy Christie a place in the Governor’s seat. Call it the 9/11 effect; referencing that tragedy, and casting himself as its hero, certainly extended Rudy Giuliani’s career by an undeserved four years.
Lest you think this latest set of accusations is piling onto a guy who’s already at least half down for the count, objections were raised months ago – by both Republicans and Democrats. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this sentence actually is coming out of my keyboard: I agree with Rand Paul on this issue. (Don’t worry, it will never happen again.)
2. Conservatives questioned Christie’s staring role. In November, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Christie’s appearance in the television ads gave the recovery effort a “black eye.” “People running for office put their mug all over these ads while they were in the middle of a political campaign,” Paul said during a committee hearing. “In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. You think there might be a conflict of interest there? That’s a real problem and that’s why when people who are trying to do good and trying to use taxpayers’ money wisely, they’re offended to see our money spent on political ads. That’s just offensive.”
It’s very likely that Paul was just saying that because he doesn’t want to run against Christie in 2016. But nonetheless, sometimes the truth comes from unlikely sources.
But wait, there’s more!
3. Chair of bidding committee has close ties to Christie. A six-member bid evaluation committee of Christie administration officials selected the higher price despite issuing a report that said Sigma’s proposal also “addressed the tasks and deliverables specified in the RFQ (request for quotation) … (and) could effectively meet the requirements of this RFQ.” Michele Brown, a close Christie aid, led the bid evaluation. “Brown is a former federal prosecutor in New Jersey but resigned that post in 2009 amid controversy over a loan of $46,000 from Christie,” Asbury Park Press reports.
No worries, though. When in doubt, the Republicans of today always have one arrow in their quiver: IAOF (It’s All Obama’s Fault). This is the latest variant of that time-tested, Gingrich-approved tactic, IACF (It’s All Clinton’s Fault).
Christie responds by attributing the ads to Obama: “The Stronger Than The Storm [ad] campaign was just one part of the first action plan approved by the Obama Administration and developed with the goal of effectively communicating that the Jersey Shore was open for business during the first summer after Sandy,” Christie spokesperson Colin Reed said in a statement. “We’re confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history.” While the Obama administration approved a waiver to allow the state to spend $25 million on ads, it was not involved in the bidding process under federal review.
We all know I am no Obama fan, but unless the President really, really wanted Christie to be Governor again, I cannot imagine that he told Da Guv to use $25 million in federal funds to promote himself as the Savior of the Garden State, instead of creating ads to promote tourism and help repair homes and lives.
No, it seems to me Christie’s thuggery and lack of ethics are evident in many other ways, as is his abundant supply of narcissism. This behavior of funneling money to his friends while profiting politically, seems completely consistent with his character. It’s Schadenfreude Wednesday because I am so glad to see this hater of education and destroyer of good teachers receive the humiliation he so cavalierly visited on others.
This is an open, “neener neener” thread.
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