RUSH: Yeah, I'm going through the audio sound bite roster here that Cookie gave me. Did you know that I am part of the Christie story? I was. I was part of the Christie story on the cable news networks all night last night. Yeah. Wait 'til you hear it. I spent three minutes on it yesterday.
Anyway, greetings, my good friends, welcome, and Rush Limbaugh back at you, three hours of broadcast excellence from the distinguished and prestigious Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. The telephone number is 800-282-2882. The e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.
So Christie's fired a couple people now. Back on December 23rd, he was first asked about this on some radio town hall meeting. He was first asked about this, and he told people then that his staff assured him there was nothing to it, didn't know anything about it, nobody knew, there was nothing to it. He expanded on that a little bit today when the story began to take off. He told his staff (paraphrasing), "Look, you got one hour. I'm gonna have you debriefed by somebody, counsel in my office. You got one hour."
He said that he feels totally betrayed. That people in his office lied to him about it, lied to his counsel about it, and so a couple people have been fired as of today. And he spent, now going over an hour with the media in New Jersey, and the media turned on this guy just like they turned on McCain. It was predictable. He's getting questions that presidents used to get. He hasn't, for example, been asked, "Tell us, Governor, what do you like about the job? What are the surprises that you didn't expect? What is your day like?" He hasn't gotten anything like that.
These have been probing, pointed questions that are rooted in a media that doesn't believe him, or is acting like they don't believe him. They're going full bore, and he's bearing up under it well. But it is, nevertheless, it is the Obama defense. "I didn't know any of this was going on." Now, there's a lot to say about this. We're spending now over an hour press conference on lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. We haven't spent this much time on a press conference on four Americans dying in Benghazi.
We haven't spent this much time on the IRS scandal targeting the Tea Party.
We haven't spent this much time with questions to the president about these things. Yeah, there have been congressional hearings. But we haven't had anything like this degree of interest in any of the Obama scandals. They even got F. Chuck Todd from the White House demanding that Christie fire somebody. If he doesn't fire somebody, then he's gonna be in real trouble. Well, Obama hasn't been firing anybody. The media hasn't been demanding that Obama's heads roll in his staff for some of the giant, I mean, genuine screw ups that have taken place.
But, folks, there's something bigger going on than the details here, that is extremely troubling. I was thinking this last night, a little bit into this morning, and I was trying to find a way to explain exactly what I was thinking in a brief, penetrating, and cogent way. And it is rooted in the fact that, regardless who knew what, look at what actually happened here. In an effort for political payback, somebody in the governor's office decided to inconvenience the people of New Jersey and New York, particularly Fort Lee.
So you had the governor's office, somebody there deciding to get even with another politician, to not actually do anything to the politician, but to make life tougher for citizens. It was citizens inconvenienced here in Fort Lee, and in some cases there are medical emergencies involved... The mayor of Fort Lee wasn't particularly harmed by anything that happened here. I mean, he was the target, but the payback was to inconvenience us, or the people that live in that region.
I came across a column today, a piece by Carol Platt Liebau at Ricochet.com. And it just nails what I was thinking about last night and this morning. I got this at about 11:30 this morning. "The Problem with Christie's 'Bridgegate,'" and she starts this way. "It's too early to tell whether -- or how much -- the 'Bridgegate' scandal... is going to damage Chris Christie's presidential ambitions.
"To me, the matter is eerily reminiscent of the IRS scandal involving systematic harassment of conservative individuals and groups in the run-up to the 2012 election. (Indeed, it would be amusing to see how the press would respond were Governor Christie to proffer, verbatim, the same excuses presented by President Obama.)" Which he's essentially done. "I didn't know. I asked, and they lied to me, and I didn't know what was going on."
