The Waiting Game

Published by Joyce Jones on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm.

(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages)

Could 1 pm ET today be D-Day for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie?

Republicans are waiting with baited breath to learn whether Christie will make their dreams come true Tuesday and enter the Republican presidential nominating race. They’ve been after him for months, even though he’s said no in a variety of ways that have ranged from joking that he would “actually have to commit suicide to convince people I’m not running” to the candidly honest “I’m not ready.”

David Bositis, a senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, says all of this fantasizing about Christie is just plain weird.

“In 2008, Democrats weren’t constantly crying that they’ve got to get somebody else besides this Obama guy or that Hillary,” Bositis said. “The GOP has lots of candidates but it’s almost like they’re looking for the messiah.”

That, or they need a political Wizard of Oz who can give each candidate the thing Republican voters think is lacking, Bositis and I mused. But for now they seem to feel that Mitt Romney needs a personality, Rick Perry a brain, and Herman Cain, despite all of his heart, a real chance to win the nomination.

Republicans like Christie because he’s a tough-talking conservative who leaves no doubt about where he stands on an issue, sometimes rudely so. They think they know already know what they’d be getting, but the man they’ll meet on the campaign might just turn out to be more like Bizarro Christie, who must govern in a parallel universe in which it’s sometimes necessary for political leaders to be pragmatic and often compromise.

And, although he’s not yet accepted the GOP faithful’s proposal, Democrats have already sought to alienate their affection for him. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick assailed New Jersey’s unemployment rate, which he said is higher than the national average. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Face the Nation added to the list, saying that under Christie’s leadership, the state has had its bond rating downgraded, added no net jobs and the cuts he’s made to education funding have resulted in a decline in its national ranking.

Be careful what you wish for, GOPers! The heart wants what it wants — until it gets it.

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