Mr. Christie goes to Washington (to piss off the rest)
But it isn’t just fiscal conservatives, congressional leadership and Romney players that Mr. Christie has upset.
During a black tie gala celebrating the notoriously dovish libertarian think tank Cato Institute, Mr. Christie used half of his keynote remarks to belligerently (and, we think, correctly) defend strong action against American enemies abroad.
And despite this, the governor hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the more hawkish in the party. One of his four appointments to an advisory council on New Jersey-Muslim relations was the controversial Imam Mohammad Qatanani, who, TheDC reported, is facing deportation for trying to hide his ties to the Islamist terror group Hamas. This appointment followed other incidents that rightly or wrongly upset the more hawkish wing of the GOP, including calling Hamas member Mohammad Qatanani a “friend;” and appointing Sohail Mohammed to a superior judgeship, despite his history of defending an accused member of Hamas.
When confronted with these criticisms, an exacerbated Mr. Christie bluntly said, “I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”
It is unlikely the governor would want, or could count on, the the support of those “crazies” for a 2016 bid.
Nor could he count on support of those Republicans who see the United Nations’ climate change agenda as a top concern. In August 2011, the Garden State executive said, “climate change is real,” adding that “human activity plays a role in these changes” and they are “impacting our state.”
Nor could he count on that wing of the GOP that cares most about the Second Amendment. In his unsuccessful 1995 run for the New Jersey General Assembly, one of his campaign ads called two opponents out for wanting to repeal President Bill Clinton’s 1994 ban on assault rifles, saying, “It’s dangerous. It’s crazy. It’s radical. It must be stopped.”
Years later in 2009, on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, he didn’t give that wing any more to be excited about, saying, “Listen, I favor some of the gun-control measures we have in New Jersey” and citing illegal weapons and a Democrat-controlled legislature as his main reasons. When questioned on gun control earlier this week, he said, “These are complicated issues,” adding “I’m willing to have that conversation.”
And despite being pro-life and anti-gay marriage, his support for civil unions, while pleasing the already-slightly-alienated libertarian wing of the party, doesn’t wash with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. When addressing social conservative support for a Christie candidacy, Perkins said “he’s made some very questionable appointments of some key positions; he has some backing from individuals who are clearly on the other side of all social issues, so I think he would have a difficult time gaining a lot of support among social conservatives.”
All of which leads us to one very likely conclusion:
Mr. Christie doesn’t actually go to Washington at all
Though none of these players is the end-all-be-all of Republican politics, they all have a say, and while Mr. Christie has earned a lot of respect and admiration for his tough style and good work in New Jersey, he has given every wing of the GOP one reason or another to pass on any real excitement for nominating him to lead the party.
While it is likely that the large majority of these players would support him in a general election against a Democrat, following Mr. Romney’s shellacking, a 2016 run would require more than grudging acceptance.
And while a Republican nomination for attorney general may have once seemed a fun possibility, any official candidate may recall Mr. Christie’s conspicuous change of heart on the 2012 trail.
The simple fact is there’s no living American who can do no evil in the mind of their future supporters, and though we once gathered around the television to watch “Happy Days” and still enjoy the occasional re-run, like that American show, Mr. Christie has jumped the shark. Which is OK for him, really, because in spite of — or because of — his decision to sever so many ties to the national GOP and its base, the governor of the strongly Democratic New Jersey is looking at a 2013 re-election bid without a single serious opponent in sight.
Not bad, for such a jerk.