Judging from Christie's speech today, he's willing to milk this thing for all it's worth, lining up his union-busting reputation with Reagan and the air traffic controllers ("I cite this incident not as a parable of labor relations...") and even, ridiculously, with international affairs ("What we say and what we do here at home affects how others see us...").
Whether Americans at large will agree that yelling at unions is good training for the job of Commander of Chief in the War on Whatever, or that the absurd slogan "Leadership and Compromise" makes any more sense than "Rice Krispies and Beer," is moot. American politics has changed a great deal since William Jennings Bryan stormed the 1896 Democratic convention and swept the field, and even with a head start Christie would be sailing into a (you'll pardon the expression) big fat wind if he took this thing seriously. A lot of money has already changed hands, and the entry of a few new rich guys into the game isn't going to much change the outcome.
I'm rooting for him, of course. Not only because I love the idea of Rick Perry fluttering around in some conference room, petulantly asking his advisors why he can't use the jokes he brought in about lettin' out his drawers. If the GOP field is really listing into such chaos, it may encourage the ever-opportunistic Sarah Palin to come in and regulate. Then the debates, heretofore merely risible, will resemble the scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian where all the messiahs gibber simultaneously in the market. Panderfest will become pandermonium! If we're really going down the tubes at least we should have some laughs along the way.
Meanwhile we can get pleasure enough from classic messianic guff like this from Daniel Foster:
Christie absolutely owned the Reagan library tonight, a point made most clear during the Q& A by the earnest, trembling plea from a woman who begged, on behalf of her “daughter and granddaughter,” that Christie reconsider running for president.Try to imagine Phil Gramm or Paul Tsongas in the lead role of this passion play! A few years hence it'll be just as plainly absurd.
“I know New Jersey needs you, but I really implore you — this isn’t funny — we can’t wait another four years,” the woman said. “We need you. Your country needs you to run for president.”
Christie responded: “I hear exactly what you’re saying and I feel the passion with which you say it and it touches me.” But Christie also said that the decision to run “has to reside inside me.”
UPDATE. Commenter Glen Tomkins makes an excellent point:
Not that I believe that Christie wants in, or would not stumble for other reasons, but I don't follow your point that the late start putting him behind the power curve with big donors would be a show-stopper.But that's one of the blessings of freedom, comrade: the market for buyable politicians is now wide-open and entrepreneurial, so rich bastards who once amused themselves by purchasing a basketball team and pitting it against his fellow rich bastards' basketball teams may now do the same with Presidental candidates. I just wish that crazy bastard Ted Turner would get into the act and pay George Clooney to run. What? He can still do cameos and cartoon voices.
We now live in a post-Citizens United world. The fact that a lot of big donors and aggregators have already placed their bets no longer carries the weight it once did. A lone crazed billionaire could step in, and for chump change compared to other business expences, single-handedly finance a major effort by any late entrant simply because their crazy happened to vibrate on the same harmonics as his own, much less whose policies promised an excellent ROI.