Last week it was Paul Ryan. This week it’s the other of the two names at the top of Republicans’ wish list of potential GOP challengers to Barack Obama in the 2012 election.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson told panel moderator Christine Amanpour:
I don’t think Republicans regard this as a strong field. So there is still talk of people getting in the race. Not just [Sarah] Palin but last week, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was in Chicago and had two meetings with serious Republican groups from the Midwest.
He is actively, I think, considering getting in this race, which would throw things open once more. But the desire for that to happen … it shows that they are not happy with the current field, they think it needs to be filled out in an important way. I don’t know if that is going to happen, but the desire for many Republicans to expand this field shows that they are not content with it.
It goes without saying that the current crop of Republican hopefuls lacks a clear, strong leader who has a lock on the party’s nomination. Rick Perry, the current frontrunner, is viewed by many, even on the right, as too extreme. No one else so far has generated fire in the bellies of would-be voters opposed to a second Obama term.
Chris Christie has the potential to be that candidate. For a nation that has likely learned the hard way that prior executive experience is essential for a president, Christie can point to his experience as New Jersey governor. He has also demonstrated an ability slash spending, cutting $1 billion from the state’s 2011 budget—nearly half of its $2.2 billion deficit.
On the other hand, the areas in which these cuts were made, which include education, will resonate more with conservative voters than with liberals, but the die has been cast. Americans are more politically polarized than at any previous time in history. Perhaps a partisan candidate running against the president is the best anyone can hope for.
Of course, all this is speculation. Christie has stated emphatically that he has no intention of throwing his hat in the ring. Then again…
- Obama weekly address calls for unity as 9/11 approaches
- NJ Gov. Christie taken to hospital after complaining of difficulty breathing
- Has Chris Christie released a “campaign ad?” (Video)
- It’s official: Chris Christie will not run in 2012
- Bill Clinton confabs with Paul Ryan, warns Dems against “doing nothing”
- Rachel Maddow edits out Paul Ryan’s responses to constituents (Video)
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