Conservative Group Pointedly Doesn’t Invite Christie to Its Big Event (Updated 2)

Another emerging attempted purge of someone labelled a “RINO” for not towing the conservative line? Revenge because a GOPer dared to say something nice about President Barack Obama? It certainly sounds that way – and this very pointed, clearly intentional, most assuredly let’s-send-’em-a-message snub of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also suggests what could be in store if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush decides to run and doesn’t embrace the conservative agenda 100 percent or shows signs he’d be willing to reach across the aisle and not be on the partisan warpath 24/7. First Read:

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.

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.

It will be Romney’s first public speech since his loss last November. He said in a statement that he looks “forward to saying thank you to the many friends and supporters who were instrumental in helping” his campaign.

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.

Wasn’t there supposed to be some kind of “rebranding” going on?

Sounds like the same, old 2012 brand to me. He who doesn’t display partisan hate, can’t get into the gate.

UPDATE:
CNN also takes note and adds:

Many Republicans voiced anger at Christie for praising President Barack Obama’s response to Superstorm Sandy, which swept through his state days before last November’s election. Later, Christie publically blasted Republican lawmakers for stalling passage of emergency funds for Sandy victims.

The outspoken governor defended himself against charges he helped swing the election to Obama, however, saying on CNN that “When the president does things that deserve praise, I will give him praise. And when the president does things that deserve scorn, I’ll give him scorn.”

“I am not going to play politics with this issue, this is so much bigger than an election,” Christie continued. “When someone asks me an honest question, I give an honest answer: ‘How’s the president been to deal with?’ He’s been outstanding to deal with on this.”

And, indeed, Christie is getting a reputation as someone who is charting a — get ready, here it comes…that dirty word — moderate course. New Jersey’s Daily Record:

For a man who championed the Republican brand as keynote speaker at its national convention last year, Gov. Chris Christie has been spending a lot of time making nice with Democrats.

Most famously, Christie was complimentary of Democratic President Barack Obama’s response to superstorm Sandy just before last year’s election. He then almost as famously ripped House Speaker and fellow Republican John Boehner about playing politics with federal storm aid. Early on, his re-election campaign has consisted of endorsements by two unions and two Democratic mayors, as well as fundraisers in Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

“He’s the Democrats’ favorite Republican now, nationally, which is sort of goofy if you stop and think,” said Maurice Carroll, Quinnipiac University polling director. “Nobody ever thought that would happen.”

While Christie is walking the tightrope between both parties, he downplays any thought that he’s building a new strategy for the GOP.

“There are all these people in the Republican Party nationally who are staring at their navels trying to figure out what’s wrong with our party,” Christie said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with our party.”

“The fact is that what people in this country want are less discussion of party and more discussion of results,” Christie said. “In New Jersey what we show is that the Republican Party can get results for the people who vote for us. Stop worrying about politics and speeches and all the rest of this stuff and start worrying about getting something done. And that will represent an exorcism of all this glum talk about our party and a resurrection of our party nationally.”

Christie’s emphasis on Democrats is partially about survival, as the state has nearly 703,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. No GOP candidate has received 50 percent of the statewide vote in an election since 1985. And it’s partially about him showing off support from groups that stuck with then-Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, four years ago — to impress voters, as well as drive Democrats crazy.

But it’s this reaching across the aisle, trying to engage and woo Democrats rather than demonize them all as “libruls” or people all on welfare with insidious motives that angers some conservatives.

He may be another example of someone who could win a general election but has little prospect of gaining his party’s nomination — except for one fact: reports suggest Democrats are getting ready to try and paint him as a far right conservative. If that happens, they’ll do more to get him in the good graces of his own party than anything Christie himself may do or say.

UPDATE 2: Read this roundup at The Week that contains some Tweets and expressions of dismay from many, including conservative Republicans.

         

12 Comments

  1. Voters from the moderate left, moderate right and center will cast ballots for Christie for national office if given the chance.

  2. Much of the GOP has moved from a respectable philosophy that government can’t do everything to a faith movement with a fervent belief that the government can do nothing except defense and law enforcement that couldn’t be farmed out to for-profit businesses with much better results and much of what it currently does just shouldn’t be done anyway. No evidence will sway them from this blind, unquestioning faith. They are not open to negotiation because they are not interested in governing, only victory for their faith.

  3. I noticed that, during the Republican Presidential primaries, anyone who said anything at all, that I considered halfway sane and/or reasonable, was quite quickly given the political ax; Perry had gall enough to mention that it would be cruel to deport children of illegal immigrants, or otherwise split up the families of Latinos who had lived here all of their lives, and he also wanted to streamline the Naturalization process—bye bye Perry! Gingrich although incredibly insulting to OWS protesters, actually had the courage to say that he disagreed with any kind of social Darwinism from the right or from the left—for that the GOP rapidly bid him farewell. The Libertarian candidate (Was it Rand Paul)? held a number of positions which he continually and HONESTLY gave his opinions about—one being the quality of Newt Gingrich’s character—but, whenever I felt like giving him some credit for this honesty, he was quickly abandon by a GOP, controlled by its Tea Party task masters. I believe even Santorum, occasionally said something that resembled an intelligent comment, but he was also canned for daring to say any of those things—only Mitt Romney, who seemed to be for and/or against anything advantageous to his strategy, and who was a dangerously Right and centrist conservative all at the same time (claiming to support the middle class) who he simultaneously typified as freeloaders on the Government—was able to grasp the brass ring of the nomination. Then, much too late, Christie came along.

