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Hey, Republicans, nice tent you got there:
American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas spoke briefly with reporters ahead of the beginning of the CPAC conference -- explaining why he didn't invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and insisting that the GOP is "not a home for everybody." [...]

"I'm a firm believer that if the Republican Party's going to have success, it's going to do so by being a conservative party and not a home for ah, for everybody," Cardenas said. "And that's how you grow. I mean, look, you grow your tent by convincing others, and persuading others, that yours is the way, and you build your tent by reaching out to the new demographics of America not with a watered down version of who we ought to be but with a true, real, solid version of who we are."

Hmmm. What was it former first lady Laura Bush said about the Republican Party, like, five minutes ago? Oh yeah:
There were obvious examples of candidates [in the 2012 election] that I think frightened some women, but they were the exception rather than the norm in the party.

All of those social issues are very, very heartfelt by people. And I understand that. There are differences. There just will be. And I’m glad that in our party we have room for all of them. I think that's important too.

It's swell the Republican Party has room for people like ex-Rep. Todd Akin, proponent of the magic lady parts theory, or wannabe Sen. Richard Mourdock, who believes rape babies are a gift from God. And of course CPAC is extra-special featuring the kind of uber-relevant Republicans who really do belong there:
The biggest winners in the time lottery are Sarah Palin (16 minutes) and Donald Trump (14 minutes). Palin and Trump are expected to be crowd-pleasers at CPAC: News of their respective appearances caused ticket sales to spike, according to a source.
But as for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was once upon a time the New Great Hope of the Republican PartyTM, well, apparently the tent ain't quite that big:
Cardenas also repeated explanations for why the conference hadn't invited New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to speak at the event.

"This year, for better or for worse, we felt like, ah, like he didn't deserve to be on the all-star selection, ah, and, for decisions that he made. And so hopefully next year he's back on the right track and being a conservative," Cardenas said. "He's a popular figure, but everyone needs to live by the parameters of the movement."

So, to sum up: The GOP is big enough for the pro-rape guys and the failed half-term governor turned failed reality TV star, but they've got to draw the line somewhere, so the party's most popular governor? Not this year, pal. Maybe next year—if you can figure out how to beef up your crackpot credentials.

Originally posted to Kaili Joy Gray on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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