One Cheer--Two at the Most--for Candidate Christie?
Regarding the governor of New Jersey, two items:
Item: Toward the middle of last week, I heard from a friend who lives in New Jersey and knows the politics of the place in some detail. (Living in the Golden State, I rely on friends for my news of the Garden State.) My friend had reached a startling conclusion: Gov. Christie shouldn't run for president. Why? Because Christie isn't nearly as conservative as Republican primary voters now believe.
Once Christie's opponents began pointing out the thinness of his record as a conservative--he has bashed back the rate of growth of state spending, but the budget is still bigger than when he took office, and he has failed to enact structural reforms, improve schools, or, really, to do much of anything else at all--once this became understood, Christie's support in the tea party would drop sharply. "He'd lose," my friend said, "and then he'd come back to New Jersey too damaged to be effective. It would be the worst of both worlds."
Item: Yesterday, I heard from a second friend in New Jersey--like the first, someone who knows the scene in some detail. A lot of establishment Republicans, he said, have been in touch with Gov. Christie. Arguing that Romney cannot appeal to the tea party while Perry cannot win over Independents, they have told Christie he should consider a presidential run nothing less than his patriotic duty. "The pressure on Christie has become intense," my friend said. The result? Christie is reconsidering his decision to stay out of the race. This second friend, be it noted, agreed with the first. Christie, he said, really isn't nearly as conservative as people suppose--and may well prove a much less impressive candidate than he now looks.
Last night, my friend drew my attention to Paul Gigot's appearance yesterday on Fox. A meticulous reporter, my friend and I both know, Paul would never say Christie is considering a run unless Paul knew it to be true.
In short, Ann Coulter's most fervent wish may yet come true: Chris Christie, plain-talking, hard-swinging Internet phenomenon, may be about to announce his candidacy for president.
But people who know a lot more about him than I do aren't at all happy.