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COMMENTARY: Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, playing politics instead of governing

Nothing worse than watching ambitious politicians putting agenda ahead of governing, or doing the right thing.

Americans witnessed that this week when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blathered about green eggs and Darth Vader during his faux “filibuster” against the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, even though he knew he couldn’t muster the votes to stop it in the U.S. Senate. After his 23 hours of grandstanding, designed to make himself a household name at any cost and to snuggle up to the Tea Party with the goal of winning the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Cruz then turned around and voted FOR the Senate bill that stripped out the House attempt to defund Obamacare.

Also this week, another shameless hustler seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination played up to the bigoted members of his political party. Shortly after Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled on Friday that “same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey constitution,” Republican Gov. Chris Christie declared that the state would appeal the judge’s order.

This is the same Chris Christie who on Feb. 17, 2012 vetoed the New Jersey Legislature’s passage of a marriage-equality bill, saying that he preferred to put the issue to a public vote. Critics bashed Christie for defying the legislature’s vote, ignoring public opinion polls show a sizable majority of New Jersey voters in favor of marriage equality, and pandering to the right-wingers in the Republican Party who oppose LGBT rights. In addition, Christie was chastised for wanting to put basic human rights up for a vote.

No matter what happens, Christie finds himself on the wrong side of history … and his actions could backfire against him. History will not be kind to him when all is said and done.

Christie, a Catholic, could take a lesson from Pope Francis, who recently urged the Church to stop its obsession with social issues such as same-gender marriage and abortion and return to a focus on human rights, hunger, poverty and other issues that improve humankind.

But Christie’s vow to appeal Judge Jacobson’s ruling will only delay the inevitable in New Jersey. He is employing the same despicable tactics of California’s Proposition 8 supporters, using the courts to postpone same-gender marriage. As we saw with the Prop 8 case, the various appeals can keep the courts busy for years. It shows that Christie could care less about the thousands of New Jersey residents who are gay and lesbian and who wish to marry and build a life together.

Christie fears the right-wing of his party, so he clearly is playing politics with the lives of real people, gay and lesbian couples who want to marry. And since he is standing for re-election as governor, Christie risks alienating many supporters in his own party in New Jersey who are standing on the right side of history. But Christie has cast his eyes further down the road toward the 2016 presidential race, and so instead of following the wishes of the New Jersey Legislature or obeying the ruling of a judge, the governor is willing to throw the rights of a minority under the bus as a way to further his personal political ambitions.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Legislature has vowed to override Christie’s veto later this year, after the November elections. Christie probably is secretly rooting for that to happen, since it would give him cover with the haters in his political party.

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.