Ending days of speculation by pundits everywhere, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced on Tuesday that he will not be running for President in 2012. Christie was the latest in Republican sudden superstars that had risen to the top of the popularity lists of potential candidates to join the race.
Christie stayed consistent with his point that indeed, he is not interested in running for President. Even though that had been his position of some time, the announcement still caught some by surprise due to his recent popularity among a lackluster group of candidates.
I took away three points from Christie’s announcement and what it said about him and the race to be the GOP nominee.
Republicans are craving an exciting superstar to rally the troops.
This point isn’t exactly stunning or surprising, but this goes farther than the current GOP field is lackluster or at the very least flawed. Republicans are craving a leader with charisma, conservative street credibility, general electability, but more importantly someone that will inspire them, not someone that is the least of all evils.
If the difference is hard to imagine, think about the difference when Democrats nominated John Kerry, versus nominating Barack Obama. That’s the difference between someone who can inspire versus settling for the best available option. Right now, Republicans have the sense that they are settling for the best available candidate.
Christie represented a new spark and potentially someone who could rally the troops. The fact that he’s not running means a current candidate must either learn how to motivate, or the GOP needs to hope that the best available candidate is good enough.
Christie is no fan of the Tea Party Grinder.
Any Republican Presidential primary season is going to be filled with tests of conservative purity. However, the Tea Party has intensified that process to a new level.
As the new darling of the process, Christie would have needed to prove his conservative credentials immediately. Christie would have been forced to either defend or change his moderate social views that would have made him very competitive in the general election.
As a Republican Governor of a blue east coast state, Christie’s electability advantages would not shine during a Tea Party litmus test. So Christie may have been quickly in a position to have to tell the Tea Party that if they want someone to defeat President Obama, they may need to compromise. And, as we all know, compromise is not exactly the forte of the Tea Party at this time.
Running for President takes more than electability, it takes money.
Gov. Christie is reportedly a pretty smart guy. In deciding to not run for President he had to make the difficult decision to refuse to believe that all of the positive polling, and remember how much money it will take to win next year’s election. He obviously is good at math because he did the required arithmetic to realize that there is not enough time to raise the money needed to run an effective primary and general election campaign.
With various states moving up their primary dates, the first set of significant GOP primary elections are less than three months away. To set up the kind of ground game in those first few states without significant money would be nearly impossible. If Christie did run for President, he would need to be fundraising nonstop between now and Christmas, amass a top notch campaign organization made up of people who aren’t currently working for other candidates and somehow pretend to run the state of New Jersey.
A smart man knows his limits, and apparently, Christie’s a smart man.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.