By Olivia Nuzzi
As noted here, six of LD11’s seven legislative candidates have come out in support of gay marriage. They include Democratic Senate candidate Ray Santiago, Democratic Assembly candidates Vin Gopal and Kathy Horgan, and independent Assembly candidate Dan Jacobson.
Also on the list are Republicans Senator Jennifer “Romney” Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, both of whom pledged – Angelini after significant hesitation – on September 18th during an interview with Garden State Equality at Monmouth University, to override Governor Christie’s veto of a same sex marriage bill should the opportunity arise in the next legislature.
Conveniently, Caroline Casagrande, Beck and Angelini’s running mate, could not attend the event at Monmouth because she was busy with a “family commitment.” I suspect her family committed to travel far, far away from anyone asking her about gay marriage, an issue she has refused to take a stance on.
One of the many jobs of a public figure is to know a thing or two about public relations. Everybody, public figure or otherwise, knows that “no comment” is, more or less, always a confirmation. Evidently, no one forwarded that memo to Caroline Casagrande who has adopted a strict policy of “Don’t Ask me about gay marriage and I won’t Tell You a bunch of evasive nonsense.”
Her refusal – while inexcusable – is understandable, given that without question, there are a significant number of voters in newly formed LD11 who are not going to agree with, accept or respect a politician who opposes gay marriage. However, no one can respect a coward. A coward, as it stands now, is precisely what Caroline Casagrande is.
If you want to be a social conservative, go ahead and be one – your base will revere you for it, and your ideological enemies will have no choice but to respectfully disagree.
By asking the “tough” questions that anybody who knows anything about the fight for marriage equality already knows the answer to, she is doing the best she can to make this seem complicated. “What about protections for religious institutions?” she challenged, as if the Big Bad Gays are planning to storm into Sunday mass to force the congregation to Vogue in unison.
Ms. Casagrande is attempting to slide under the radar. She is hoping that this massive insult to the intelligence of those that she hopes to represent goes unnoticed. In adopting dishonesty as her policy, she has succeeded in fooling no one, she has merely made a fool of herself.
You could call her running mate, Senator Jennifer “Romney” Beck, many things (a lobbyist or a liar, for instance), but a cowardly ideologue she is not. Ms. Beck at least had the guts to flip-flop as soon as LGBT-supportive Asbury Park and Ocean Grove became her problem. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer the audacious displays of dishonesty to the panicked whispers… I’m a romantic, what can I say?
Beyond embarrassing herself with her stunning lack of bravery and admission (however fabricated) that she cannot comprehend a simple issue, Ms. Ummmmm? also managed to miss an opportunity to follow the wide path of Declare and Defend set by her Messiah, Governor Christie. Aw shucks, what a shame.
We elect people who we believe possess the skills necessary to handle the many issues that NJ faces at once. If Ms. Casagrande can only handle one issue at a time, perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate her competence to serve. I say this only because I care about her well-being. After all, it would be cruel to continue to overwhelm her with the many complex legislative responsibilities that rest on her shoulders in Trenton.
Olivia Nuzzi is a student from Middletown and an intern for the District 11 Democratic campaign. MMM welcomes her fair and biased contributions.