Chris Christie has been the only contender to have impressed me since Election Day - I think he's mastered the calculus of being the Republican Governor of a deeply blue state, which is why I find the conservative backlash so disappointing. Tradeoffs are involved in situations like Christie's and to be able to do so and get such impressive approval ratings (I've even seen a competitive edge among black voters) is no small feat. That CPAC snubbed him - and over gun control, where he hasn't exactly been making waves - is shortsighted but hey, I bet they would have snubbed Reagan for instituting more liberal abortion laws in California (anything to keep the faith, right?)As for the disappointments . . .I can't strike the impression that Jeb Bush's immigration flip-flop was anything other than rank opportunism, which is especially unfortunate because he was a rare but prominent voice of moderation on the issue. He can do all the Full Ginsburgs he wants but it won't change the fact that this is my first memory of his post-election testing of the waters.I've always been of the opinion that Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal are paper tigers - they're good candidates if you think the Republican Party's ONLY problem is sounding "stupid" and being hostile to immigrants, which I do not. I don't necessarily think they've hurt their chances in any meaningful (long-lasting) way since Election Day but I also think they are a lot more flawed than their supporters recognize and that those flaws will be amplified as they get more serious national attention (thinking in particular of Rubio's global warming dodge)
... and Jindal is govering as full right-wing crazy in Louisiana. There doesn't seem to be a hardcore right-wing idea he hasn't tried to put into action, from shifting the tax burden to the poor and working class, to insane whackjob schools.
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect