http://news.yahoo.com/chris-christie-delivers-electrifying-speech-hes-no-conservative-094802923.html Why Chris Christie Is No Savior for Conservatives By MICHAEL CROWLEY | Time.com â 6 hrs ago Despite the entreaties of wealthy Republican donors and reporters yearning for a hot new storyline, Chris Christie looks like heâs not going to run for President. Speaking at the Reagan library in California on Tuesday night, Christie delivered a crowd-pleasing address complaining that President Obama had failed to meet his promise and that America needs new leadership to restore its greatness. âThis is not a leadership style, this is a re-election strategy,â he said of the current administrationâs stewardship. âWhat happened to State Senator Obama? When did he decide to become one of the âdividersâ he spoke of so eloquently in 2004?â Christie gave no sign that he actually intends to run. When an audience member posed the question, he declined to issue a straight-forward denial, but referred to an online video montage of the countless ways heâs ruled out a White House bid in the past. âThose are the answers,â he said. And why would he run? However weak the Republican field may look right now, ChristieMania has always been out of sync with his true prospects as a Republican primary candidate. The problem for Christie is that heâs a moderate in a party with little taste for moderation. From a distance, that may not be clear. Everyone knows that Christieâs blunt and tough, happy to tell off his critics with raw Jersey attitude. Heâs also taken on public employee unions and slashed his Democratic-leaning stateâs budget by $3 billion without raising taxes. Heâs avowedly pro-life and opposes gay marriage. He thinks âThe Jersey Shoreâ is idiotic. But it wouldnât be long before conservative voters came to learn about candidate Christieâs many conservative heresies. On illegal immigration, for instance, Christie has called for âan orderly processâ¦ for people to gain citizenship,â and groused about âdemagogueryâ on the issue. He supported the federal assault weapons ban, and in 2009 his campaign called it a âlieâ for Democrats say that Christie âstands withâ the National Rifle Association. He has praised Obamaâs education reform agenda, calling Education Secretary Arne Dunan âa great allyâ on the issue. Christie has also said he believes human activity âplays a contributing roleâ in global warming (though he did pull New Jersey out of a regional cap-and-trade system), and that he âcouldnât agree moreâ with President Obamaâs emphasis on green energy. Christie even bashed his 2009 opponent, Democratic governor John Corzine, for not delivering subsidies to the stateâs solar power manufacturersâa particularly awkward position given the GOPâs fixation with the Solyndra bankruptcy. Last, and certainly not least, is perhaps the most emotional issue for conservatives: Islam and the war on terror. On this score, Christie sounds practically like a liberal blogger. Last summer he chided opponents of the Ground Zero mosque for âoverreactingâ to the threat of Islamic terrorism. He appointed a state judge who is a Muslim, and denounced people who worry about creeping Sharia law in America as âcrazies.â Think about that last comment in the context of conservative anger at Rick Perry for suggesting that anyone who opposes tuition breaks for the children of illegal immigrants doesnât âhave a heart.â The conservatives activists who seem most interestedâapart from Chris Christieâs friends, and national political reportersâin finding a substitute candidate are sure to loathe his record. Christieâs only real hope would be to draw moderate voters away from Mitt Romney. Most likely, the two men would split the partyâs relatively small pool of moderates, allowing Perry to gallop to an easy win. A Christie candidacy would be the best thing that could happen to Perry. (Though he did take a swipe at Perryâs support for instate-college tuition for some illegal immigrants on Tuesday night.) No wonder many of the people most eager for Christie to run seem to be wealthy New York-area Republicans with little connection to their partyâs conservative-populist base. The New York Times identifies two of Christieâs most ardent backers as the hedge fund mogul Paul Singer and Home Depot Founder Ken Langone, two billionaires who both supported Rudy Giulianiâs 2008 campaign. The group also includes Daniel Loeb, who supported Barack Obama before growing disenchanted with the Presidentâs posture on Wall Street. In many ways Giuliani is a good point of comparison. Rudy, too, was a blunt-talking tough guy who hammered through his agenda on hostile Democratic turf. Rudy was also far more moderate than his party. His Wall Street Republican supporters focused on the former point and overlooked the latter. The result was the Giuliani 2008 campaign, one of the greatest disasters in political history. And since Rudyâs â08 bid, the Republican party has only grown more hostile to wish-washy collaborators. Should he stun everyone by diving into the race, Chris Christie might fare less dismally than Rudy. But thereâs plenty of reason to doubt whether he could win the 2012 Republican nomination.