    The Governor showed the integrity to gave credit where credit was due, without turning every little event into a propaganda drive for the GOP. It just so happened that he gave Obama such credit shortly before the election and was blamed for helping Democrats win the Whitehouse. But, Christie has always extolled Republican values and never betrayed the fundamental philosophies of the GOP. Like most politicians—Democrats or Republicans—his only mistake was in his honesty and his forthright expressions of what he perceived as being the truth!

    Christie is physically large and forceful enough to remind me of some kind of Mob boss, but, when he had the courage to offer Obama credit for a job well done, he showed some true character residing beyond any purely manipulative partisan strategies.

    I am about as likely to vote for ANY Republicans as a snowball is to survive in Hell, but, if push came to shove, and I had to choose outside of my preferred party, Christie is the only one that would stand a chance of getting my vote!

  4. I guess we are to assume that this Republican rebranding that is supposed to help the party appeal to a wider audience has yet to occur, LOL. They are still kicking the very people that have a chance to win to the curb for perceived apostasy.
    They know that they can’t win national elections with a shrinking constituency, yet they can’t seem to help themselves– they just naturally gravitate towards the most extreme lunatics in the party.
    Does anyone seriously think that Rand Paul, Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum would win against Hillary Clinton?? They need a larger than life candidate whose appeal crosses party lines– Christie fits that bill perfectly.
    I guess he is paying for having the temerity to say whatever was necessary to take care of the people in his state who were suffering tremendous losses.
    How dare he???

  5. Come to the dark side Chrissy, (or at the very least, independent) we have cookies!

    On second thought, here’s a salad, lay off the sweets.

    In all seriousness, as somebody who has had to live with his case of the fiscal stoopids (ridiculous unemployment rate, the highest property taxes and a state budget that hasn’t been balanced since Edison had a lab here), while he may be part of the GOP, he is a throwback politico in the sense that when it comes to getting shizz done for his constituents, he tosses partisanship to the wayside and gets it done, and while I wouldn’t vote for him, he at least gets my begrudging respect for that. The GOP, however, a party being infamous in the past few years for slapping the back the critical thinkers and non partyline towers, will turn their backs on Christie, who might be their last chance for a party reform and a half decent shot at 2016.

  6. agreed Pete. I think any politician has way mixed reviews depending on who he/ she is able to help and who has to go pound sand. I find Christie interesting. We know what happened with Leiberman and Nighthorse Campbell. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next.

    And given that so many struggle with weight in our culture, I think of pols who hide their excesses behind closed doors. Heavy people cant hide. I think Christie is patient about all the canards slung about his size. People, some, seem obsessed with what he puts in his mouth. I’m more concerned that he remain healthy as possible, regardless of all else. I lift 3x a week in the ‘hell room’ at the gym, and I’ve been amazed to see how silent killers can take hold in the bodies of people at ‘normal’ weight who think they are striving to do everything ‘right.’ I wish Christie well. Many friends in his state, feel he is heroic. I know some may not, but again, I dont know that a pol can please — forget everyone– even half.

  7. I think Gov. Christie should be thrilled that CPAC didn’t invite him. He can take this snub all the way to his re-election in “Joisey,” continue to forge a bi-partisan term both with the state house and with DC. I give both kudos and a well-deserved “bravo” to him for being able to forge his own path within the Republican party regardless of the partisan complaints. Had Christie been a Democrat and Obama a Republican, I still would have applauded him for reaching across party lines even though that would’ve meant the re-election for a Republican (not that I have always voted against Republicans, just lately on a national level).

    Though I may be MOSTLY liberal in my political and social beliefs, I will always be for the health and prosperity for all of my country rather than a privileged few. I’ll always try to support pols who put “country, before party.” Which brings me back to Gov. Christie. There are SO many things I disagree with him on, but he is willing to buck his party for the good of his state. Even if it’s for political gain, his state is who benefits, so the means justify the ends. However, his anger and short-temper give me a serious pause, just as McCain’s did. I’m all for being principled and perturbed by stupid questions, but his responses just seem over-the-top. Does he think it will get any easier with the national or foreign press if he runs for president? What happens when a country gets too belligerent with him as President? I realize he may have advisors to help temper him, but he also has advisors as Governor and that hasn’t seemed to stop him so far.

    Any talk of him getting the Republican nomination is probably moot at this point. He’s angered too many Tea Partiers and partisans and he will be punished for it by the primary voters. Whether we like it or not, that’s who usually votes in primaries for both parties, partisans who put “party before country.”

  8. Oh please let CC officially become a Dem and run in the primaries against HC and possibly JB. What an interesting show that would be.

  9. dd, you are wickedly funny. And humor is funniest where there is truth attached.

  10. The last two comments made the articles point… Better than the article could have hoped to.

    Centrist Republicans and those open to compromise are not welcome by the current leaders and promoters of the Republican Party. This is why almost 40% of ‘run-of-the-mill‘ Republicans say the GOP is out of touch.

    Edit to add: For Poll details go to PewResearch – GOP Seen as Principled, But Out of Touch and Too Extreme

  11. SteveK, you make a valid point about the middle focusing their energy. I view it slightly differently. I suggest that some entrenched leaders of both parties are no longer welcomed by Repub or Dem centrist and this pragmatic movement may (or may not) alter the two major national elections in the next four years.

  12. If that is so, but it’s not, then I withdraw my comment. :-)

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