Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It Ain't Over 'Til The Fat Man Sings

I'm not sure what to make about Gov. Chris Christie's recent public appearances.
On the one hand, he's been pretty vehement and forthright in his declarations that he will not seek the nomination in 2012. On the other, he played it rather coy last night in his speech at the Reagan library. When asked point blank to consider running, he prefaced a rather quick comment with a long diatribe about how someone would have to be pretty egotistical not to consider it when so many people are asking about it.

" 'The fact of the matter is, anybody who has an ego large enough to say, 'Oh, please, please, please, stop asking me to be the leader of the free world, it's such a burden. If you could please just stop.' What kind of crazy egomaniac would you have to be to say, 'Oh, please stop, stop.'

'It's extraordinarily flattering. But by the same token, that heartfelt message you gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. The reason has to reside inside me.' "

*Ahem* One would be more of an egomaniac to actually consider it flattery, but I digress...
His brother does say that he won't run, but then brothers aren't the candidate.
Christie's dilemma at this point can be summed up by another exchange at the speech:

The next questioner addressed the presidential campaign: "Gov. Christie, you're known as a straight-shooter, not one given to playing games. Can you tell us what's going on here? Are you reconsidering or are you standing firm?"

"Listen," said Christie, "I have to tell you the truth -- you folks are an incredible disappointment as an audience." That got big laughs. "The fact that it took to the second question shows you people are off your game. That is not American exceptionalism."

A "straight shooter" wouldn't pussyfoot around, throwing hints and travelling the country on fundraisers....for who, exactly?

Too, there have been a recent spate of television ads extolling Christie's ability to balance the state budget twice (on the backs of working class Jerseyans, of course), lower taxes and "improve" education (he actually makes that claim despite the fact that he's firing teachers, cutting funding AND has overseen a slip in test scores.)

And yet, he keeps his name out there, and allows his name to be tossed about as a potential candidate. That's something he has control over and hasn't exerted it much lately.

Here's my guess, based on a gut feeling: Christie won't run, unless it looks like it's coming down to a floor fight at the GOP convention in 2012. We may know this as early as the end of February. Perry will either be knocked out or will have taken a few surprise states by then. Romney has the funds and the werewithal to remain in the race until that point, no matter how well or poorly he's doing. He can count on the mushy middle of the GOP for the strongest support...I know, it seems weird that the guy who wears magic underwear would be considered the sanest, soberest candidate...and that will garner pluralities in states that he might not win outright.

Christie could jump in during the Spring, and if he can win a few key primaries-- say Colorado and Illinois, maybe Florida if they get brushed back-- Christie will have instant credibility in states that could be blue in 2012.

Until then, he might want to ratchet down the noise.