During a speech to the California delegation at the Republican National Convention this morning, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie teased Golden Staters for electing Jerry Brown as their governor (although, presumably, none of the GOP die-hards in attendance had much to do with it.)
“California made the bad choice by going with an old retread,” he told the crowd, adding, “Let me tell you this – I cannot believe you people elected Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman. … Jerry Brown. Jerry Brown? I mean, he won the New Jersey presidential primary over Jimmy Carter when I was 14 years old.”
Mr. Christie then went on to mock Mr. Brown for telling him that he didn’t want to raise taxes, and so instead would put an initiative to raise income and sales taxes on the November ballot.
“Man, that’s leadership, isn’t it?” Mr. Christie said.
But Mr. Christie isn’t afraid to lean on ballot initiatives himself when trying to avoid his own messy political situations.
Earlier this year, the legislature in New Jersey voted to legalize same-sex marriage. The governor vetoed the bill–not necessarily because he was opposed to the practice (although he is)–but because he thinks it is far too important of an issue to be taken out of the hands of the voters. Instead, he told LGBT advocates to gather the necessary signatures to put it on the ballot:
“I think this is not an issue that should rest solely in my hands, or the hands of the Senate President or the Speaker or the other 118 members of the Legislature,” he said. “Let’s let the people of New Jersey decide what is right for the state.”
Christie made the announcement after a town hall in Bridgewater as the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the issue in Trenton.
“Let’s make sure that political maneuvering is not what judges this and let’s make sure this is not someone just trying to have fun and create a campaign issue,” he said. “The institution of marriage if too serious to be treated like a political football.”
So far, they have failed to take him up on it, and unlike Mr. Brown’s tax measure, marriage equality continues to languish in New Jersey.
Mr. Christie is quite the center of attention at the RNC this year, as he is slated to give the keynote address later in the week, an address in which he is expected to tear apart Barack Obama’s economic record.