Chris Christie’s best shot at the White House is to keep not thinking about it

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Jon Ward
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      Jon Ward

      Jon Ward covers the White House and national politics for The Daily Caller. He covered the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency and the first year of Barack Obama's presidency for The Washington Times. Prior to moving to national politics, Jon worked for the Times' city desk and bureaus in Virginia and Maryland, covering local news and politics, including the D.C. sniper shootings and subsequent trial, before moving to state politics in Maryland. He and his wife have two children and live on Capitol Hill. || <a href="mailto:jw@dailycaller.com">Email Jon</a>

In a normal election cycle, the talk of a run for president by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would be nothing more than table talk, idle chatter indulged with the knowledge that the Republican Party abides by traditions and rules and thus usually nominates the next candidate in line.

However, it’s already established that in 2012, even if there was a front-runner to challenge President Obama, which there isn’t, there will be no anointings given simply for paying dues. Not at this moment, not with these stakes and this president.

But while the cautions to Christie against running are strong, and come from those within the GOP who profess nothing but admiration for him, it may be the time and place where even the usually unbreakable argument that a reformist governor cannot be taken seriously if he left his job undone could be dissembled and disregarded.

Talk to those close to Christie, and they are fully aware that much of the governor’s magnetism comes from his singular focus on one set of issues in one particular job: his.

“Step one is to do the best job he can in turning the state around and making it a home for growth,” said Bob Grady, an economic adviser to Christie and veteran of President George H.W. Bush’s White House. “Step two is, if people think he’s done a good job at that, the first thing he would consider is running for reelection, which would be in 2013. And go from there.”

But talk to another confidante and supporter of the governor, and there is the recognition that even the most ironclad promises by Christie – that there is “zero chance” he will run in 2012 – could be overwhelmed by the call of history.

“People always are leery that something could change,” said Bill Palatucci, a former law partner of Christie’s and close friend, who in July became a committee member of the Republican National Committee representing New Jersey.

“So yeah, I think that’s in the back of everyone’s minds that even the most Shermanesque statement could be retracted,” Palatucci said. “That said, most people have also come to know that when this guy says something, he means it.”

“No one gets the sense that he is playing a game here,” Palatucci continued. “They believe him. But they also know that politics is politics and things down the road could change.”

The hidden subtext to their comments, in addition, is that the best way for Christie to run for president is to not run. His best chances are in doing what he has been doing, namely, taking on all comers, racking up wins with straight talk rarely seen in politics, and not really caring too much what people think of him.

Grady himself added: “I do think the people of the state appreciate him taking on the tough choices … it’s an example of what we need to do in the rest of the country.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Phill-Emerson/1544812652 Phill Emerson

    I live in a state that was killed by a constuction project that was very similar we call it the big pig and thanks to democrats like tip oniel billy bulger teddy kennedy john kerry and a handfull of other political crooks the project went 18.5 billion dollars over budget christy was smart enough to say we dont have the cash to the unions we dont have the cash and so on down the line work with me to find it without taking anymore of the peoples money being mugged and living in NJ is just about the same feeling except the mugger uses a gun

  • Joe Steel

    Sorry, no. My commentary is fair and balanced. Definitely first-rate.

    • zelda