Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rand Paul You had me at Bridgegate

If there was anyone line that I thought won the night-for me-it was Rand Paul who went there.

"Rand Paul tries to revive Bridgegate scandal"

"Rand Paul on Wednesday expanded upon his attack on Chris Christie's involvement with the George Washington Bridge scandal during Tuesday night's debate. For the Kentucky senator, it all comes down to one word: "judgment."

"You know, he picked these advisers. Their offices were just down the hall from him, and it stretches credulity to think he knew nothing about the bridge," Paul said in an interview on Fox News' "America's Newsroom."

"Even if Christie did not know anything about shutting down the lanes of traffic on the George Washington Bridge in 2013, Paul remarked, "how petty and how, just amazing, to shut down an entire bridge for hours out of spite, out of people you don't like, to punish some mayor."

"Federal officials indicted Christie's former deputy chief of staff as well as two Port Authority officials in May. Christie, however, has maintained that he knew nothing about the lane closures."

"So I think, yeah, it goes to judgment," Paul repeated on Fox News. "If he didn’t know anything about it, it goes to judgment in picking the individuals, but I think it stretches credulity that his office was next door to all these people that he'd known for years and that he knew nothing about closing the bridge down. If you're willing to close a bridge down, it goes to judgment."

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Ok, first things first, I don't think Rand tried to reopen Bridgegate-as if he may have failed. The fact is that Bridgegate is still an open question. Yes, Christie claims not to have known what his two high ranking staffers were up to. But even this more innocuous interpretation hardly is flattering to a guy who is supposed to be son on top of everything. 

Will he be this careless with what his own staff is doing when he's fighting ISIS and getting tough on widows and orphans? 

In reality, Christie is a notorious micromanager who doesn't let his own staff go to the bathroom without permission so how credible is that he didn't know? In any case, the case is still open and Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni insist they were not lone wolves in their shutting down the GWB to punish the Governor's political enemies. 

However, many pundits think that Chris Christie did well last night-though Steve Schmidt admits that Christie made a mistake in gratuitously talking of shooting down a Russian plane. 

Now some of these pundits like Chris Cillizza can just be dismissed. After all, Cillizza also thinks that Jeb Bush had a great night when Frank Luntz's focus group show that the GOP viewers at home were mostly laughing at Jeb's prissy lectures of Trump. 

But Luntz's focus group also showed that Christie was seen as a winner last night-as was Cruz. I hope this is wrong. But, hey, it's better that Christie had a good night than Rubio. Luntz also says that Rubio lost his exchanges with Cruz. So if Christie does see a bump-which I don't welcome-at least it will likely come at the expense of Rubio-which I do welcome-and whatever support Jeb has left. 

So Rand had the best line of the night-for me. Second best night? Donald Trump:

Trump says things no other Republican will

Speaking of the cycle of Middle Eastern wars inaugurated under George W. Bush, Trump asked a rather profound question: "What do we have now?"

"We have spent $3 trillion and probably much more," he continued. "Thousands and thousands of lives; we have nothing. Wounded warriors all over the place, who I love, we have nothing for it."

"This is a far cry from GOP orthodoxy, and frankly not even something mainstream Democrats will acknowledge. Indeed, coming from a mainstream Democrat it might strike many as excessively unpatriotic. But Trump's visceral connection with the anxieties of older white working-class Americans allows him to give expression to certain unpleasant thoughts without ever raising the specter that he might be less than fully nationalistic. He later elaborated on the theme in a passage that echoed elements of John Kerry's 2004 campaign, but delivered in a world that knows much more certainly that the Iraq War was a fiasco."

"We have spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems, our airports and all the other problems we have we would have been a lot better off I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East but to humanity, the people that have been killed, the people that have been wiped away and for what? It's not like we had victory. It's a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized, a total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion."

This is again-like when he mocked Jeb's 'My brother kept us safe' line- a time when Trump says something not even many Democrats have the balls to say quite like this.

Ok now the best line of the night in a bad way-ie, such a bad line, it's a good line to play in attack ads against the GOP? Lindsay Graham's immortal words: I miss George W. Bush and wish he was still President.

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