Christie’s ‘awful’ prospects

In rejecting the possibility of seeking the Republican presidential nomination this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday offered some concise insight into why many skilled people decline to run for president.

Christie said he had sought advice from a number of former presidential candidates — both successful and unsuccessful. Those who lost described the campaign process as “a nightmare,” he said. Winning candidates said it was merely “awful.”

That’s not exactly the sort of thing to put on a recruiting poster for presidential candidates. But it is a pretty apt description of a process that now lasts for more than two years and puts candidates through a marathon of debates, personal appearances and intense scrutiny of their public actions and private lives.

Christie said the prospect of participating in such a process wasn’t the main reason he declined to become a candidate. Rather, he reiterated his belief that he is simply not ready to run for president. “Now is not my time,” he said Tuesday.

The man who was elected governor of New Jersey just two years ago also said, “I have a commitment to New Jersey that I simply will not abandon. So, like it or not New Jersey, you’re stuck with me.”

Christie’s penchant for blunt, tough statements is one of the things that has attracted many Republicans, including some top GOP campaign donors, to his camp. They also like his hard-nosed budget cutting in New Jersey, combined with his moderate views on social issues. Many believe he was best positioned to challenge President Barack Obama.

It was pressure from big-money Republicans and countless individual GOP voters that caused Christie to reconsider his earlier statements that he wouldn’t seek the nomination, he said. But in the end, he determined his initial assessment of his own readiness had not changed.

It can be no easy task to decide you’re unprepared to be president, when some very wealthy and influential people are telling you just the opposite.

Whether Christie’s primary motive for rejecting a campaign was his own readiness to be president, his commitment to voters in New Jersey or the prospect that he would be engaging in a process that would be, at best, “awful,” Republicans will have to now rely on Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain or someone else not named Christie to serve as their political savior.


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