The Republican primary electorate, if the journalism devoted to its ever-changing tastes is to be believed, has come to resemble an indecisive diner staring at the circling dessert cart. Will they fill up on Romney? Why settle for Romney when they could have Bachmann? A little Bachmann doesn't tide over a voter hungry for Romney. And having ordered and tasted them all, aren't they just going to wind up salivating over the banana split anyway?
So attention turns again to Chris Christie.
The New Jersey governor who has spent much of the year swearing up and down that he's not considering a run for president is now "reconsidering," says Politico, citing Republican sources. The lingering insecurity among Republican voters about their frontrunners so far is a factor in Christie's deliberations, the sources report.
If Republican voters really aren't satisfied with their options so far, it indicates two truths. First, some of those voters just really don't like Mitt Romney, the front-runner since the earliest of early-going and the candidate who polls best against President Barack Obama. Second, Rick Perry, the confident Texan who was supposed to enter the race like the cavalry cresting the hill has seriously failed to impress.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s candidacy has failed to clear a basic bar with elites and some donors, and his shoddy debate performance in Orlando has only highlighted the window for someone who Republicans searching for a Mitt Romney alternative can rally around.
Christie’s potential candidacy has been an increasingly fevered fantasy of a certain cadre of some media and business elites — mostly based in New York, with a smattering of California technology and entertainment players — since last summer. That’s when he showed up at a Sun Valley conference hosted by the investment banker Allen and Co. and wowed the crowd, including Rupert Murdoch, with what many in attendance described as a nimble mind and a speaking style that was both articulate and blunt-spoken.
But after months of going out of his way to end the speculation, Christie started indicating he would at least think about getting in during the past week, the sources said, a period in which he held an event with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — who has strongly indicated he’d like to see another entry to the field — and had a meeting with a group of major New York donors.
Not just Politico, either. He's thinking about it, the New York Post says.
It is probably a good indicator of conservative hunger for a Christie candidacy that we have entered the stage of Pundit Persona Adoption. Thus was Jennifer Rubin's Right Turn column inhabiting the Christie mind even before this week's Republican debate began. A fictional Bill Kristol even clamors from the wings:
Christie would then turn and say, “Mary Pat, this is sort of embarrassing.” Mary Pat would answer: “You think you could do any better?” Before he could answer, one of his kids would yell out, “Dad, it’s that Mr. Kristol on the phone again. He says he’s coming over here if you don’t talk to him.”
But does the guy actually want to run for president? And can he? An interesting group is still dumping cold water on the news, including Ari Fleischer, the former spokesman for President George W. Bush. Fleischer has been tweeting skeptically about Christie's chances of entering the presidential race since the latest boomlet of interest arrived. It's too late for Christie to raise enough money and get "up 2 speed on issues" (ouch?) in time to make a play for the Republican nomination, Fleischer says. There is "no on ramp now" for Christie, Fleischer asserts. Speaking fluent Twitterese, the spokesman explains: "Xpectations r 2do things instantly, but it takes time 2get in national shape."
He also offers an explanation for Christie's backers to push a national run, one that Christie fans won't like. All is not well back in Trenton, Fleischer says:
$ ppl are telling Christie he can't win re-election in NJ so he needs 2 run 4 potus. It's now or never, they're telling him.
Somehow, I think they'll come up with a better line than "I'm running for President because I can't get reelected governor" if the time comes.