Here's the difference, though. If Chris Christie were a Democrat -- and I mean this, folks. I'm interrupting the Carol Platt Liebau thing. This is not part of what I was gonna tell you. This is another thought. If Chris Christie were a Democrat, I'm telling you right now the press would be celebrating the guy. They'd be celebrating the toughness and the no-nonsense manner in which this guy is dealing with political opponents. Even if the mayor of Fort Lee was another Democrat, it doesn't matter, they wouldn't be trying to damage Chris Christie at all. This would end up being a resume enhancement because this is a guy who goes after his enemies. If he was a Democrat, they'd be praising him.
This is the kind of thing they would want him to do against conservatives and Republicans. But he's not a Democrat yet, and he hasn't announced for the presidency, but everybody assumes he's going to. And so the press -- some people are surprised that they've turned on him this quickly. Well, it's not that they decided to turn on him, it's they've got the opportunity here. He is, in many people's eyes, the Republican front-runner for the nomination. There are plenty of Republican establishment types that want Christie to be the nominee, that think he can be the Northeastern moderate Republican that can finally win the White House.
A lot of the Republican consultant class thinks that Christie is the answer. A lot of the inside-the-Beltway Republican establishment types think he's the answer, because he's tough, and he handles the media well, but he's not conservative. So he's got a lot of support. And the media knows this. So here's a prominent Republican that the Republican Party establishment has invested high hopes, so let's do what we can to damage him. But here's the overall point.
Let me give you three quotes from Carol Platt Liebau today, and we've mentioned this before. My focus is always... Do the practice on you, on the audience, and the American people the large. "[W]hether Governor Christie or President Obama were personally aware of the abuses perpetrated on their behalves is irrelevant. On some level, they set a tone in their administrations that signaled that such hardball would be tolerated," that a culture had been established of get your enemies.
Obama: "They bring a knife, we bring a gun! I want you to get in their faces and punch them!" You know that any Democrat who goes out and rips Republicans to shreds is loved and adored by the media. So her first point -- and it's right on the money -- is whether they, Obama or Christie, personally were involved (and in both cases they're say, "I didn't know. I had no idea that this was going on, and I'm embarrassed'), the point is, they didn't have to know.
Like I said in the IRS scandal. You know, during the Obama-IRS scandal, they were targeting the Tea Party. You heard it. There were people who called here and said, "Rush there's gotta be a smoking gun. There's gotta be. Either Obama called the IRS people the White House or there's gotta be a memo. There's gotta be a smoking gun." I said, "There won't be. Obama put people in there who are going to do his bidding without having to be told. That's why they're chosen."
It's like when the Van Jones discovery was made, that a communist is in hiding and waiting in the White House. People called, "How did this get past Obama? How did he not know?" He knew, and Van Jones was in there for a reason. Eric Holder is over at the Department of Justice for a reason. Obama doesn't have to pick up the phone and tell Holder what to do. He knows Holder is Obama. The IRS people are Obama.
They're going to do what Obama wants done because that's who they were before they were appointed. Obama knows who his friends are. He knows who his appointees are. He knows who his soul mates are. He knows. He puts them in these possessions. He doesn't have to send them instructions. He doesn't have to have a meeting with them. They know what he wants and he knows what they will do because he knows that they will do what he wants, so they get put in these positions.
That's the culture, and the point here in this case Christie and the lane closures in Fort Lee or Obama and the IRS or Obama and Obamacare or Obama Fast and Furious, Obama Benghazi, whatever, whether they were personally aware was irrelevant because they had established a culture in their regimes that said this kind of hardball is tolerated. This kind of hardball's okay. This kind of hardball, in fact, gets rewarded.
The second point here is that something about the IRS scandal and the bridge problem does seem new to politics, despite the learned media people discussing it as politics-as-usual. "Oh, Rush, come on. You know, there payback all the time. An elected official will pay back people that didn't run with him, didn't support him. It happens all the time, Rush." Yeah, but the point is this is new, and the reason it's new is also why it is profoundly troubling.
