On the rare occasions when Chris Christie isn’t starring in a piece of political theater, he's playing the part of chief critic.
Whatever: After headlining countless “town hall” extravaganzas, New Jersey’s governor surely knows his showbiz (see: Whitney Houston and the flag).
Consider as well Christie’s fancy footwork about marriage equality.
First, he steals the spotlight on the opening day of legislative hearings by simultaneously calling for a public referendum on gay marriage, and announcing his intention to veto any marriage equality measure that reaches his desk.
(Christie stages an out-of-town press conference to accomplish this sleight-of-hand with the help of his Republican co-star “Kip” Bateman, the senator from Somerset County, who upstages the marriage equality testimony in Trenton by announcing the governor’s announcement).
Later, after deriding the legislative process as “a bunch of theater” – see Christie sneering peerlessly in the video below! – he makes good on his veto promise. He also shows a certain amount of conviction, a trait with which his choice for president, Mitt Romney, appears to be severely unfamiliar.
The governor also pulls yet another trick from his apparently bottomless bag: His is a “conditional” veto, establishing a special “ombudsman” to oversee civil unions (let’s hear it for more government!)
The separate but unequal category into which the spousal relationships of gay citizens/taxpayers are relegated in New Jersey was formerly assailed by the right as toxic to the body politic.
But now civil unions find their greatest champions among…conservatives!
Perhaps this is merely a costume change.
Or maybe their views really have evolved, like those of individual Democrats and Republicans who reversed their positions and by so doing reversed the 2010 defeat of a marriage equality bill in New Jersey, and put the measure in front of the governor.
Part of politics, as Christie well knows, is theater.
And this show will go on. As it must.