Three pundits, four perspectives on motive: Over at the New York Times, Kate Zernike never quits.
Yesterday morning, she said it again. We have no idea why:
ZERNIKE (3/4/14): Court papers filed by a lawyer for Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager indicate that federal prosecutors are moving aggressively to investigate the role of the governor’s aides in the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal.We have no idea why the Times keeps acting like the motive for the lane closings has been established. Simply put, the emails to which Zernike refers do not establish the motive for this ridiculous act.
An agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation telephoned the campaign manager, Bill Stepien, in January, about a week after a cache of electronic messages were released showing that the governor’s allies planned to close access lanes to the bridge as a political act against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who had declined to endorse the governor for re-election despite assiduous courting from the campaign.
Other observers know this:
In one of her rare points of clarity, Rachel Maddow routinely notes that the motive has not been established. When she interviewed the Bergen Record’s Shawn Boburg on Tuesday night, he was careful to withhold judgment concerning motive:
BOBURG (3/4/14): Remember the context here. We’re talking about lane closures that, as far as we can tell, had a political motivation. The theory that’s been proposed is that this was about an endorsement, or the lack of an endorsement, by the Fort Lee mayor...To Boburg, the lack of that endorsement is a theory about motive, a theory that has been proposed. He didn’t even assert as a fact that the motivation was political at all.
We agree with Boburg’s approach. On a journalistic basis, we would say that nothing has been established about the motive for this ridiculous act.
That said, the analysts howled over something Maddow said last Thursday night, on one of the worst shows she has ever done about Fort Lee. In the midst of mountains of piddle, Maddow said this about motive:
MADDOW (2/27/14): The business of governance in New Jersey, epically and for way too long, has been the business of people who are in government helping themselves—helping themselves to public resources. People who are in government using the power that government gives them to steal what ought to be public resources to use for their own private ends.In that passage, Maddow notes that the closing of lanes “still has not been explained.” But how about what follows?
And the great political scandal in New Jersey that is afflicting the presidential hopes of that state’s current governor, Chris Christie, is not entirely about that age-old New Jersey problem. The bridge scandal is not a kleptocracy scandal, right? Nobody appears to have walked away with envelopes stuffed full of cash from those closed access lanes onto the George Washington Bridge. At least we haven’t heard about it yet.
The bridge scandal for the Chris Christie administration is about using a public resource. It is about using the world’s busiest bridge as a weapon to apparently inflict some sort of petty political vendetta which still has not been explained, but at least at this point we haven’t seen the profit motive.
“At least at this point, we haven’t seen the profit motive?” Might we respond to that?
At this point, we haven’t established any motive for the lane closings. But the possibility of a profit motive was raised early on by Steve Kornacki’s focus on the billion dollar development which is rising by the access lanes in question.
Did Kornacki’s citation of that development make any possible sense? This is one of the many questions Maddow has failed to explore as she feeds viewers a steady porridge of low-IQ piddle and pap.
Maddow loves her horror tales about David Samson. We can imagine a horror tale in which Samson directed this ludicrous effort with the profit motive in mind.
We have no idea if that’s what happened. But we also wouldn’t be so quick to move past the profit angle.
At present, there’s no reason to assume that this wasn’t a kleptocratic act. The kleptos stay in the picture!
For unknown reasons, the New York Times seems to think motive has been established. If Maddow would stop rehearsing her low-IQ horror stories, she could spend some time asking experts to evaluate the possibilities which have been put on the table.
Kate Zernike notwithstanding, the motive here has not been established. A possible financial motive was suggested long ago.
Has that motive been rejected? If so, could Maddow perhaps explain why? Or are we fated to watch her discuss that $1 rent again?