Dr. Ben Carson: I don’t think Chris Christie and GOProud should be excluded from CPAC

posted at 6:41 pm on March 1, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via the Andrea Tantaros Show, I assume his point here about the urgency of economic renewal will form the core of his CPAC speech so consider this a sneak preview. Interesting little exchange between him and Tantaros: She seizes on his message about opposing political correctness to steer him towards criticizing Christie’s and GOProud’s exclusion on those grounds, that it’s a form of conservative PC. But that’s not really where he takes it. He comes back at her, essentially, with something similar to Mitch Daniels’s idea of a “truce” on social issues. We need a big tent right now because rescuing the country from fiscal unsustainability takes precedence over all other disagreements. There’ll be time later to decide which cultural ideas are “barnicles” on the ship of state after it’s been turned around.

National Review’s a bit more absolute than that:

CPAC’s inviting GOProud to participate again would not now, as it did not at earlier conferences, imply its endorsement of any particular policies regarding gays, just as CPAC’s invitation to Chris Hayes to speak on a panel does not imply its endorsement of MSNBC. Speaking of Hayes, his rebuff of CPAC’s invitation — lodged as a protest against GOProud’s exclusion — has probably had a greater downside for CPAC than its past inclusion of GOProud ever did. Conservatives rightly lament that pro-life Democrats are regularly marginalized in the various organs of the Left. This marginalization rarely breaks through into the mainstream narrative about the Left. But conservatives are not so lucky, and the present case perhaps unjustly, but nevertheless needlessly, fuels a narrative of marginalization on the Right.

The matter of Chris Christie is somewhat different. CPAC’s exclusion of Christie was not an act of commission but rather one of omission. And while the New Jersey governor is certainly not entitled to speak at the conference, we fear the decision not to invite him to do so is illustrative of a potentially unhealthy trend. Organizers told National Review Online they were displeased with Christie’s restrictionist views on gun control and felt he had a limited future in the national party. We, too, have concerns about the governor’s views on guns — and on other issues — but those concerns are tempered by our respect for his handling of New Jersey’s finances and his reining in of the public-sector unions, which for decades had a vice-like grip on Trenton. Our approach has been to praise those of Christie’s policies that we think judicious and wise, and to criticize those that we think provocative and unwise. We do not think the latter requires reading him out of the conservatism movement or the Republican party.

Jonah Goldberg seems to want a more permanent accommodation, too:

Heck, I’d like to hear debates on pretty much any and every issue dividing factions on the right, including gay rights. But CPAC has declared that gay groups can’t even set up a booth this year. It’s one thing to hold firm to your principles on traditional marriage; it’s quite another to say that dissenting gay groups — that is, conservative gay groups — can’t officially hand out fliers on the premises (as they were allowed to in the past).

Some will no doubt see this as CPAC bravely holding the line. But it reads to many in the public as a knee-jerk and insecure retreat at precisely the moment conservatives should be sending the opposite message. Maybe the near third of young Republicans who support gay marriage are wrong, but CPAC won’t convince them — never mind other young voters — of that by fueling the storyline that conservatives are scared of gays.

One thought on Christie, in keeping with my general line that excluding him this year inadvertently does him more good than harm: It sets him up perfectly for a big “return to conservatism” narrative next year or the year after when he starts to shift right again. Once he’s safely reelected governor, he’ll have to make amends to conservatives somehow ahead of 2016. Just as importantly, he’ll need some showy way to get their attention so that they know he’s trying to make amends. A return to CPAC would be just the ticket. He’ll pick a fight with New Jersey Democrats over union pensions or abortion or something, then have his staff cut a few viral vids of him yelling at left-wing old ladies in the audience at a townhall, and before you know it, wham — he’s keynoting CPAC 2015 and enjoying tons of buzz for doing so. That’s one scenario. The other scenario is that I’m right about him teaming up with Bloomberg to form some sort of national No Labels movement for 2016, in which case he’ll actually shift a tiny bit left and end up keynoting the first annual RINOcon or whatever instead.

Update: Uh oh. We have a new candidate for exclusion from CPAC.


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Perhaps if CPAC would stop inviting those that are not Conservative, they wouldn’t be criticized. Defining what a Conservative stands for would be helpful.

bluefox on March 1, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Food for thought.
Who gets to write the definition?

It certainly wouldn’t include support of or policies of the Democrat Party.

Not anymore, but it could have some decades ago, when almost everyone in America shared the same moral and religious value systems, although there has never been total agreement between or within the Parties on how the government should act in relation to those values, especially economic ones.

AesopFan on March 1, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Have people also considered that the Christie’s appearance could serve to reduce his influence?

rrpjr on March 1, 2013 at 8:07 PM

I don’t recall Christie doing anything other than talking about himself at the Republican National Convention. Even if he were invited, and I don’t think he should be seeing he is not a Conservative, he would just talk about himself again.

Let Christie promote his anti-gun and support of Obamacare at some other venue.

bluefox on March 1, 2013 at 9:25 PM

I agree. They should invite Jabba the Hutt, and when the self-aggrandizing, sucka$$ bastard starts to speak, everyone there should take notice of something on the back wall of the room.

Mr. Grump on March 1, 2013 at 9:34 PM

I don’t care for all this drama we have every year over who’s speaking or not. it bores me. I do like that Ted Cruz is the keynote speaker, and if gun rights are a big focus, I’m all over that. That’s my issue.

juliesa on March 1, 2013 at 9:36 PM

bluefox on March 1, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Food for thought.
Who gets to write the definition?

