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CPAC Snubs Chris Christie

Chris Christie 3

At least going back to 2010, the American Conservative Union, the group that runs and organizes the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, have invited New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to come speak at the conference. He had become, after all, a superstar on the right, and indeed nationwide, because of his blunt style of communicating and the success he’d had in beginning to turn New Jersey’s budget process around after inheriting a multi-billion dollar deficit from Jon Corzine. Christie hasn’t attended in the past, largely because the conference’s traditional February date came right in the middle of his state’s annual budget process, and, as he said, his job was to be back in Trenton getting that taken care of. This year, CPAC moved it’s date to mid-March, but Christie still won’t be there, because he’s among the only potential 2016 Presidential Candidate not to be invited:

Just months after their losses in the 2012 election, Republicans and conservatives are setting a vibrant — and crowded — stage at next month’s closely watched political cattle call.

The three-day gathering of the Conservative Political Action Committee, which begins March 14th just outside Washington, is expected to feature more than two dozen high-profile Republicans, including former Gov. Mitt Romney.

At least eight potential presidential contenders will be speaking at CPAC: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

(…)

One potential 2016 hopeful who won’t be there, however — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Despite being the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention and having a sky-high approval rating in the Garden State, CPAC officials told First Read Christie was not invited.

Christie rankled some on the right with his public support for President Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy in the weeks leading up to the 2012 election.

You’ll also recall that Christie railed against House Republicans when, in the literal final hours of the 112th Congress, they failed to act on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that had been pending in Congress since shortly after the storm hit. For both of these events, he was relentlessly attacked by hard-core conservatives, many of whom have essentially written him out of the movement for his perceived apostasies. In the meantime, of course, Christie is scoring job approval ratings in the 70s, has managed to scare off New Jersey’s high profile Democrats from challenging him, and appears headed for an easy re-election. Moreover, as Allahpundit notes, the ACU has invited Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush to speak, both of whom are also not exactly beloved by the hard-core right. Indeed, this year they’ve even invited progressive MSNBC host Chris Hayes to be part of a debate. To his credit, Hayes responded to the invitation by saying that he’ll attend if the ACU reverses his decision to bar gay conservative group GOProud 

In all honestly, I doubt Christie cares much about the lack of a CPAC invitation. Indeed, given his past responses to invitations it’s by no means guaranteed that he’d accept an invitation this year to begin with. For one thing, he’s most definitely not campaigning as a hard-right conservative in his re-election bid so it’s unclear what an appearance at CPAC would do other than provide fodder for his political opponents. For another, the kind of speech that Christie would give isn’t the kind of speech that would go over well among the CPAC crowd to begin with and, if he does run for president in 2016, he’s not going to be the candidate of the right wing of the party to begin with.

Like banning GOProud, not inviting Christie to speak at CPAC says much about the state of the conservative movement. As with the Republican Party itself, the movement is becoming more close-minded an much more heavily ideological. Even the slightest deviation from orthodoxy is seen as anathema, and when confronted with someone like Christie who understands the difference between being a leader and being an ideologue, their reactions are incredibly predictable. It makes most conservatives gatherings rather boring, to be honest, which is why i spent the last two CPAC’s socializing and hanging out the bar more often than actually listening to speakers. And it’w why I won’t be going this year. I’ve heard all of this before, I don’t need to hear it again, and I certainly don’t need to hear from the likes of Ted Cruz again.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Pharoah Narim says:

    Gotta give Christie credit. Being the first to leap off a burning luxury liner is gonna play out good in the long term for his political career

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  2. legion says:

    Like banning GOProud, not inviting Christie to speak at CPAC says much about the state of the conservative movement.

    Yup. Take the single most across-the-board popular Republican office-holder in the country, and treat him like dirt. This is a snapshot of a political party choosing to become more insular, small-minded, and ultimately irrelevant to the nation at large. I cannot wait to see who they trot across the stage to be their anointed early-runners for 2016…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  3. David M says:

    Christie certainly won’t win any friends at CPAC with his latest decision to accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    This isn’t hard to understand: When Christie broke on the national scene, hardcore GOPers loved him not for his policies – but because he was a jerk. He sure told THEM! Now they’re looking harder at his policies and finding, to their dismay, Christie has the beliefs a Republican politician must have to get elected in the Northeast.

    Speaks volumes about today’s right wing that one of the most-admired qualities in a politician is being an asshole. No wonder they’re so fond of Ted Cruz.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 0

  5. anjin-san says:

    Christie seems to have some interest in actually governing. Clearly, that disqualifies him as a conservative.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  6. swbarnes2 says:

    Are you guys going to remember this when disgusting quotes from CPAC start circulating?

