Applying Christie Standard to Benghazi

On one hand, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appears to be tearing a page out of the Hillary Clinton playbook when it comes to accountability. A headline about the burgeoning scandal known as ‘Bridgegate’ proclaims, ‘Taking Responsibility But Dodging Blame, Christie Takes His Time’. The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson echoed similar sentiment, writing, “The governor accepted full responsibility but not an ounce of blame”.

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Does this not sound like every member of the Obama administration that had some role in what happened in Benghazi on 9/11/12?

On the other hand, people are getting fired under Christie. No such thing happened with Obama and Benghazi. They hypocrisy from folks like Robinson when contrasting the handling of these two scandals would require the Heimlich maneuver if you tried to swallow it.

In short, ‘Bridgegate’ involves emails that reveals the involvement of Christie’s staffers in a decision to close lanes of traffic on a bridge that already makes bottlenecks blush. The staffers allegedly did so as a form of political payback against a mayor who wouldn’t endorse Christie’s candidacy for re-election. The pain was felt by innocent people. In one case, an elderly woman died in an ambulance who couldn’t navigate through the traffic.

The staffer at the center of the scandal appears to be Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff – until he fired her after a damning email penned by her was revealed. In it, Kelly gave the green light to a Port Authority official (hired by Christie) to wage political war using innocent people. The campaign manager for Christie – Bill Stepien – was also an apparent accessory.

Bridget Anne Kelly: Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff fired.

Bridget Anne Kelly: Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff fired.

The equivalent to Obama during the time of the Benghazi attacks would have been Jim Messina, with David Axelrod being the chief strategist.

In Benghazi, Hillary Clinton had a Deputy Chief of Staff who was caught red-handed thanks to emails; his name is Jake Sullivan. As details of the Benghazi coverup were coming forward last year, the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes revealed the extent of Sullivan’s involvement in the crafting of the demonstrably false talking points used by Susan Rice on five Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012. Sullivan was a central figure in not only changing those talking points but in coordinating much of the logistics relative to getting them to Rice.

Unlike, Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Sullivan not only wasn’t fired; he was promoted. So was Rice. After the 2012 elections, Sullivan took a job as foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. Rice circumvented the possibility of a contentious nomination hearing by taking the job as National Security Adviser, which doesn’t require Congressional approval.

Sullivan was also heavily involved – both before and after the Benghazi attack – in the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.

Jake Sullivan: Promoted after emails showed Benghazi talking points involvement.

Jake Sullivan: Promoted after emails showed Benghazi talking points involvement.

In both Bridgegate and Benghazigate, at minimum, a culture was created in which underlings felt empowered or justified in doing despicable things. In the case of Kelly, she thought it was acceptable to do material damage to people’s livelihood for reasons not involving them at all. In the case of Sullivan, he thought it acceptable to manipulate and hide the truth about what happened in Benghazi; he was rewarded for that. More broadly, a culture was created prior to the attack in Benghazi that allowed people to make decisions that left Americans in Benghazi exposed to grave harm, which ultimately befell them; four people lost their lives. That culture also allowed for an environment in which stand down orders were given to prevent rescue; no one was fired.

One month after the Benghazi attack, then Secretary of State Clinton claimed she was ‘responsible’ for the security of the diplomats in her employ. However, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing a few months later, while hiding behind the report of the Accountability Review Board (ARB), whose Chairman she herself appointed, said:

“The ARB (report) made very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined was set at the assistant secretary level and below.”

Let’s go back to Eugene Robinson for a moment. Here is what he had to say about Clinton’s performance at that hearing:

Clinton’s smooth and confident performance at Wednesday’s Senate and House committee hearings was fun to watch. When her would-be inquisitors asked serious questions, she gave serious answers. But when Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., full of bombast and faux outrage, accused the administration of initially misstating the nature of the Benghazi attack, she responded with table-pounding thunder: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

If any quote in the history of Congressional hearings exhibits a lack of responsibility, it’s one in which apathy over the deaths of people you are responsible for comes across loud and clear. Yet, Robinson seemed to praise Clinton for her indignation.

Conversely, have another look at what Robinson said about Christie:

“The governor accepted full responsibility but not an ounce of blame.”

The money quote from Robinson in terms of hypocritical irony comes a short time later. Keep in mind his praise for Hillary over her Benghazi testimony as well as the promotion of her Deputy Chief of Staff in contrast to Christie’s being fired:

If Christie is truly in the mood for soul-searching, asking how his aides could tell him such lies should be secondary. The more urgent question is what Christie might have said or done to make these loyal lieutenants conclude it would be appropriate — and a lot of fun — to torment the people of Fort Lee because of the mayor’s refusal to pledge fealty.

Let’s apply that standard to Clinton. The more urgent question is what Hillary might have said or done to make these loyal lieutenants conclude it would be appropriate – and a lot of fun – to put her Ambassador to Libya and others in danger by not keeping the Special Mission Compound secure?

Finally, those who understand the jihadist mindset are no fans of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He slandered them all when he mocked their concerns about creeping sharia law after he appointed Sohail Mohammed – a Muslim with disturbing ties – to a Superior Court judgeship in Passaic County, NJ in 2011. Said Christie, “I’m tired of dealing with the crazies”.

About one year later, Christie presided over an iftar dinner at the Governor’s mansion and praised Imam Mohammad Qatanani, a man with extremely disturbing ties to Jihadists and who has defended the Holy Land Foundation and Hamas.

Unlike the ‘crazies’ on the left, there is no double standard from where we sit.

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