Wednesday, October 05, 2011

No Christie in 2012

In case you missed it, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, an authoritarian anti-union bully but also one of the saner figures in today's Republican Party (and one who stands against right-wing Republican orthodoxy on a number of issues), announced yesterday that he isn't running for president in 2012.

He's not running, and he says he means it this time.

Proclaiming "Now is not the time," Gov. Chris Christie announced at a jammed Statehouse news conference today that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

"New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me," Christie, 49, teased at the hour-long press conference.

A Quinnipiac poll also released today showed Christie tied with Romney for the lead, though at a meager 17 percent, five ahead of Cain and ten ahead of Perry:

"This survey shows Gov. Christie is walking away from the possibility -- at least today -- to be elected president of the United States. Whether he would have won the GOP nomination or the election will never be known, but the data indicate he had a serious chance to win it all," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Maybe, but I don't think so. He was doing well in the polls (if 17 percent is "well") largely because people don't know him well -- and because Republicans, surveying a terribly weak field, are still looking for their savior. Perry hasn't exactly worked out as planned, so... why not Christie?

Why not? Oh, because I suspect that his numbers would have dropped as people (that is, more specifically, right-wing Republican primary voters) got to know him better. As I wrote last week:

Republicans also don't like people who tell you what they're thinking when what they're thinking isn't right-wing orthodoxy. And Christie has proven -- much to his credit, I might add -- that he's anything but an orthodox right-winger. For example, while there may be quite a bit to recommend him to conservatives (including to the extremist base that votes in GOP primaries), such as his penchant for union-bashing, he actually appointed a Muslim to the state judiciary and, when attacked for doing so by those on the right fearmongering about Sharia law, called such concerns "crap," pointed to the "ignorance" behind the criticism, and said he was "tired of dealing with the crazies." That's no way to talk about your own party, particularly if you want to be its presidential nominee -- which, in the GOP means cozying up to the crazies (just ask Mitt Romney).

Why isn't Christie running? Maybe because he's smart enough to know this. He gets that he's not what his party is looking for -- and that, in the end, he'd probably lose badly. So why not stay in Trenton? Sure, he's not terribly popular in his homestate, but at least he has a future there.

And so, as Michele Bachmann put it, "the table is set." Now it's just a matter of whether anyone decides to crash the party.

Whatcha been up to, Sarah?


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