Yeah, politicians always played hardball with each other. Now, however, there seems to be a new willingness to do it, play hardball by involving innocent civilians as the pawns. Now, the Obama hardball, the IRS, was targeted at conservatives, Tea Party people. They were denied tax-exempt status that had a dramatic impact on their ability to campaign. They're average Americans. They're civilians, and not in politics. Certainly not electoral politics.
So the Regime, in practicing political payback, was going after citizens, and here in New Jersey, it wasn't really the mayor of Fort Lee that was inconvenienced; it was the citizens of Fort Lee. The inconveniencing of the citizens of Fort Lee in terms of the political payback, the political hardball -- using civilians, innocent citizens as pawns in this political payback game -- is indeed troubling.
As Ms. Liebau writes here, "That's a sign of a political or governing elite that no longer has respect for the citizens it's supposed to represent; one that has forgotten -- or no longer believes -- that the people are its masters, not its servants. Such an attitude is the sign of a government that has grown too big and too powerful. It signals a threat to liberty. And it has no place in a healthy, free country." I think that is the larger point here that I think makes an abundant amount of sense.
There's an utter disregard for the people -- economic policy, Obamacare -- who matter the least in all this. American people. That's what has people like the Tea Party and you and me paying attention. That's what has us, among many other things, so irritated (and in some cases, frightened). But then let's bring back into this a sense of proportion. If we're gonna say that lane closures to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee are a scandal and that a Christie staffer did this, for whatever reason...
We would assume because the staffer thinks that Christie wanted this to happen or the staffer thought, "Well, this is my job. This is how I'm gonna gain points." That's what I mean about the culture, but which is the bigger scandal, this staffer who's been fired using the public as pawns for petty political payback against the mayor of Fort Lee, or the scandal of Obama using our soldiers in Afghanistan as pawns for his political ambitions, or Obama and Hillary using our soldiers in Iraq for their political ambitions?
According to Bob Gates' book, Hillary and Obama's opposition to Iraq was purely political, and Obama's portrayed as a guy doesn't really believe in the Afghanistan war that he escalated. So he's sending Americans into battle, potentially to die, in a mission that he doesn't even support, isn't even behind. The lane closure thing in New Jersey, it's a big deal, because it is the indication of a mind-set. But does it even compare to some of the scandals that have come out of the White House?
RUSH: Look, let's build on the point for just a second, and let me ask you to remember the government shutdown. Remember what some of the things Obama decided to close? The World War II Memorial. World War II vets who had planning for the only time in their lives to go visit it were denied, because it had been shut down, and yet Obama opened it for a group of supporters for one day. I forget who they were and what the purpose was, but it didn't have to be shut down.
Obama took the occasion of the government shutdown, and in his way of paying back his political enemies, he inconvenienced the American people. It wasn't just the World War II Memorial. It was any number of places. The Grand Canyon was shut down, and the sleigh ride at Jellystone Park, all of these things, and the Regime did this on purpose to inconvenience the people. That's the point that all this political payback is taking now. It's the people of the country being dumped on, the people of the country who are not deserving of any political payback.
The bridge closures, the lane closure in Fort Lee are the same thing -- and what that means, what that indicates is just exactly how little esteem elected officials actually have for us.
RUSH: I remember what it was. They closed down the World War II Memorial, the Regime did, Obama did, during the government shutdown, and they opened it back up. The DC Mall. They opened it for a pro-amnesty rally, remember? Largely illegal aliens showed up for the pro-amnesty rally. But it was closed to World War II vets. Now, let's play a little game here. Based on what's... Christie, by the way, is still talking. His press conference has gone longer than the lanes were closed.
Let's do a little game here. Let's reverse. If Obama were governor of New Jersey and it is lane closure controversy had happened while he was governor, and he's doing a press conference, he would go out there and say that the charges were all politically motivated. He would find somebody to demonize in the opposition party and say he didn't know anything about it, he hadn't had time, he's got far more important things to do than worry about this, and he's gonna get to the bottom of it.
