Author Archive: Ian Reifowitz

Christie on bridge/traffic scandal: “I’m ultimately responsible, but not directly responsible” Huh?

This really is the gift that keeps on giving. Christie finally speaks:

“Mistakes are made and when mistakes are made people have to be held accountable for them,” Christie said. OK. Go on. But the whole affair is “created and manufactured,” according to New Jersey’s governor, and “a whole lot of hullabaloo.” Really?

As a reminder, this is what the “manufactured” affair is about:

One day after the Wall Street Journal reported that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had privately asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to back off an investigation into Bill Baroni, Christie’s top appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Baroni has resigned.

Last September, Baroni mysteriously ordered the closure of two of the three lanes from Fort Lee, New Jersey, to the George Washington Bridge. The blockade created enormous traffic jams in Fort Lee and jeopardized public safety by disrupting the ability of first responders to move throughout the city. Three days later, the lanes were reopened, but the question everybody wants answered is this: Why were the lanes closed in the first place?

Baroni claimed the lanes were closed as part of a traffic study, however, no one at the NY/NJ Port Authority had heard of the study. In reality, it looks like the closure was payback for Fort Lee’s mayor not endorsing Christie’e reelection campaign.

But back to Christie:

“I don’t have any recollection of ever having met the mayor of Fort Lee in my four years,” Christie said. “He was not somebody that was on my radar screen in any way-politically, professionally, or in any other way-until these stories came out in the aftermath of the closing.”

Then Christie said that Democrats just want to make everything about him, including stuff, apparently, that his cronies do take political revenge that end up screwing over regular people just trying to get to work. The line delivered to Tony Soprano by his mother applies here to Christie: “Poor you!”

Finally, the money quote from the governor:

“I am ultimately responsible for every person that I put into this government and the actions they take. That’s different, obviously, than direct responsibility. But ultimate responsibility? Sure. I understand that.”

In other words, I take responsibility, but don’t try to hold me accountable. Got it?

Christie Concern Trolling About “Paternalism” and “Dependence”

Ian is the author of a new book about Barack Obama (details below). – promoted by Rosi

The Republican party claims that it wants to reduce government spending on poverty-related initiatives in large part because of their concern that these programs breed dependence. This is a very important argument for them because it allows them to call for these cuts while also claiming that they “care” about economically vulnerable people.

See, these Republican cuts will actually “help” the economically vulnerable, whereas the programs themselves “hurt” those who receive the benefits they provide by sapping the recipients’ independent spirit (because all they really need to find a job or to get through school without a Pell grant, for example, is a bit sturdier spirit).

On April 10, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie laid out the essential Republican view on the matter of paternalism and, although he didn’t use the word directly, dependence in a speech at the George W. Bush Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth.

“I think it’s really simple. It’s because government’s now telling them ‘stop dreaming, stop striving, we’ll take care of you.’ We’re turning into a paternalistic entitlement society.”

Much more, below the fold.

Chris Christie: Economic Genius

Welcome back, Ian. – promoted by Rosi

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s lack of understanding of economics appears to approach the level of John McCain.

Christie, like many Republicans, claims to believe in fiscal responsibility, and says that government shouldn’t spend more than it has, just like real families. (I’d like to meet these families). The problem is, these ideas don’t work for families and they don’t work for our government.

On Meet The Press this past Sunday, Christie said,

I mean, we made real hard decisions, and I cut some programs that we would’ve liked to have kept…But we’re broke. We don’t have the money anymore.

more below the fold

NJ Gas Station Rip-Offs: Unacceptable

Below is a blog post from the Josh Zeitz for Congress campaign. Josh is a Democrat challenging Republican incumbent (and anti-choice caucus chair) Chris Smith in NJ-4.

With gas prices at $4/gallon, the last thing New Jersey drivers deserve is to get ripped off by gas station owners. I read recently about the inspections conducted by law enforcement of over 1000 gas stations in all 21 counties of our state. Any violations would be unacceptable, but over 350 station owners, more than one in three, were found in violation.

You know, this past weekend I walked through two precincts in Bordentown Township and attended the really amazing Florence Occasion in the Park. People told me they were fed up with the high cost of gas, and one specifically brought up how many gas stations were cited for cheating drivers at the pump.  

Like most of you, I am outraged at these violations, which Attorney General Anne Milgram said are in all likelihood intentional attempts to deceive consumers. I’m glad that these inspections took place and that drivers can now be more confident that they are at least getting what they are paying four dollars a gallon for. I would suggest they mandate more frequent inspections.

