In September 2011, when Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was considering making a last-minute entry into the presidential race, I pointed out an incongruity in Republican attitudes toward him. Many Republican organizations and activists, including some very conservative ones, were enthusiastic about the possibility that Mr. Christie might enter the presidential race. But Mr. Christie’s history of actions and issue statements was fairly moderate.
Roughly 18 months later, the attitude toward Mr. Christie has changed. Mr. Christie has not been invited to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, which will gather next month. Mr. Christie’s failure to be invited is not a mere oversight; virtually every other prominent Republican who might be a plausible nominee in 2016 has been asked to participate.
Isn’t it premature to conclude very much about 2016 dynamics based on something that is happening in February 2013?
Actually, as I wrote in my piece on Marco Rubio week, the Republican primary is already under way. Candidates like Mr. Rubio, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, and Bobby Jindal are already positioning themselves with an eye toward 2016.