I’m getting tired of seeing observers use Chris Christie’s absence from CPAC as an excuse to argue — as Roger Simon’s latest headline says — the “GOP wants crazy after all these years.”
It’s cheap analysis, and Simon (and everyone else using Christie as a cudgel against conservatives) knows it.
Over at Politico, Simon writes that, “Christie is being snubbed because he is a winner in a party that embraces losing as a sign of faith and purity.”
This is an interesting thesis, and certainly good column fodder, but does it jibe with reality?
First, why is it expected that everyone will get to speak at CPAC every year? And why is the failure to invite someone in a given year — even a prominent figure — assigned so much significance?
It is true that many lot of conservatives have turned on Christie in the wake of his effusive praise of Barack Obama (just days before the presidential election), but prior to that, most conservatives were generally applauding the brash New Jersey governor.
In general, conservative skepticism of Christie had little to do with the notion he’s too moderate — and it certainly wasn’t because he’s a “winner.” After pushing Mitt Romney on us for months, Christie appeared to throw Romney under the bus for political reasons — at a very key moment during the general election.
That pretty much sums it up.
Simon goes on to note the fact that Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin will be speaking at the conference, adding that, “It is a little hard to see…how either Palin or Romney represents America’s future or the next generation of conservatives.”
This is true, but as Simon later concedes, other CPAC speakers include names like Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Paul Ryan.
Are they “crazy?” Are they yesterday’s news?
Ultimately, Simon’s column is one big nothingburger. This is what happens when you are desperate for copy.