    Because one can’t both argue that CPAC exclusion is something of significance, and argue that CPAC are a bunch of nutty fringers, and that it is wrong to judge conservatives by the revolting ideas that will be voiced and amplified there. But you guys will be sooooo tempted to make that argument anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  7. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @swbarnes2:
    False choice. What we’re looking for are signs the Republican Party realizes it has problems, let alone has ideas how to fix them. Blowing off one of the most popular GOP governors in America is NOT a way out of the woods.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  8. matt bernius says:

    Color me not the least bit surprised. In fact, I’m more surprised they ever invited him.

    Christie has never been a populist conservative — essentially what CPAC has been about for a while. Period.

    That’s also why the possibility of his being a presidential candidate is a non-starter. At best, Christie will either become a senator or the National Chair.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. Mr. Replica says:

    Christie seems to have some interest in actually governing. Clearly, that disqualifies him as a conservative.

    Exactly.

    The best part about this, Christie is the best chance for the GOP to take back the White House in the next ten years. If the “conservatives” want to treat him like a RINO because he actually wants to govern, or that he happens to be a governor of a blue state…well, that’s on them.

    Who will conservatives turn to in 2016?
    Bachmann? Perry? Paul? Rubio? Cruz?

    Might as well just call the election now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  10. J-Dub says:

    He’s a RINO! (and that’s not a fat joke, or maybe it is)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. Tsar Nicholas says:

    The people who run CPAC belong to a very cocooned and loopy demographic. It’s not quite at the level of the John Birch Society nutters. But it’s sort of the William Buckley crowd meets the Rush Limbaugh crowd: Very white, affluent, extremely suburban, and extraordinarily WASP-Y. Country clubs and private schools. These folks don’t get out much. Drop them into a barrio in Southern California and they’d faint. Literally.

    A guy like Christie instantly can become persona non grata to the CPAC crowd. Christie attended Seton Hall, not Yale. Christie was a federal prosecutor, not a talking head or a guy who inherited a business. Christie praised Obama. That’s verboten under all circumstances in various coffee klatches of the right.

    The CPAC folks want to “send messages” and “prove points.” It’s a Bizarro World approach to politics, for which the greatest irony is that they can’t grasp the irony.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 1

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tsar, I just gave you a thumbs up for that. You might want to check and see if you are running a fever.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

    Yeah, those guys will turn the trick. (phrasing not accidental)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. matt bernius says:

    @Mr. Replica:

    The best part about this, Christie is the best chance for the GOP to take back the White House in the next ten years. If the “conservatives” want to treat him like a RINO because he actually wants to govern, or that he happens to be a governor of a blue state…well, that’s on them. – See more at: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/cpac-snubs-chris-christie//#comments

    Unless there is a total transformation of the party, there is a zero… I mean 0… Talking Z-E-R-O percent chance of Christie getting the nomination in 2016 or even 2020.

    He’s got all of the same problems of Mitt Romney — namely being a North East Pragmatic Republican — without Romney’s drive to reinvent himself for his audience.

    The Republicans party is not prepared for another “pragmatic” or “mavricky” Republican to run. And the talk radio crowd, and with them a large subsection of the base, will never fall in line behind him.

    Hence why party chair is his future. Entirely different electorate for that position. And a real chance for Christie to transform the party.

    Or the Senate.

    But as a Northeastern pragmatist, I’d rather see Christie as party head.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. An Interested Party says:

    Drop them into a barrio in Southern California and they’d faint. Literally.

    Well at least they have something in common with you…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  16. al-Ameda says:

    Let’s see: public approval rates over 70%, actually worked well with the Administration to get disaster assistance during Super Storm Sandy – no wonder he’s not invited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. Mr. Replica says:

    @matt bernius:

    — without Romney’s drive to reinvent himself for his audience.

    That’s certainly a very nice way to put it.

    Whatever Christie decides to do or run for, he is the type of politician conservatives should be trying to attract.
    You are right tho, at this moment in time he probably wouldn’t stand a chance. He doesn’t live in the “If they are not with us, they are against us” world that one has to inhabit to win over the base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Pharoah Narim says:

    Wow Tsar: A broken clock CAN be right! Now lets work on the daily part…. :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @David M:

    Christie certainly won’t win any friends at CPAC with his latest decision to accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

    They’ll all end up accepting it. First they have to posture and denounce and hurt some innocent people. Phase Two they accept. Phase Three they pretend it was their idea all along. That’s the Republican way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  20. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Very white, affluent, extremely suburban, and extraordinarily WASP-Y…These folks don’t get out much. Drop them into a barrio in Southern California and they’d faint. Literally.

