Christie Now Allegedly “Seriously Considering” Presidential Race
And, the week closes out with another round of rumors about New Jersey's Governor.
As the week comes to a close, the speculation about Chris Christie entering the Presidential race continues, with the latest reports coming from New Jersey’s largest newspaper:
BATON ROUGE — Gov. Chris Christie is seriously rethinking his months of denials and may launch a campaign for the White House after all, a source close to the governor said tonight.
In the last week, Christie has been swayed away from his earlier refusals to run by an aggressive draft effort from a cadre of Republicans and donors unhappy with the GOP field, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Christie has a small window of opportunity to make his final decision, and some political experts think he has only days to declare.
Critical deadlines are approaching, such as the Oct. 31 filing date for the crucial Florida primary.
After more than a year of saying he isn’t interested in the presidency, Christie softened his denials this week. He no longer says he’s unprepared for the White House or that he lacks the requisite fire in the belly for a national campaign.
In addition, the Governor’s wife, Mary Pat, no longer objects to a presidential run, according to an adviser to the governor.
The governor has famously said “my wife would kill me” as a reason not to run. However, a few months ago former first lady Barbara Bush called Mary Pat to assuage her concerns about life in the White House, the adviser said.
The New York Post reported today that Christie had a change of heart after speaking with former First Lady Nancy Reagan and was now reconsidering.
We’ve seen this speculation go back and forth for at least a week now, some close to him, such as his own brother, have said he isn’t running while others have claimed that he is. The only statement we have from Christie himself is what he said in the Q&A after his speech at the Reagan Library, which some in the media interpreted as leaving the door open, but which sounded to me like a repetition of his previous statement that he wasn’t. Given all of that, I’m not at all sure what to make of these new reports. They seem like more of the same rumors, but Joe Gandelman sees something more significant:
It sounds like someone on his staff. The source’s identity is being fiercely protected. I did stories when I was on newspapers where this kind of source was sometimes the person who was being written about. Editors usually sign off on the use of this kind of technique if they know the person’s name and it is considered solid.
Perhaps so, but even if it true it still brings up all the questions I’ve raised before about a Chris Christie candidacy, especially in light of this report from the Wall Street Journal:
The Christie boom is being fueled by dissatisfaction with the party’s current roster of candidates by some in the GOP. But because of his largely unexamined policy positions, Christie watchers in New Jersey predict the governor might not end that soul-searching if he decides to run.
“Conservatives are enthused,” said Patrick Murray, chief pollster at New Jersey’s Monmouth University. “But when they get to know him, they might not feel quite so enthusiastic.”
Christie backers, such as billionaire John Catsimatidis, argue the governor’s core appeal lies in his character and style, and less so in his individual positions.
I’ve long suspected that most of the reasons that national Republicans like Chris Christie have more to do with his blunt, plain-spoken style and less to do with an analysis of what he’s done during the 20 months or so he’s actually held office. More importantly, as I’ve noted before, Christie would seem to post a problem for many on the right because of positions he holds a number of hot-button issues:
1. During the 2009 campaign for governor, Christie endorsed New Jersey’s relatively strict gun control laws. He also won the endorsement of the New Jersey Environmental Foundation, becoming the first statewide Republican to do so in 30 years.
2. Just a few months ago, he stated in a speech that global warming was “real” and “manmade,” adding that “when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”
3. Christie has accused conservatives in his state of demagoguery on immigration. And in 2008, while he was still a U.S. Attorney, he told a New Jersey Latino organization that ”Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime. The whole phrase of ‘illegal immigrant’ connotes that the person, by just being here, is committing a crime.” The comment prompted Lou Dobbs to call for Christie’s resignation. Christie’s staff later explained he was merely making a technical point about the law.
Christie has also distanced himself from the GOP’s “Drill Baby Drill” rhetoric on energy policy by supporting a ban on drilling off the coast of New Jersey. he supports civil unions for gays and lesbians, and he’s received criticism from some quarters on the right for not joining the multi-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. In other words, he’s more like Mitt Romney than Rick Perry, and given the antipathy of most Tea Party activists and movement conservatives toward Romney, it’s unclear why they’d rally around another politician so similar to him in many ways.
Do Christie’s supporters really think that his style is going to be enough to make up for all this, or to make up for the numerous occasions on which he’s not only said that he doesn’t want to run for President, but that he didn’t think he was ready?
Maybe it will, but the more likely possibility is that Republican voters will start becoming disenchanted with Christie the more they learn about him:
In modern politics, “savior” candidates are never again as popular as they are the day before they announce. To start down the list of reasons: Neither opposing candidates nor the press can unleash all-out hostile-investigative scrutiny on a mere “potential” candidate. But the instant the candidate declares, anything goes. A teasing, courted candidate in “will he or won’t he?” mode — Chris Christie, as of this moment — spends all day every day being told how great he is. A real candidate spends all day begging for money; facing the risk of errors; and knowing the certainty of making enemies and giving offense. The errors come from debates, press ops, responses to criticism. The offense comes from having to choose sides on policy issues that a non-candidate can ignore or finesse.
Exactly. If this were April, and Christie hadn’t spent so much time essentially saying he didn’t believe he was prepared to be President, then it might be a different story. At this late date, with little actual evidence that Republican voters are dissatisfied with the current field, this insider clamor for Christie to enter the race strikes me as little more than a pipe dream. If Christie is smart, he’ll ignore the siren songs being whispered in his ear.