Just days after Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire made history by joyfully signing Washington's marriage equality bill into law, Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey cynically vetoed his state's gay marriage legislation, because, as one politics professor told Bloomberg News: "For someone who has national aspirations in the Republican party right now, I think there’s not much choice but to take this position."
And had Rob McKenna been governor at the time, you can be sure he would have vetoed Washington's gay marriage legislation too.
Don't kid yourself. For all his pretensions of moderation, if elected, McKenna will govern from the right. Because he has to. You see, McKenna has national aspirations too. If both he and Obama win in November, McKenna will be instantly catapulted into the ranks of GOP rising stars, a top tier candidate for the presidential nomination in 2016.
I kid you not. That's how these things work. A Republican wins the governor's mansion in reliably blue Washington for the first time in 32 years? Pundits and power brokers will take notice. And if McKenna wants to feed these fantasies, he has to cater to the national Republican base. Just like Christie.
And that means if McKenna is elected governor, whatever his personal beliefs and passions, gays, lesbians, women, minorities, immigrants, labor members, and everybody else Republicans consider to be the other, better watch out.