Sunday, May 20, 2007

Chris Christie's spin

What will it take to get U.S. Attorney Chris Christie's groupies off Cloud 9?

Christie has been pretty adroit in spinning the media throughout Gonzogate, but now I've seen everything. He has Newark Star-Ledger columnist Tom Morantwisting the latest news so illogically in favor of Christie that it makes me wonder if Moran isn't on Christie's exploratory campaign '08 staff. Moran's awe-shucks piece Friday on Thursday's Washington Post scoop concludes it should prove saintliness that Christie was on the Jan. 1, 2006, list to be fired. He glosses right over the fact that Christie made the partisan grade to be removed from the chopping block in November, after an U.S. Senate campaign in which it's looking as if Christie started a nonsense investigation to swing subpeonas that would include remote landlord records in now Sen. Robert Menendez' office:

As for Christie, he was never given an explanation for any of this, even when he pressed Elston, the man who put his name on the list.

But given what we now know about the breathtaking incompetence of Gonzales and his senior staff, no reasonable person can hold this against Christie. If this crew didn't like him, that's probably a good sign.
Has Moran paid no attention to the fact that virtually every known Christie political investigation since January 2006 has been a Democrat? Did he notice Christie waited until after the statute of limitations ran out to open his Christmas tree investigation on pork barreling that some of us remember the Republicans abusing for a decade, too?

Where are the journalists who scrutinize the powerful, free of fear or favor?

We all want someone to rescue New Jersey politics from rampant corruption. But I'll be blunt: Christie isn't that savior.

If he continues to be left unchecked, we are in serious danger of creating a supermonster of corruption in a few years within the N.J. Republican Party. Christie is taking down the Democrats while letting the corrupt Republicans off the hook and covering their stink with cologne.

Could it be the reason an unusually large number of Republicans are not running for re-election is to take eyes off their corrupt histories? At the same time Christie is prosecuting almost exclusively Democrats, he's stumping for Republicans by giving his "corruption-buster" seal of approval by officiating Republican swearing-ins and speaking to Republican groups about the importance of "voting out the crooks." His mouth says he's not singling out Democrats, but his deeds say the opposite.

And consider another overlooked tidbit in this report: Michael Elston. Christie only now, mid-May, admits Elston called him two months ago about his being on this list, even though Christie has denied knowing anything about the list during that time. Not exactly honest for an adored "corruption buster."

But, who is Elston and what is Christie's true relationship to him, I wonder. Christie implies he's a pal, but then again, isn't Elston now the last man standing behind Attorney General Alberto Gonzales? He put the names on the list after talking to people, so there will be more to this story on Christie when we find out who were those people who said Christie was not being a good partisan boy before January 2006.

WaPo reported:
"We don't know how he got on and off that list," said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, reiterating Christie's point to the Post. "It's a complete mystery to us. ...We're clueless as to why he was chosen. This U.S. Attorney's Office has always received the highest marks."
And I'd like to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.