The Daily Telegraph of London calls him “the most talked about figure in American politics.”
Yes, that’s Chris Christie, the ever-quotable governor of New Jersey, who for the past month has played the role of coy maiden, with the Republican Party cast as his persistent suitor.
“I can’t help it that people like me,” Christie seems to say without speaking those actual words, as he continually rebuffs heartfelt entreaties to become the party’s standard bearer in the 2012 presidential election. Who can blame him for enjoying the moment?
After all, 14 years ago Christie couldn’t even win reelection to the Morris County Board of Freeholders. Interestingly, that loss came after Christie got on the bad side of some voters for running for the Assembly only two months after he had won the freeholder seat in 1995.
In other words, this governor has a history when it comes to wanting to jump to a higher office. Then again, that bad experience may be the reason Christie insists he really means it when he says “no” to those who find him preferable to any in the current field of GOP presidential contenders.
There’s nothing wrong with his basking in the limelight, rubbing shoulders with the Republican glitterati while giving a speech Tuesday night at the Reagan Presidential Library in California. Christie said the reason to run must come from inside of him, which seemed to suggest that still might happen.
Leaving the door ajar, of course, keeps the political donations flowing. The Record of Bergen County reports out-of-state donors have pumped beaucoup money into the Republican State Committee’s war chest since Christie became a potential national candidate.
All the fervor will likely end soon, though. October is the deadline to file in early-primary states. Florida, in particular, may move its primary up to Jan. 31. There’s little chance of mounting a viable campaign in that important state within such a small window.
Even if those odds weren’t enough to keep Christie out of the race, he knows his popularity may dwindle as tea-party types figure out he’s not exactly their choice of brew. Christie supports gun control and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and he believes global warming is real.
Besides that, as an Alaska woman told the Washington Times, he’s an Easterner. “They may be OK in the fiscal area,” she said, “but don’t trust them in the actual act of trying to make the U.S. a free country again.” Sorry, governor, not everyone wants to court you.