I joined Fox and Friends this morning to talk about a potential run by Chris Christie, Republican governor of New Jersey, for President.
What's clear to me is that there is a huge part of the Republican primary electorate that still wants someone other than Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee. After three debates this month voters are frustrated. Romney has effectively been campaigning for four years, so he's polished behind the podium; but from my perspective, he lacks charisma, authenticity, and an intuitive commitment to limited government.
(I heard Cokie Roberts on NPR this morning discussing voter's uncertainty toward Romney and she chalked it up to his being a Mormon, which I think is quite possibly the last thing on most voters minds right now as unemployment remains above 9%, the stock market has been taking nose dives, and we're facing a double-dip recession!)
There was, of course, a lot of hope for Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) when he entered the race in August (myself included); but during the debates he's failed to deliver at a level that is expected of him or of a presidential nominee – especially on the issue of immigration.
As far as I can tell this is one of the unspoken challenges of coming to the game so late. It's not simply about raising money; it's the fact that it's very difficult to make a seamless leap from the state-level (even a very big state like Texas) to the national stage.
I know there are a lot of Republicans out there who might want to see Christie throw his hat in the race, but I'm not sure he would be the panacea candidate voters are looking for. While I applaud his work in expanding school choice and clamping down on public sector unions in New Jersey, I think a lot of voters would be surprised to learn that he's not consistently conservative on some other big ticket items – namely the environment and climate change and gun control.
In the end I suspect Christie – who hasn't even completed a full term as New Jersey governor – would run into similar problems at Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani before him. He's a Republican with blue state baggage.
Still, when the stakes are this high, we need all the ideas and all the potential candidates we can get.