The danger of a presidential campaign that begins the moment the last one ends is the political media needs a story line every day for four years. Today’s hot story is that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may get into the race.
The report comes after Texas Gov. Rick Perry, anointed the frontrunner by the same people who made Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Mitt Romney the frontrunner before him, was embarrassed by about 1,000 delegates at the Florida Republican Party convention, who made Herman Cain the straw poll winner. Nobody not named Cain believes Herman Cain is going to be elected president.
The New York Times’ Nate Silver suggests that the party is still a battle between moderates and conservatives, an intra-party squabble that seemed settled years ago.
One way to view the 2012 campaign is as an effort by the Republican Party to identify a viable, electable alternative to Mr. Romney. With other candidates, like Mr. Perry, potentially failing on the electability front, it is easy to see Mr. Christie’s appeal. The fact that Mr. Christie’s ideology is somewhat amorphous — without, like Mr. Romney’s, seeming slippery — is a potential sign of strength, an indication that he may have the persuasive abilities to rally the party behind him, while also appealing to general election voters.
But as Jon Stewart pointed out last evening, Christie probably isn’t the inside-Republican’s cup of tea, either.