JONATHAN CHAIT JUNE 1, 2011
First Read says that attention must be paid to a Chris Christie presidential candidacy:
*** Pay more attention to Christie: Forget about Sarah Palin’s "dinner" last night with Donald Trump, one of whom isn’t running for president and the other of whom probably won’t run, either. The more important dinner -- at least as far as the “summer of speculation” goes -- took place across the river in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie (R) met with Iowa Republican donors. In attendance: Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Stepien, Communications Director Maria Comella, NJ RNC Committeeman Bill Palatucci, and NY-NJ Port Authority Chairman David Samson. And get this: Christie’s wife was present, too. She was a question mark, and it's a signal we're told that shouldn't be overlooked.
*** The reason: He has the ability to put together an “A” campaign: Christie told the donors he was focused on remaining New Jersey’s governor, the AP writes. “What we heard from him very clearly was the same response he has given publicly: that he made a commitment to New Jersey and continuing to work to solve their problems,” one of the Iowa donors said. And it’s still unlikely he ever gets in. But consider these things: 1) he took the meeting, 2) he has agreed to go to Iowa later this summer to keynote an education summit there, and 3) if he were getting in late, he wouldn’t say he was getting in right now. Of all the folks sitting on the 2012 sidelines -- including Palin -- Christie is the one who could put together an “A” campaign. Fundraising? Check (with Wall Street’s help). Elite enthusiasm? Check. Tea Party enthusiasm? Check. And then there’s this for Christie: the realization that 2012 could be easier than 2016, with a potential tough run for re-election in 2013.
I agree that Christie would be in a very strong position to unite elites and the Tea Party base. I continue to believe he'd make a very bad nominee. I suspect his appeal derives in part from the Republicans' desire to nominate a candidate who will become enraged with President Obama and physically pummel him.
Meanwhile Jim DeMint, who has recruited a lot of right-wing candidates to run in Senate campaigns but has garnered little grassroots acclaim, is pondering a run:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says he is considering running for president after frustrated conservative activists have pleaded with him to run. ...
Two GOP factions have begun to draft DeMint for a presidential run.
One is organized by Richard Viguerie, a conservative pioneer in the field of direct-mail political marketing, who helped Reagan win election in 1980.
The other is Conservatives4DeMint, which claims to have about 4,700 members and regional coordinators in 35 states.
Viguerie held a Saturday conference call with allies to plan the initial stages of the draft movement.
“I’ve asked him about the presidential thing twice in the last five or six weeks,” Viguerie said of his recent conversations with DeMint.
“I think he’s giving it serious consideration. Hopefully this will push him over the line and give him the encouragement that there would be a strong base of support,” Viguerie added.
He said DeMint compares to Goldwater in 1964, whom conservatives drafted to challenge President Johnson...
Uh, you do remember what happened when you nominated Goldwater, right? This is one of those things that separates conservative Republicans from liberal Democrats. When George McGovern is invoked, it's always as a negative example. You never see Democrats openly pining to draft the next George McGovern.
And in the latest Iowa caucus poll by PPP, Jon Huntsman checks in at one -- that's one voter:
As I tweeted earlier today one Iowa Republican on the poll we will release tomorrow said they would vote for Jon Huntsman if the election was today- not 1% but one respondent, period.
Here are some facts about Huntsman's supporter:
-He is 'not sure' when it comes to Barack Obama's job performance- doesn't approve or disapprove. He reports having voted for Obama in 2008.
-Huntsman is the only potential Republican candidate he has a favorable opinion of. He expresses 'no opinion' about Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, Fred Karger, Paul Ryan, and Gary Johnson. He has an unfavorable opinion of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.
By my calculation, one voter out of 481 equals about 0.2%.
I'll let Dean Wormer announce Huntsman's latest score:
Moderate, sober and smart is no way to go through a Republican primary, son.