By M. Haberman
Chris Christie doesn’t support same-gender marriage. He vetoed a bill to legalize same-gender nuptials. He has repeatedly made clear where he stands.
But for a GOP base that already views his conservative bona fides warily, his decision not to go down swinging against a court decision that has legalized same-gender marriage in his state could prove problematic.
Christie is clearly banking on his image as a straight-talking pragmatist if he runs an almost certain presidential campaign in 2016, and his supporters see this as in keeping with that. They say he’s already made clear he’s against same-gender marriage.
Christie, who as a Northeastern Republican faces inherent geographic suspicion from with the base, asked the state’s acting attorney general to nix an appeal of the ruling that made same-gender marriage legal in New Jersey.
The reason, according to a statement from his office? He knew he’d lose, and, the implied point goes, what’s the point in going down swinging just to make a point, especially for Christie, a former U.S. attorney?
“Chief Justice Rabner left no ambiguity about the unanimous court’s view on the ultimate decision in this matter when he wrote, same-[gender] couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,'” the statement from his aides said.
The strategy is similar to the one Mitt Romney used last year – blasting “activist judges” – and, if Christie employs it, he’ll have to navigate more effectively than Romney , especially with same-gender marriage looming as a larger issue in the next two years thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings earlier this year.
Some Republicans privately said they believe that is was a mistake for Christie, who is going to be perceived as the second coming of Rudy Giuliani unless he makes clear that he is, in fact, more conservative than the pro-choice former New York City mayor . And fighting a lost cause would have made headlines, and made him look dedicated to the issue of preserving traditional marriage.
“It’s definitely not a profile in courage,” said Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage.
Read more at POLITICO.