January 09th, 2014
Christie Reminds Us of Which Steve Martin Skit? (Updated)
“Oh, no. Now who would do a thing like that?”
This was the old skit, in which Steve Martin, as a Roman centurion, steps in a bag of excrement, planted by the Vandals.
The words, funny on Saturday Night Live in 1979, came to mind this week as we learned that people from Gov. Christie’s office squeezed an approach to the George Washington Bridge for four days – and joked about it.
Who would do a thing like that – inconveniencing, endangering, thousands, maybe millions of people, to get back at a local mayor who had not endorsed Christie.
An old lady died after her ambulance was delayed. Her daughter doesn't seem to blame the slow care but the ambulance people say the little practical joke out of Trenton added minutes to the hospital run, while the public servants were making jokes on their email.
They all need to go. On Thursday Christie fired his assistant, somebody named Kelly, whose next job needs to be working at Dunkin Donuts or an Arby’s, where she can wait on the should-be-former governor. People had health and safety and lateness problems because of these latter-day Vandals.
Christie gave a long press conference that sounded to me like the cheesiest defense I have heard since a certain candidate defended his wife's cloth coat and his little dog Checkers.
Kids, check out this guy from 1952:
Now the question is, who would do a thing like that?
A few names came to mind.
As it happened, the ruinous transcript emerged on Jan. 8 – Elvis’s birthday. It was also the 50th anniversary of the State of the Union speech by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, when he proposed a war on poverty – a noble task, particularly in light of current callous members of Congress who do not care about the poor.
Johnson, a New Deal Democrat, had the War on Poverty right. But then he went power-crazy and wound up killing tens of thousands of his own troops and millions of Vietnamese because he could not admit a mistake.
He slinked out of office, announcing he would not run again in 1968.
Now who would do a thing like that?”
Nixon, I thought. Nixon.
He replaced LBJ as President, and within four years he was directing a campaign against his enemies. The other party, that is. He needed the Watergate burglary the way Christie needed to dump on the mayor of Fort Lee. Had to have revenge for slights, real or imagined.
Christie is an overt bully, so was Johnson. Nixon was more insidious, playing the smarm card at all times, rubbing his hands together, unctuously, but the tapes reveal his paranoia, his prejudices.
Where do we get these people? Is there some deep recess, or abscess, in the American soul that produces people like Johnson and Nixon and Christie? Do we like them? Admire them? Want to be them?
“Well, that's just sick! I guess this is just another example of the decline of the Roman Empire!”
Steve Martin’s Centurion had it right.
Here’s the transcript from the Vandals skit:
1/9/2014 01:09:36 am
Great points, GV. Very Nixonian in that Christie was up big in the polls. There's never a "need" to do this sort of thing, but like the Watergate break in, it clearly was not a situation of "desperate times calling for desperate measures." Paranoia and the desire to mete out unnecessary retribution must be active, rampant genes in most successful politicians.
1/9/2014 01:28:09 am
Andrew: Good to hear from you...GV
1/9/2014 04:24:53 am
Christie was the equivalent of "The Great White Hope" for Republicans hoping to escape from the Tea Party idiocy, racism and the new "War on Poverty" which now means war on the poor and needy.
1/9/2014 08:31:27 am
I agree. Scott is skin-crawling worse.
1/9/2014 09:07:14 am
Positively Nixonian. This puerile and vindictive stunt could have been conceived by Donald Segretti. Christie needs to go, far away. Maybe he and Spitzer could start a radio call-in show together...on some obscure AM station. And to think this clown was actually being talked up seriously as a presidential candidate. Is this really where we are when it comes to finding new leaders?
1/9/2014 01:37:37 pm
OK, but let's consider. #1. The jury is out in my opinion on the NJ Gov. One needs to be responsible for one's appointments, but on that basis alone our President is just as guilty (and that's being kind and I can and will name names). The bigger question is whether the Gov is ignorant and/or maliciously uncaring or worse regarding his appointments. On that basis, he is more suspicious than our President, because he, the Gov, is just plain smarter, albeit perhaps not nicer, and did not likely leave the appointments to his handlers, as did our President. #2. His press conference and subsequent contrition is not convincing, at least to this old time Republican. But I surmise he knows the difference between right and wrong and just doesn't choose well. Do we forgive or not? That depends in my mind on how he conducts himself from here on -- if we can see through what comes next. Maybe we can't. I'm terribly disappointed in this guy choosing to act in the New Jersey Democratic Party tradition.
