Now or Never
10.03.11 12:23 AM ET
Chris Christie's Best Reason to Run
With Obama’s reelection prospects looking dim, 2012 is the New Jersey governor’s best shot. He’s highly popular, he can make himself ready, and his wife no longer objects, says Mark McKinnon. Plus, Andrew Romano in Newsweek on the search for a new messiah.
There are a thousand reasons why Gov. Chris Christie shouldn’t run for president. And there may be only a few good reasons to try. But there is one very compelling reason why he should pull the trigger and go.
The presidential hinges of history only swing toward a few people, and rarely more than once. If Chris Christie ever wanted to be president—ever harbored a distant notion of sitting behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office—he has to go now.
The election of 2016 may as well be a million light years away. One can only imagine that Christie, like many other budding Republican superstars, figured he could ripen on the vine before jumping into the fray four years from now. But, that’s what they were all thinking a year ago. And a year ago, despite the economy, President Obama’s chances of being reelected still looked like a pretty good bet.
Not anymore. The average consumer confidence index when a president running for reelection wins is 95. When they lose, it’s 76. Today the number is 55.
So, now it looks a lot more likely that 2016 will be a reelection year for a Republican incumbent. Christie might think he could be VP, and he’d probably be on the short list. But if Mitt Romney is the nominee, it’s highly unlikely he’s going to put another northeasterner on the ticket. (And much more likely that Sen. Marco Rubio will get the nod no matter the nominee.)
And, after a few more years as governor of New Jersey, Christie will be old news with a lot more baggage. You gotta go when you’re hot. Ask Barack Obama.
Yes, there are all the obvious logistical challenges. But, getting in this late, Christie creates an instant media tsunami and could surf his way through the first primaries on the late-breaking strength of the wave. Christie probably had two thoughts watching Gov. Rick Perry: (1) it is hard to get in late, but (2) I can sure as hell do better than he’s doing.
And Christie can fade the organization issues and expected criticism with his customary brash candor. Just be straight up about it. If he gets asked about Pakistan in a debate two weeks after he announces, he should just say, “I got into this race two weeks ago. The reality is I have not had time to be properly briefed on our foreign policy. But I will be. You know I’ll be tough and make sure we’re secure. But we’ve got a crisis here at home right now, and that’s why I’m running.”
Christie has said there were three reasons he wouldn’t run. He wasn’t ready. His wife didn’t want him to. And he wasn’t crazy.
He can easily knock the down the “I’m not ready” issue: “I said a few months ago I wasn’t ready to be president. That was true. I don’t think anyone is really ready to be president before they enter the Oval Office for the first time. President Obama certainly wasn’t. The problem is, he’s still not. I will be.”
Apparently, Christie’s wife has dropped her resistance to the idea.
That leaves crazy. But the reality is that if you’re in the big league political game, and you have a chance to be president, and the country really needs you to be president, you’d be crazy not to try.
You have Mike DuHaime as your chief political strategist. He's one of the smartest guys in the business. And the funniest. Let him sweat the details. You just go out there and lay some smack on 'em and have fun Christie style. You may never get another chance.