Report: And the Reason Chris Christie Wasn’t Invited to CPAC is…

Daniel Doherty

2/26/2013 7:30:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

Well, because he’s too squishy on Second Amendment rights, or something. National Review Online’s Eliana Johnson has the exclusive report:

New Jersey governor Chris Christie was not invited to address the Conservative Political Action Conference because of his position on gun control, according to a source familiar with CPAC’s internal deliberations who requested anonymity to speak freely.

Christie has a “limited future” in the national Republican party given his position on gun control, the source tells National Review Online. As a result, the CPAC insider says, the focus of this year’s conference, “the future of conservatism,” made Christie a bad fit.

Christie, the source adds, is simply not a conservative in the eyes of organizers.

The New Jersey governor, who has expressed concern about “an abundance of guns out there,” has said he backs the gun-control legislation currently on the books in his state, some of the nation’s most restrictive. Christie has also not been afraid to speak out against the National Rifle Association, calling an ad the group ran in the wake of the Newtown shooting “reprehensible” and “awful.”

Christie’s conservative credentials took another hit today when he announced to the world that he would accept funds from the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This was somewhat unexpected: The New Jersey governor said as recently as last year that forcing states to accept federal funding -- or face severe financial penalties -- was tantamount to “extortion.” Obviously he’s had a change of heart, and conservatives are not impressed.

By the way, it’s sort of depressing to stop and reflect how a little more than a year ago -- in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library of all places -- grown-ups were literally begging Chris Christie to run for president of the United States. He exuded bold, conservative leadership in those days, and was a shining example of how conservative policies can bring about positive change -- even in the bluest of blue states. Now he can’t even get an invitation to CPAC...

Sure, Christie’s approval rating in the Garden State has reached an eye-popping, historical high, but can he somehow find a way to rekindle his relationship with influential conservative groups and be taken seriously once again for high national office? Or is that a bridge too far, given his tendency to lavish praise on the president and flip-flop on issues conservatives hold dear?

My hunch is the latter, of course, but nothing in politics is permanent. We’ll just have to wait and see how things unfold.