CPAC is hosted by the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF), a 501(c)3 charity. More than 100 other organizations contribute in various ways. Human Events, the Young America’s Foundation, and the National Rifle Association have been three of the most prominent cosponsors in recent years.

My understanding is that the Chairman and board members would make the final decision on those invited. I’m sure they also would be able to define conservatism.

bluefox on March 1, 2013 at 9:36 PM

It certainly wouldn’t include support of or policies of the Democrat Party.

Not anymore, but it could have some decades ago, when almost everyone in America shared the same moral and religious value systems, although there has never been total agreement between or within the Parties on how the government should act in relation to those values, especially economic ones.

AesopFan on March 1, 2013 at 9:12 PM

My comment was” Defining what a Conservative
stands for would be helpful. It certainly wouldn’t include support of or policies of the Democrat Party.”

bluefox on March 1, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Just from some of the comments here, it seems like there is confusion on what CPAC stands for. And perhaps they need to define it better so there is no misunderstanding.

It’s purpose is not to be a one size fits all. It’s a Conservative Organization.

bluefox on March 1, 2013 at 9:47 PM

I love Dr. Carson but CPAC is not the Republican Party’ it is a conservtive organization and Christy is not a conservative. He also may have cost Romney the election with his Sandy lovefest of Obama. Christy isn’t even conservative when it comes to fiscal policies. His only real claim to fame is yelling at Teachers union reps. I don’t think that qualifies him for higher office.

As to the social issues, why are those who are pro life and adhere to religious principles always the ones who need to make room for the secular and those who espouse libertarian views” Ronney didn’t lose because he was seen as a social conservative. Romney lost because he was not seen as a social conservative.

fight like a girl on March 1, 2013 at 10:36 PM

If $831,000,000,000 (stimulus funds) had such little impact on the US economy of approximately $16,000,000,000,000 (5.19%), then cuts from government borrowing of $85,000,000,000 (which is .531% of GDP,8.5% of the annual deficit,2.4% of annual outlays ) will have virtually no impact.

Think about that. Obama/Dems/GOP are fighting about cutting 8.5% of what they will borrow in a year, not 8.5% of the actual phantom budget…of what they borrow!

can_con on March 1, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Sorry, wrong tab.

can_con on March 1, 2013 at 10:39 PM

The tent would have to be too big to let Christie in. Let him go widen the Democrat’s tent. That seems to be where he likes tromping, kissing up to Obama right before our most critical election. What was the deal with that? No, keep Christie out of the tent, and the tent will be better off for it.

anotherJoe on March 1, 2013 at 11:39 PM

He’s misinformed that they are excluded. They just have not been allowed to sponsor or speak. If Carson is so bothered by it, he should set up his own shindig and invite them.

Blake on March 1, 2013 at 6:46 PM

That was my reaction when I saw the headline.

JannyMae on March 2, 2013 at 12:33 AM

What about Pam Geller, who is actually a conservative, Dr. Carson?

VorDaj on March 2, 2013 at 1:20 AM

Another Christie story. This is getting old.

Let me explain again.

Christie may have single handedly cost us the presidency, repeal of Obamacare, and the slim 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court among a host of other issues.

Don’t you think he has done enough damage?

scotash on March 2, 2013 at 3:16 AM

Dr. Ben Carson misses a very important point. ANYONE who wants to listen to the likes of Chris Christie and GOProud should RENT THEIR OWN HALL!

TANSTAAFL is understood by Conservatives, but apparently not by the rest.

I could easily play Ben by stating that CPAC should invite the 0bama’s, Moveon.org, Democrat Underground and other leftist groups for the same reasons used by Dr. Carson, but in the end the Golden Rule applies.

DannoJyd on March 2, 2013 at 4:00 AM

It’s about time CPAC kicked out GOProud. There’s no place for reasonable people at CPAC, non-extremists need not apply.

triple on March 2, 2013 at 5:10 AM

I am liking this Carson fellow more and more.

MJBrutus on March 2, 2013 at 5:37 AM

It’s tacky and it’s at a prayer breakfast. You’re attacking a guy who is just sitting there who happens to the be the president, who can’t respond, and it just doesn’t sit well.

Yep.. It isn’t like the President doesn’t do things like that. Ryan must have been thoroughly enjoying the good doctor’s takedown of Obama.

Illinidiva on March 2, 2013 at 8:03 AM

Another Christie story. This is getting old.

Let me explain again.

Christie may have single handedly cost us the presidency, repeal of Obamacare, and the slim 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court among a host of other issues.

Don’t you think he has done enough damage?

scotash on March 2, 2013 at 3:16 AM

BRAVO! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Why AP and others keep harping about the pompous turncoat windbag is beyond me. All polling had Romney surging until Sandy and Christy slobbering all over Obama. Christy is a dyed in the wool Northeast liberal. Period.

fight like a girl on March 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

I believe the conference is called CPAC, where the “C” stands for Conservative. Why do conservatives have to include libruls or Rockefeller Republicans just because they are Republican? Why can’t the Conservatives have their own organization? Oh, I know, it is hateful and not compassionate to exclude people who work against you every chance they get – but it is OK for Harvard to exclude conservatives. Why does CPAC Have to invite libruls to talk to them? None of the librul groups or universities do. The blacks in congress will not let a Republican black join the black caucus. The Women in congress exclude Conservative women from their womyn’s caucus.

Old Country Boy on March 2, 2013 at 2:19 PM

I think Dr. Carson might just be an undercover RINO.

MCGIRV on March 2, 2013 at 2:47 PM

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