He'd talk about how this is just sad, this is politics-as-usual, "This is the kind of stuff I'm fighting. This is the kind of stuff that's been going on since my predecessor, and I vow and I promise I'm gonna get to the bottom of this! I'm gonna make sure this kind of stuff stops because this is not who we are." If Christie... Based on his performance today, based on what he's saying, if Christie were president, and the IRS scandal happensed and some of the other things, he would fire whoever was involved in the IRS scandal.
He would dismiss Kathleen Sebelius immediately. He would release the truth on Benghazi, and he would take Pelosi and Reid to the woodshed for the Affordable Care Act, based on what he's done today. Heads have rolled. He's fired people. He'd say, "Yeah, I've been personally let down. These people lied to me. They told me everything was ready to go," and Obama says, "Everybody told me the website was ready to go," but no heads have rolled. Let's have some audio sound bites of Governor Christie. Now, this was a long time ago. This was over an hour ago. He's been speak an hour here, continuing to answer questions from the press. We just have three short bites here.
In the first one he apologizes, says he was humiliated by all this.
CHRISTIE: I come out here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey. I apologize to the people of Fort Lee, and I apologize to the members apologizes of the state legislature. I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team.
RUSH: He says was he humiliated because some members of his staff were so stupid.
CHRISTIE: I would never have come out here four or five weeks ago and made a joke about these lane closures if I had ever had an inkling that anyone on my staff would have been so stupid as to be involved, and then so deceitful as to just to not disclose the information of their involvement to me, when directly asked by their superior.
RUSH: He's referring to a radio show, town hall meeting that he had participated in on December 23rd on New Jersey radio. He made a joke about this when it first came up, when he was first asked about it. The joke had to do with, "Oh, yeah, I've been out there. I've been moving the cones myself," and what he said here is, "I woulda never made a joke about this, if I had known, if I had an inkling that anybody on my staff would have been so stupid to be involved in this."
So he's making it very plain here that he didn't know -- and furthermore, when he asked his staff, they all lied to him. Do you know that the US attorney is looking into this now? Oh, yeah. The US attorney for the district of New Jersey is looking into this. There is a federal inquiry. In fact, here's the headline at the Huffing and Puffington Post: "Federal Inquiry into Chris Christie Bridge Scandal Faces Uphill Battle."
So that's the Chris Christie bridge scandal, and they admit here that a federal inquiry faces "an uphill battle." But the Huffing and Puffington Post -- which means all of the left, take your pick, Salon.com, whatever -- the lunatics on the left all now believe that there is massive federal/state corruption going on that Christie is involved in, and they are now on the warpath to prove it. They want a federal investigation into this, and the US attorney is... They're gonna look into it.
They're looking into it. Well, this is who the Democrats are. I'm not kidding. We've got lane closures, and the left is demanding a federal investigation, and the US attorney district of New Jersey, that office is alluding to the fact that they just might prosecute him. Felony traffic jamming? I don't know what it is. Anyway, Christie very clear here. "I didn't know about it. They lied to me." So what he's done now is, he's made a target.
If anybody can find a tweet, a Facebook post, an e-mail that indicates Christie did know about, then he's toast. (interruption) Well, here's the thing. You know, the NSA knows. The NSA. The White House probably knows. I mean, the White House and the NSA, I mean, they read my e-mail, they monitor this program. Think they're not listening to what Christie's e-mails are saying and so forth? So we will see. Here's the next bite. It's Christie, governor of New Jersey, basically saying he's not a bully...
CHRISTIE: I am not a focus group-tested, blow-dried candidate or governor. I think you asked me a question after the election, "Are you willing to change your style in order to appeal to a broader audience?" and I think I said, no, because I am who I am. But I am not a bully.
RUSH: "I am not a bully." Well, closing the lanes, the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee is a bully tactic, but again, it's against the people. How did it really hurt the mayor of Fort Lee? That's the much larger concern here is how these elected officials are exacting their payback, and that payback that they're engaging in with each other manifests itself as massive inconvenience or violation of bunch of circumstances against us, just as Obama's IRS scandal.