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Oct 22 2013

How times have changed

Yesterday, as a result of a court ruling, same-sex couples were able to get married in New Jersey, making it the 14th state to do so, along with the District of Columbia. This is of course an important step forward for equality but I thought it a telling sign of how same-sex marriage has become normalized, at least in the major media, that the story they seemed to focus on was governor Chris Christie’s decision to not appeal the lower court decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court and what impact that move would have on his chances to win the 2016 Republican nomination for president, assuming that he decides to run.

We have not yet reached the stage when a state recognizing same-sex marriage is treated as ho-hum news but we seem to be getting there. Just as there are nowadays fewer mentions of the first woman/black/Hispanic/other minority to achieve something major, it is only a matter of time when same-sex marriage is taken as the norm and the news worthy event is when there is a move away from it.

But while on the topic of Christie’s presidential ambitions, I wonder if he thinks that with the Republican field so crowded on the extreme right wing (Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum) that he sees an opening for a Republican who is even slightly different whom the non-crazies can rally round. There are undoubtedly many Republicans, especially in the business community, who think that the party is headed for further loss of support with its dead-end policy of opposition to gay rights. While that may be his calculation, the experience of Jon Huntsman, who got crushed when he tried a similar strategy in 2012 of trying to be seen as the sane one, is not encouraging.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    jamessweet

    Huntsman didn’t get crushed because he was trying to be seen as the “sane one”, he got crushed because he didn’t have enough name recognition, could never get enough momentum, and had some oddball/”oddball” libertarian ideas. (I put oddball both with and without scare quotes, because I think some of those ideas really were loony, and some of them — like, you know, not perpetuating disastrous foreign invasions — are only considered “oddball” by the establishment) Christie might or might not be successful in the current climate, but the analogy to Hunstman isn’t really apt.

  2. 2
    eigenperson

    Christie’s actions on gay marriage will not be nearly as damaging to him as his praise of Obama in the wake of Sandy. The Know-Nothings will spin that as “handing the Presidency back to Obama”, probably with some effectiveness. His best chance is for multiple far-right candidates to split the opposition.

  3. 3
    keithb

    I am thinking that things will play out like last time. Each Wacko will take his/her turn in the spotlight, with the rabid-base showing a “Anybody but Christie” mentality. Meanwhile, Christie just has to be slow and steady to come out on top at the end with support from the non-rabid base.

  4. 4
    jamessweet

    I agree this seems the most likely outcome.

  5. 5
    Counter Apologist

    He’s already been tarred as a failure by the National Organization for Marriage. To quote “His surrender on marriage effectively surrenders any chance he might have had to secure the GOP nomination for president.”

    http://www.towleroad.com/2013/10/noms-brian-brown-slams-christie-on-gay-marriage-his-presidential-hopes-are-finished.html

    I’m a NJ resident, and while I’m voting Democrat there’s pretty much no chance Christie will lose. I have to admit that as a Democrat if I had to have a Republican governor, I’m glad it’s him compared to the rest of the lot.

  6. 6
    doublereed

    Christie is far more well known than Huntsman, and he certainly has that “above-it-all” attitude that people seem to like. And people still act as if Republicans understand fiscal/economic issues better (even though Christie has been an idiot in that regard). So he seems like a fierce contender.

    Buuuut Republicans have gone wacko. He’ll be deemed a RINO, Fox News might actively root against him. He hugged Satan after Satan helped out his state. I mean Obama. And he’s overweight, which might hurt him. Though I’m not really sure how that plays out politically.

    Honestly, Christie might stand a better chance if he switches to Democrat.

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