Gee. Chris Christie is out of the presidential race before he was even in. And beyond the Chattering Class on TV, was there really a national groundswell of support among Republicans to see the New Jersey gov running for the White House?
Don’t think so.
And WaPo pundit Dana Milbank apparently agrees with me. He opines in his opinion article “Chris Christie, such a presidential tease“:
The political world was shocked and dismayed to discover that Chris Christie is not running for president.
Presumably this is because the New Jersey governor dropped so many hints about joining the race for the Republican nomination.
Such as this one from last year: “Short of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running. I’m not running!”
And this one in February: “What do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I’m not running? Apparently, I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I’m not running.”
The incorrigible flirt!
Christie even made his case to late-night comedians. “You might run for president?” Jimmy Fallon asked in November.
“No chance,” the governor replied.
Heedless of the disavowals, the press continued to puff up the Christie candidacy, aided by establishment Republicans eager to have the governor in the race. But when Christie went before the cameras Tuesday afternoon in Trenton, it was clear that, for all the frenzy, it had never been a real possibility.
“No matter how many times I was asked the question, for me the answer was never anything but no,” Christie pointed out, accurately. While he said he weighed “earnestly” the pleas for him to run, “In the end, what I’ve always felt was the right decision remains the right decision today. Now is not my time.”
A reporter asked Christie why he thought “the drum beats have gotten louder.”
“You’d have to ask the people who were beating the drums,” the non-candidate answered.
Good idea. Christie emerges from this extended national period of ego-stroking with his stature enhanced by the pervasive, and baseless, speculation. The same cannot be said of the Republicans who peddled the Christie non-story and the journalists who took their hype seriously.
So that pretty much leaves the GOP nomination to Mitt Romney.
Oh, wait. What about Sarah Palin? Is she coming in? Or staying on the sidelines?
Here’s from Politico, “GOP looks past Sarah Palin for 2012“:
Sarah Palin hasn’t closed the door yet on a presidential bid. But few Republicans appear to be waiting for her answer.
Never was it clearer than Tuesday, when Chris Christie’s announcement that he would not run in 2012 prompted a throng of strategists to conclude the Republican field was finally set – never mind Palin’s indecision. A new poll published on the same day revealed that two thirds of Republicans don’t want her to run.
After spending the better part of three years in the center of the national political spotlight, the former vice presidential candidate appears to have worn out the patience of the GOP.
Even as Republicans continue to cast about for new options, only a distinct minority are gazing longingly toward Wasilla – or wherever else Palin is in her secretive, largely apolitical travel schedule.
“She stirs up a lot of conservatives in the base, but I don’t think conservatives are looking to her as a presidential nominee who can save the conservative movement,” said Chuck Muth, the Nevada-based conservative activist. “What niche in the conservative movement does Sarah Palin fill that’s not already filled by one of the other candidates?”
Ralph Reed, who heads the Faith and Freedom Coalition, suggested that Palin could resonate with the same kind of voter who gravitates toward Bachmann and Rick Perry.
“It’s a person who is a devout Christian and a solid social conservative who also has a lot of credentials with the tea party movement,” Reed said. “When you’ve got Herman Cain beating frontrunners to win [the Florida straw poll] it shows you where the activists are right now and I think that’s right in Palin’s wheelhouse.”
But he cautioned: “There’d be room for her, but the clock is ticking.”
Palin sounded unconcerned about the pressure of timing last week when she rolled past her own end-of-September deadline for deciding on the presidential race. She told Fox News that she still has to consider whether being a candidate would “prohibit [her] from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me.”
She’s not hurrying that thought process, either: Palin’s traveling to South Korea next week to speak at an economic forum, even though filing deadlines in New Hampshire and South Carolina are weeks away.
In the meantime, more and more primary voters appear to be drifting out of Palin’s reach.
Indeed, as she drags out her 2012 decision, a politician who has often complained of being talked about unfavorably is risking an even grimmer fate: Not being talked about at all.
Ah. What a tease.