JONATHAN CHAIT JULY 20, 2011
Of all the rumored and hoped-for Republican presidential candidacies, the one that baffles me most is Chris Christie. He squeaked out an election by running in an off-year, when Republicans enjoyed a huge national turnout discrepancy, and against an unpopular incumbent. He's won legislative victories by taking advantage of the divided, corrupt, relentlessly parochial Democratic opposition in his state. But Christie is not a "political talent." He's an anti-talent, unpopular even in his own state, even setting aside questions of whether his Jersey-tough guy style would play well nationally, which I suspect it would not.
Why, then, would Republicans want to cajole him into the race? Here's where the argument gets even more bizarre. His very unpopularity has become part of the rationale for his candidacy. Maggie Haberman notes the latest bad poll for Christie, and concludes that it "underscores what those hoping he will run for president say, that his time to make a national bid could pass him by when 2016 rolls around."
So the idea is that Christie has already grown so unpopular in his home state that he's likely to lose re-election. And this means he should... run for president? Is the idea here that they can introduce him to a new, national electorate that won't have enough time to develop a full-scale loathing by November 2012?