CPAC unwise to snub Christie, gays
What can you do with a man like Chris Christie?
The answer, according to many with the conservative movement: throw him overboard. And while we're at it, let's toss the gays over the side too.
The popular governor of New Jersey has angered many conservatives, including this humble scribe. During the crucial final days of the presidential election, Christie didn't merely embrace President Obama, he all but endorsed him.
Then, during the congressional fight over the disaster-relief bill for victims of superstorm Sandy — a bill with more pork in it than a Jimmy Dean factory — Christie denounced Republicans who wanted to move the legislation a few micrometers closer to kosher. Christie not only didn't care that the relief bill contained, among many other porcine baubles, millions for Alaskan fisheries (which are roughly 4,000 miles out of Sandy's path), he acted as if Capitol Hill Republicans should be ashamed for even mentioning it.
And he parroted the gun-control line and flip-flopped on accepting a federal bribe to accept ObamaCare funding to expand Medicaid.
Christie has his reasons for doing these things. Some are pretty defensible, others far less so. But whatever the strengths of his positions, no one attending this month's Conservative Political Action Conference will hear them.
CPAC is the first bottleneck in the Republican presidential pipeline, and at precisely the moment the party should be making every effort to be as open as possible to differing points of view, it's chosen to exclude the most popular governor in the country. Why? Because, a source familiar with CPAC's internal deliberations told National Review Online, Christie has a “limited future” in the Republican Party due to his position on gun control.
Really? The man is going to be re-elected as a Republican. That's a little future right there.
And since when is CPAC an organ of the Republican Party? Christie's future in the GOP is up to Republican voters. I happen to hew closer to CPAC's position on gun control than to Christie's. But I'd love to hear him talk about school reform and his battle with public-sector unions. I'd love to see him debate someone on gun control or on how to cut government spending in a climate where people like Christie are so quick to demagogue crisis-exploiting spending.
Heck, I'd like to hear debates on pretty much any issue dividing factions on the right, including gay rights. But CPAC has declared that gay groups can't even set up a booth this year. It's one thing to hold firm to your principles on traditional marriage; it's quite another to say that dissenting gay groups can't officially hand out fliers on the premises.
Some will see this as CPAC bravely holding the line. But it reads to many as a knee-jerk and insecure retreat at precisely the moment conservatives should be sending the opposite message. Maybe the near third of young Republicans who support gay marriage are wrong, but CPAC won't convince them of that by fueling the storyline that conservatives are scared of gays.
It's not CPAC's fault that the borders of conservatism are shrinking, but it would be nice if at this moment it acted less like a border guard keeping all but the exquisitely credentialed out and more like a tourist board, explaining why it's such a great place to visit — and live.
Jonah Goldberg is the author of the new book “The Tyranny of Clichés.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Hornqvist, Spaling will lead by example
- Crosby, Malkin to miss start of Penguins camp
- Friday’s scouting report: Brewers at Pirates
- Woman sues Beaver County shelter, alleges discrimination
- Steelers notebook: Big Ben sees increase in throwing out of shotgun
- Shady Side Academy’s Dua wins WPIAL Class AAA title; GCC sisters find forfeit deal in Class AA
- Pirates notebook: Bucs batters seeing doubles
- Statewide high school football notebook: Clairton’s scoring gaining attention across Pa.
- Virus found at South Butler school
- Range Resources to pay $4.15M fine, close old gas drilling impoundments
- Positive economic news pushes Dow, S&P 500 to record levels