New Jersey Governor Chris Christie isn’t running for president in 2012. He says that every other week, to whatever contributor or constituent or press person happens to be within earshot.He’s flattered, of course. Really flattered. Amazing that a guy like him, still in the first half of his first term, would even be mentioned, much less urged to run, for his party’s presidential nomination.
But he can’t do it. Really he can’t. Not seasoned enough, he says. He needs to get things squared away in New Jersey before he could even begin to think about it. And he’s got a long way to go in New Jersey.
In the weeks when he’s not denying that he’s considering running for president, Mr. Christie flirts with the idea. He examines it, the way you might examine lovely objets d’art; holding them up, observing their features, turning them into and out of the light. It’s purposeful: you’re supposed to see his interest, you’re supposed to disregard his denial.
The interest (his and the interest of those who want him to run) gives him leverage. He hosts the other contenders; has them down for dinner to look over the political landscape. They would all like his endorsement. They would all like his fund-raising network. They would all like him not to run. So they trundle down to see him, with coded messages of enticement. They speak of him adoringly afterward. It’s all part of the show. He’s available to them, but not available to the GOP primary electorate, not yet anyway, you never know.
The New York Times has a piece today that captures the basics of Gov. Christie’s political tease. It’s worth reading. The truth is there is still time for Mr. Christie to get into the race. He probably has another month or two to decide. And he wouldn’t be saying “oh no I couldn’t possibly do it” over and over again unless there was at least some small chance that he could,