Thor A. Larsen
1/9/2014 11:40:53 pm
Brian, you stated that Gov. Christie is 'just plain smarter' than the President?? You MUST be kidding! It is totally incnceivable that Christie did not know about the closings. The idea of firing an aide, who had no authority to close the lanes was a stunt in theater, that some Republicans might buy, no one else. Yes, Christie is a better actor than the President, so he should seek a career on Broadway, not waste his time to seek a career at the White House.
1/9/2014 01:38:30 pm
I'd like to see Christie, dressed in sumo or traditional Greco-Roman garb, go head-to-head with Putin. One of 'em'd probably get what he deserves. The camera could do cameos of Kim Jong Un, pursing his lips and half-heartedly clapping, and Rodman, preening, with audio commentary by Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern or Imus. It's complicated.
1/9/2014 02:58:45 pm
Putin is repulsive enough with his shirt off.
1/10/2014 01:09:10 pm
For me the issue boils down to this: Did his aids expect that the Governor would want them to behave the way they did? If so, that means he gave clear signals about behavior and expectations. It is also possible that the aids acted alone, because politics these days attracts the worst and the dumbest.
1/10/2014 03:25:54 pm
Brian, You recall the sign on Harry Truman's desk, "The Buck stops here.". Having served as staff on the Hill and "downtown," there is one cardinal rule, you do not act outside your "principal's" wishes and goals. The people involved knew Christie for years, what he wanted and what his codes of behavior would allow. this is the way it works at every level of government and in the private sector. people don't last on staff for five years or one year without understanding the rules.
1/10/2014 09:08:56 pm
In a soccer game, in the 80th minute with a one goal lead, a player receives the ball on a breakaway and has only the opposing goalkeeper to beat to seal the match. The 'keeper slips, and the player is facing a wide open goal where a tap-in will suffice. With all of his might, he blasts the ball over the grandstand into the neighborhood streets. In the 82nd minute, the other team is attacking and trying to tie the match. He commits a violent foul on an opponent in his penalty area, giving the other team a penalty kick and receives a red card and is sent off, leaving his team playing a man down. The opponents go on to score two goals and win the match. Afterward, the player is interviewed. He says that he is ashamed, emabarrassed and humiliated by the actions of members of his team. Is this an accurate statement? Literally so.
1/11/2014 01:13:10 am
E-Z Pass probably the greatest single human invention of the last quarter century, maybe since penicillin -- better than any of Mr. Jobs' little diversions. E-Z Pass allows us to flit through the tolls.
1/14/2014 02:07:31 pm
Seriously, George: Kevin McReynolds? Here I am counting the days until Spring Training and looking forward to a new season of Mets baseball. We need 25 guys with fire raging in their bellies. Be well, my friend.
1/11/2014 01:24:19 am
Andrew, I would recommend we all end our last email of every evening with a cheery,
1/11/2014 02:26:48 am
Dear Sir, (and we know where you live), the correct phrase is "Good Night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are."-- Jimmy Durante.
1/11/2014 03:07:45 am
All, right, there are two versions of who Mrs. Calabash was. I like both -- Durante's late wife Jeanne Olsen, and a woman who ran a restaurant:
1/11/2014 12:40:53 pm
Back to the original lead-in, from Saturday Night Live: Now we read that the genuine Mr. Richard Feder, of Fort Lee, NJ, who would continually write Roseanne Roseannadanna with questions, has spoken prominently about this! Mere coincidence?
1/11/2014 11:39:37 am
Let’s assume, if only for the sake of argument, that Christie didn’t know ahead of time about the decision to close the lanes -- or didn’t give the order himself. Still, doesn’t it make sense to say that the first thing he would have done when the controversy broke out -- i.e. on the first day of the lane closings -- was call in his top staff members and say, “What the hell is going on here?” And given everything we’ve read about Christie and how he operates, can we really believe that those staff members would have refused to answer his question or lied to him about it? In other words, isn’t it very likely that he knew from the beginning (if not ahead of time) what he claims he’s only found out about now?
1/12/2014 08:51:58 am
The Borough of Fort Lee, NJ deserved better!!
Thor A. Larsen
1/18/2014 02:38:37 am
More interesting news about the BIG BULLY in NJ:
1/18/2014 07:53:12 am
Thor, we watched Kornacki's show Saturday morning..Gripping stuff. The Big Man had emissaries working the mayor over.
2/10/2014 04:55:38 am
Comments are closed.
“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.