During last year's Republican primaries, much was made of Ann Coulter fatuously begging Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) to run for president. And so too did many other Republicans, seeing him as a hope of the party with no real, substantive other candidates who could compete on the national stage. That perception has continued, following his actions during Hurricane Sandy, helping give him a high approve rating in New Jersey.
At the time, a year ago, at the peak of the, "Oh, dear God, please run, Chris Christie," mania, I would discuss with others my confusion about all of this. After all, while I knew that Gov. Christie -- for all his many flaws to my own views -- was the most appealing of potential candidates to Independents and Democrats...he wouldn't be running for the nomination of Independents and Democrats. And, indeed, the very things that would be more appealing about him than any of the radical right candidates -- that he was only moderately conservative -- were the very things that today's Republican Party would gutterly hate about him.
To be clear, Chris Christie isn't even a moderate, he's conservative, but compared to today's far right GOP, he's almost a radical Hippie leftie. And for all his popularity in New Jersey, a lot of that recently has come from how he worked with Barack Obama and praised the president -- something that rational humans appreciated, but is akin to being in league with the Devil to the Republican base.
So, for all those Republicans who were (and are) pining for Chris Christie to run for president, all I could think was, "Be careful what you wish for." He's not really someone you'd like. Democrats might be able to borderline tolerate him slightly, but his own, national Republican Party would hate him. Alabama and Mississippi and Nevada and Wyoming are not New Jersey.
And so it has come as no shock to me the reaction that Gov. Christie has received from this year's major CPAC convention, the Conservative Political Action Committee. It's not that attendees didn't like what the governor had to say -- it's not that they gave him a bad speaking slot -- it's that...well, you see...he hasn't been invited.
Let me repeat that: he hasn't been invited. They don't even want Chris Christie there.
Keep in mind, this is supposedly the candidate who was supposed to lead Republicans to the Promised Land. "If you don't run, Chris Christie, we'll lose." And the Conservative Political Action Committee -- the base of the Republican Party -- does not want Christie to say a single word.
Sarah Palin will be speaking. Rick Santorum will be speaking. Newt Gingrich will be speaking. Rick Perry and Paul Ryan, too. All of them losers in the Republican Partiy's recent attempts at winning the White House. But CPAC doesn't want Chris Christie.
They do want Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and his water bottle, Bobby Jindal (who blew his presidential hopes the year before Mr. Rubio gave his address), Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush all to be there. But not Chris Christie.
Maybe Gov. Christie will eventually get an invitation for the March 14 event, because someone will pull some strings, or it will be too embarrassing not to have him there. But right now, just a couple weeks before it's scheduled to start, no one has yet sent him a dance card.
The point here is that the next time you read about how much Republicans want Chris Christie to run for president because he has a chance of appealing to Democrats and Independents, just remember this -- first, he has to appeal to Republicans.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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