I have my issues with him just like you do, but c’mon. Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush are conservative enough to speak at CPAC but not Christie? He’s the current vice chair of the RGA and will be chairman next year for the midterms. He’s headed for a landslide reelection victory in a deep blue state, where his approval rating is currently the highest for a New Jersey governor in the 17 years since Quinnipiac started tracking that. He’s one of the few members of the party with a national profile who’s reasonably well liked by voters across the board. Leverage his popularity, if only for a day.
I understand wanting to punish him for slobbering all over Obama after Sandy, but how do you find a spot for Chris Hayes and not for this guy? For cripes sake, Joe Scarborough’s spoken at CPAC. David Frum could probably get on a panel if he really tried. Their definition of “conservative” isn’t strict.
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.
There will also be five former presidential candidates attending: Romney, Perry, Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia, and former Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin of Alaska…
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.
All they’re doing here, whether they realize it or not, is throwing him into the briar patch. Christie was never going to run as the conservative choice in 2016 and lord knows he’s not going to run as a conservative to get reelected in New Jersey. That’s how Democrats will try to paint him, of course, but now he has fresh evidence to rebut the charge — he’s unwelcome at the preeminent gathering of American conservatives. CPAC’s unwittingly helping him burnish his brand as the country’s most formidable centrist Republican. Expect him to gets lots of mileage out of it in interviews over the next month.
Maybe Netroots Nation will snap him up for this year’s gala instead. Exit question: Was last night’s photo op with FLOTUS the last straw?