Slippery Chris

I’d missed Jim Braude’s July 17 interview with Chris Gabrieli until this afternoon. But now that I’ve watched it, I have to say: when talk turned to whether the Massachusetts Legislature should vote on the proposed amendment banning gay marriage, Gabrieli did not acquit himself well. In fact, he put on a veritable clinic in political shiftiness.

Check out the following exchange--and then take a look yourself to appreciate just how bad it was. (It's "Gabrieli on the Big Dig, other issues [Part 2]"; the debacle starts around 3:45.) A while back, a Phoenix editorial whacked another would-be Democratic governor--attorney general Tom Reilly--for "weasel words" on this same subject. But at least Reilly staked out an actual position!

Anyway, here it is, in all its horrible splendor:

Q. You’re for gay marriage; you support gay marriage. Last week the legislature in constitutional convention decided to postpone their decision on gay marriage, if there is to be one, until two days after the election. Was that the right decision?

A. I think that they wanted to take it out of this year’s cycle, I’m guessing. I understand their logic. Look, I think they’ve got to eventually vote on this. I hope that they will defeat it, because I think it is a bad idea for Massachusetts.

Q. You want them to vote it up or down?

A. I hope that they will get the votes to defeat it.

Q. Do you want them to vote it up or down? I mean, there’s a whole debate, as you know, in this commonwealth about whether or not the proponents--the anti-gay marriage people collected 170,000 signatures; they say, we’re entitled to the vote. If you’re governor-- let’s assume you’re elected on November 7. You won’t formally take office--a reporter puts a microphone in your face: “On November 9, there’s a constitutional convention. Should they be entitled to an up or down vote?”

A. My answer will be, As governor, I oppose this amendment. I will fight this amendment if the legislature votes it and gets it on eventually, I will work to have it defeated at the ballot box.

Q. But is that leadership? I mean, with all due respect, Chris, they will look to you as they look to Mitt Romney. Are you urging your fellow Democrats, overwhelmingly, in the legislature to vote on the merits, or essentially to do a parliamentary maneuver--

A. I’m urging them to--I’m urging them to vote against it. I don’t think that--

Q. So they should take an up or down vote.

A. I’m urging them to vote against it. I mean, Jim, the question about when they schedule votes and how they do their business--

Q. It’s not a schedule--it’s pretty straightforward. Should they take an up or down vote? A yes-no vote on the anti-gay marriage amendment?

A. I think that they will ultimately have to take that vote, yes. I do think they will have to do that. And I do understand why people feel they should. But I’m against this amendment, so I’m--I think it’s important that it not happen due to political pressure, that it not--I don’t think it’s the right thing for Massachusetts. I think we should not be putting reductions of civil rights--

Q. You don’t want to see it get 50 votes, but you think there should be an up-or-down vote, the signatories are entitled to that. Yes?

A. I believe eventually they will have that vote, yes.

Q. But do you believe they’re entitled to it? I mean, this is about leadership. It’s not about what passively--I hate to belabor it, but it’s a huge issue that has only been buried because of the Big Dig. Should they vote up or down on this thing?

A. I will leave that to the legislative leadership to decide how they conduct that side.

Q. Okay, so you don’t have a position.

A. Well, I’m running for governor. I’m not running for the legislature.

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