    So, basically they’re…what…? You? (Or are you trying to channel Doug this time?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  21. Hal 10000 says:

    So this Christie guy is taking on unions, balancing the budget, keeping spending under control, building a good business environment and is very popular in a blue state? Bah! Who needs that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. Sejanus says:

    @Mr. Replica: Does Cruz being born on Canadian soil disqualifies him from running for president? I know that some raised a stink about McCain’s presidential campaign because he was born on the Panama Canal Zone, a US territory, rather than in the United States. If this is problematic than I’m sure that being born in Canada is even more so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Andre Kenji says:

    @Sejanus: Disqualifies. Unlike John McCain, Ted Cruz Credo was not born in a US base or US territory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  24. matt bernius says:

    @Mr. Replica:

    Whatever Christie decides to do or run for, he is the type of politician conservatives should be trying to attract.

    You think that. And I, generally speaking*, think that.

    But chances are we both tend to lean to the *left* on a lot of issues that core to movement/populist conservatives.

    * – note that for all the love recently heaped on Christie by the left and left leaning centrists, he’s also done a number of things that are not particular progressive (i.e. vetoing the Gay Marriage Bill, attacks on teachers, etc). On many counts he’s better — or at least more pragmatic — than those to his (far) Right. But, that still leaves a lot to be desired.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? One would have to work real hard to find a group that is less relevant to politics than CPAC. The idea that conservatives activist have any influence on policy, governance, or issues is laughable.

    It is only a matter of time until Christie does an Arlen Specter heel-turn and becomes a Democrats. Of course, such a change his long term political forture. I wonder if Christie is smart enough to know that the only reason that he is getting good press is that he is the Republican who the MSM can be used to attack other Repubilcans. Christie should ask John McCain about that role in the media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Disqualifies. Unlike John McCain, Ted Cruz Credo was not born in a US base or US territory.

    Wrong.

    Although the Constitution is notoriously vague on exactly what “natural born” really means–and the issue has never been fully tested in the courts in relation to presidential eligibility–the vast preponderance of legal opinion since the 1790s supported George Romney’s constitutional right to run, holding that a person born overseas to at least one U.S. citizen is eligible.

    Statutes have consistently defined a natural-born U.S. citizen as someone who is entitled to be so “at birth” or “by birth,” regardless of where he or she was born (contrasting this with “naturalized” citizens, who become so entitled in later life). At least two other Republican presidential candidates have run on this definition of what it means to be natural born: John McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone, who ran in 2008, and Barry Goldwater, born in Arizona before it was a state, who ran in 1964.

    More at the link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @matt bernius:

    But chances are we both tend to lean to the *left* on a lot of issues that core to movement/populist conservatives.

    Christie is a raging a$$hole. He just happens to be a pragmatic one who actually cares about governance. That alone makes him stand out from the crowd that is today’s GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. Latino_in_Boston says:

    I don’t think Christie will even run for President in 2016. Let the GOP self-destruct and then hope for a shot in 2020. That’d be a much better strategy. Of course, Christie can still self-destruct. He cares about governing, yes, but he’s also an a$$hole, and sooner or later he might do something that will just not play well with the majority of people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. James in LA says:

    Tsar making sense, cats and dogs, living together… the GOP Schism grows esoteric!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. Console says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Actually, Mccain wasn’t born on a US base and people born in the canal zone were considered US nationals, but not US citizens. Mccain gets his citizenship through parentage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. stacy says:

    “Conservatives are NOT Republicans. We need to protect the only working
    limb that can drag us out of the hole our nation has been thrown into.
    Allowing RINO’s to steal the spotlight at a serious forum like CPAC is
    suicide. I am edified that CPAC has the good sense to recognize this
    fact. Christie should go back to Jersey and help get the power back on
    for those who are still out in the cold. If he doesn’t like this option,
    he can always grab his air guitar and jam out to “Born in the USA”. It
    will be the perfect accompaniment to Obama’s fiddle playing.”

    scarletworm.wordpress.com/2013…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  32. Facebones says:

    Just as well for Christie. He won’t have to disavow anything when Ann Coulter or some other attention whore starts calling people “faggots” again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Andre Kenji says:

    @Console:

    Actually, Mccain wasn’t born on a US base and people born in the canal zone were considered US nationals, but not US citizens. Mccain gets his citizenship through parentage.

    No, John McCain was born in the Coco Solo US base. On the other hand, Ted Cruz Credo has only one American born parent. At least, it would be interesting to read WorldNetDaily if he decides to run.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Console says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    My fault. Coulda sworn he wasn’t born on base. But citizenship still doesn’t work that way. US military bases are not sovereign US soil.

    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86755.pdf

    (1) Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities abroad are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities abroad are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not born in the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Eric Florack says:

    Christie is not a conservative.
    why should CPAC give him a pulpit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. matt bernius says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Christie is not a conservative.
    why should CPAC give him a pulpit?

    What do you think of CPAC giving Romney a pulpit? Or is he now a conservative?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0