It’s for reasons like this that I support strict criminal penalties for price gouging. The law has to protect drivers not only from gas station owners but also from the Big Oil companies who are making record profits and still receiving outrageous subsidies from our governments in Washington. We need measures that investigate price fixing by Oil Cartels like OPEC as well as unfair and ridiculous prices set by the biggest oil producers in the United States.

You can read more about where I stand on gas prices in my last post, available at:…


I’m going to stick around for comments. If you are interested in volunteering for the campaign, please contact me at ian_at_joshzeitz_com. I am a volunteer myself, and serve as Josh’s Netroots Outreach Coordinator.

ACTION: WRITE LTE’s for Zeitz (NJ-4)

Josh Zeitz, the Democratic candidate in NJ-4 challenging long-term (and House anti-choice chair) Rep. Chris Smith, needs your help to respond to a poorly researched column that appeared in yesterday’s Trenton Times.

George Amick, in his column “Perennial defeats seem likely again,” writes that Josh has no chance of winning because, “Recently, Smith has outspent his opponents by as much as 15 to 1 and has gone on to defeat them by up to 2-to-1 margins… Zeitz of Bordentown, a writer and teacher, has vowed to campaign door to door in an all-out effort to unseat Smith. It’s the typical Smith opponent’s solution to the no-money, no-name-recognition problem, and it hasn’t worked yet.”

What makes this column so shocking is its startling inaccuracy. Josh Zeitz has already raised more money that the last three challengers combined and actually outraised Chris Smith in the most recent FEC reporting period.


NJ-4:Chris Smith Spends No Time in NJ

According to a new report at NJ, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ-4) rarely visits his district. This bit of information is not widely known, but it soon will be, and provides another opening for Democrat Josh Zeitz to make his case.

The article speaks for itself:

When Rep. Chris Smith was first elected to the House, he was brand new to the Washington scene. But after 27 years of representing New Jersey in Congress, Smith has spent almost half of his life living in Virginia. [snip]

In 2000, Smith spent 73 days and 41 nights in his district, according to Congressional spending reports. That’s 20% of his days (including travel days) and 11.23% of his nights. Since then, records show the number of days Smith spent in New Jersey has decreased almost every year.

More after the jump.

NJ-4:Chris Smith-Fact 33: Chris Smith Voted Against Tax Rebates for Military Families

Each week between now and Election Day, we will reveal one more surprising fact about Chris Smith’s record in Congress.

Fact # 33: Chris Smith voted against expanding the child tax credit to 250,000 low income military families. Nearly one in five children of active-duty U.S. military families would have benefited from the proposed tax credit. Military families would have received an immediate check for $400 per child and a $1,000 tax credit per child each year. [Vote #275 6/12/2003, Vote #370 7/16/03, USA Today 6/4/2003]

According to research, many military families face difficult financial challenges. Over 20% of military families report having received WIC aid or food stamps from the government. Additional tax rebates would have helped our military families get by while their loved ones were serving overseas. [Washington Post/Kaiser Foundation Military Families Survey March 2004]

Of course, nothing stopped Chris Smith from voting to raise his own pay by $32,600. [CRS: Salaries of Members of Congress Updated January 8, 2008; 1999 Vote #300; 2000 Vote #419; 2001 House Vote #267; 2002 House Vote #322; 2003 House Vote #463; 2004 House Vote #451; 2005 House Vote #327; 2006 vote #261; 2007 Vote #580]

“Before veterans are veterans, they are servicemen and servicewomen. Military families have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation, but Chris Smith voted against basic tax credits for the neediest military families. Voters deserve to know why.” said Josh Zeitz campaign manager Steve D’Amico.


NJ-4:Chris Smith-Fact 34:He voted No on More Dwell Time for our Troops

Over the 35 weeks before Election Day we are counting down the 35 facts Chris Smith doesn’t want you to know about his record. We’ll be compiling the facts at http://ChrisSmithFacts.blogspo…

Fact #34: Chris Smith Voted Against Additional Dwell Time for our Troops

“Voters deserve to know why Chris Smith opposed granting our over-deployed troops adequate dwell time to rest with their friends and family.”

Chris Smith says that he wants to run on his record in Congress. Unfortunately, there are parts of his record that voters may find less than appealing.

More after the jump.


NJ-4:Chris Smith-Fact 35: His Vote Nixed Troop Bonuses

Over the next 35 weeks before Election Day, the Josh Zeitz campaign will be counting down the 35 facts Chris Smith doesn’t want you to know about his record. We’ll be compiling the facts on our new website http://ChrisSmithFacts.blogspo…  

I’ll post the text of this first one here.

Chris Smith cast the deciding vote against pay bonuses for our troops serving overseas, while voting annually for huge Congressional pay raises.

More after the jump.