As I predicted a little over one week ago, Gov. Chris Christie made a sort-of-definite, for-the-time-being, decision to stay out of the 2012 Republican presidential primary and concentrate on doing the best he can to shore up the GOP in a state that is turning a darker shade of blue with each passing election. That I can see, the only ones shocked by this decision are the Establishment types who did everything they could to get him to run.
Perhaps now they can get him to run on a treadmill; the last thing Americans want is a president who has his own zip code. Seriously, folks: while I’m sure Der Blimpmeister would be the hands-down favorite to play Santa at the White House Christmas Party, it’s the only set of optics I can think of that would accrue to his favor as the Commander-in-Chief. The William Howard Taft thing is soooooo early 20th century.
And so today – after weeks of basking in the glow of a Drive-By Media-induced “Draft Christie” campaign that elicited a collective yawn from the nation and a collective groan from New Jersey (a clear majority of whom have no desire to inflict Gov. Zeppelin on their fellow Americans) – the Big Man convened a presser yesterday to announce – yet again – that he would not be running.
“New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me,” Christie, 49, teased at the hour-long press conference.
He spoke seriously at first, reading from prepared remarks about how he realized that he wasn’t ready to walk away from the state after only 20 months in office.
“I will not abandon my commitment to New Jersey,” he said. “I will fix a broken New Jersey. I’m proud of the work we’ve done, but I know I’m not nearly done.”
Christie, who insisted that he had made up his mind only last night, said the decision had nothing to do with the uphill battle he would have had to climb to join a race with two clear frontrunners. He joked that he knew it was possible to overcome those obstacles when the Republican candidates started taking shots at him.
“That’s when I knew I could win,” Christie said.
Whoa…back up a second. Gov. Christie made up his mind ONLY LAST NIGHT?! Are we therefore to conclude that for the past several months he was just being coy when he kept insisting over and over again that he would not run and that his place was here in New Jersey?
Apparently so. According to NRO’s Robert Costa:
Gov. Chris Christie is finally and definitively out of the presidential race. Some think it was, given his long history of denials, a highly predictable “no.” But in behind-the-scenes talks with National Review Online, Christie aides, confidants, and donors said he was much closer to launching a candidacy than he let on.
Costa then enumerates the five REAL reasons Der Blimpmeister will remain docked at the Trenton Statehouse mooring mast:
There was never enough of it. … They certainly had media buzz, but that was all that was guaranteed — a big risk in a compressed period when staffers, operatives, and activist organization are crucial.
For weeks, we heard that Christie had billionaires ready to pour millions into a presidential campaign. … Christie knew if he flipped and jumped in, the money would come, but how much was an open question.
At today’s meeting with reporters, Christie said the upcoming primary and electoral requirements were “not a factor” in his decision. But his confidants tell a different story. With Florida’s filing date approaching, and Iowa’s caucuses looming, the schedule had become too cramped.
At 49 years old, Christie is a young man, with many miles left on his political odometer. …there is no rush, and the chatter of recent weeks only helps those future opportunities. Christie reiterated at his press conference that he has many “bold” projects coming up.
A History of Caution
Christie told reporters that he “did not feel right in my gut” that a run made sense, even though his family liked the idea and countless prominent Republicans were ready to join his ranks. His caution, aides say, was to be expected. He has a history of being courted, and those experiences informed his thinking this week.
And yet, this is the same Chris Christie who solemnly declared that:
“I will not abandon my commitment to New Jersey…I will fix a broken New Jersey. I’m proud of the work we’ve done, but I know I’m not nearly done.”
At least until a sufficient amount of time, money, scheduling opportunities and other things outweigh any “commitment” he has made to the residents of the Garden State who pulled the lever for him, right?