Republicans, perpetually dissatisfied with the 2012 GOP presidential field, have set their eyes on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and don’t seem to be taking his no(s) for an answer.Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s meltdown at last week’s Florida GOP debate added new urgency to their pleas — several big conservative Wall Street donors have basically spent the entire week trying to convince Christie to jump in the race. And word is he may be reconsidering his refusals.
But will he really be the answer to the GOP’s prayers? Or will Republicans lose interest as soon as it becomes clear Christie might not be as conservative (or appealing) as the Northeast media thinks he is.
Right now, all anyone can see is a straight-talking governor who has ruthlessly slashed spending and stuck it to Big labour, all without a hint of a Southern drawl.
But if Christie decides to throw his hat in the ring, they will have to come to terms with the fact that he is unlikely to fly with the party’s ultra-conservative, tri-corner-hat-wearing, Bible-toting base.
- He supports gun control. That’s right — Chris Christie wants to encroach upon the sacred Second. In an interview with Sean Hannity in 2009, Christie said he supports “common-sense” gun control laws to deal with New Jersey’s “hand gun problem.” Compare that to Rick “Use Both Hands” Perry and Christie’s got no shot south of the Mason-Dixon.
- He believes in climate change.
- He thinks illegal immigrants should get amnesty. If the GOP thought Rick Perry has an illegal immigration problem, just wait until they hear from Christie. He has said that he believes their should be an “orderly path to citizenship,” which, to the Tea Party, is pretty much the same thing as an open invitation to cross the border.
- He likes Muslims
- He called Obama an “ally on education.” In a year where more than one of the Republican presidential candidates has called for abolishing the Department of Education entirely, Christie may as well be running as a Democrat.
And finally, Rush Limbaugh — gatekeeper to the Republican base — is not a big Christie fan. On his radio show yesterday, Limbaugh chided Beltway Republicans for pushing the New Jersey governor because they are scared of the real conservative candidates:
But when you talk about the Republican establishment — and you’ve read their pieces today — you know what I’m talking about: The columnists, the magazine directors, editors, publishers, whatever, they are reaching and searching for a counter to the conservatives. They don’t want Herman Cain getting the nomination; they don’t want Perry getting the nomination; they don’t want Bachmann getting the nomination. The Republican establishment does not want a conservative getting the nomination. If Chris Christie can come along, catch fire, see to it that Palin, Bachmann — Palin not in, she might get in, who knows, doubt it, but still too soon to say — if they can co-opt any conservative getting the nomination, they will do it.
As Limbaugh points out, a only real reason it looks like Christie has a shot is that the Northeast media loves moderate, “maverick-y” Republicans (see John McCain). That doesn’t mean the real Republicans are going to love him too.
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