As the election looms (two weeks away) the Democrats are going on the offensive against Governor Chris Christie.
Whatever position you hold on homosexual marriage or on judicial activism, it must be admitted that the timing of the suit to legalize marriages in the state--a decision Christie has always maintained should be determined by a voter referendum, not by legislation or judicial decision--has been well-timed to give the governor trouble. His administration appealed it but dropped the appeal in the face of a court that made it clear they were unanimously in favor of the change, and by now homosexual marriages are legal in the State of New Jersey, without reference to what its citizens believe. It forced the Governor to choose between abandoning his principles, thus alienating a substantial part of his conservative base, and acting on them, thus intensifying the degree to which homosexual marriage is an issue in the election.
On the other hand, the matter having been settled by the courts, it perhaps is no longer an issue. That Barbara Buono would fight for homosexual marriage in the state is now irrelevant; she has lost the issue by winning it.
It is not the only attack she has made. Perhaps hitting below the belt, she has published her own personal medical history, and asserted that she is fit for the job, implying that Christie, whose struggles with weight problems including lap band surgery have been well-publicized, is not. Christie has responded by offering to release his own medical records, which his office has not yet done, but also by saying that voters decide whether you are able to do the job by whether you do it, and have seen him performing it successfully under challenging conditions over the past four years.
Buono is also asserting that Christie will abandon the Governor's Mansion to run for President in 2016, and she will not. Christie's only comment on that issue is that he does not know what will happen in the next four years, and he has never run for President. He is still considered a leading contender on the national stage, but his decision to drop the hopeless fight in the courts against homosexual marriage has cost him significant credibility with the Republican base, which apparently likes uncompromising hopeless battles against incredible odds even when, as with the recent federal government shutdown, everyone knows they will lose and they do lose.
Christie presents himself as a moderate able to work in bipartisan efforts. Buono paints herself as an independent with no obligations to anyone and no relationships to maintain or promises to keep. She is consistently described in the press as "progressive", will not promise not to raise the state sales tax, and wants to spend much more money on social programs and education for which she has not provided a clear indication of how it will be funded.
The most recent polls still put Christie ahead by a substantial margin, twenty-four percentage points in a mid-month Monmouth University poll, twenty-nine in a more recent Quinnipiac University survey, twenty-six in a Rutgers-Eagleton poll. Buono leads narrowly among Democratic voters and even more narrowly among black voters, but all other demographics including women lean toward Christie, some of them very heavily, including independent voters. For several of these polls, his position is better than it was a month ago.