New Jersey governor Chris Christie clearly has ambitions to run for the presidency in 2016. It is also clear that he is pushing the ‘maverick’ shtick that worked for John McCain, at least as far as getting the Republican nomination was concerned, and to aim for the support of the party establishment, territory that is open since all the other putative candidates (Rand Paul, Ted Crux, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rick Perry) seem to be angling for the Tea Party wing’s support. He clearly wants to be portrayed as the straight-talking, no-nonsense, get-stuff-done, not-totally-nuts kind of guy.
But a new book on the 2012 presidential race, one of those post-election insider gossip fests so beloved by the Washington beltway class, could prove highly damaging to his chances. In the chapter about Mitt Romney’s search for a running mate, a process dubbed Project Goldfish, the authors dwell on the vetting of Christie and the damaging information that was found in terms of his personality, temperament, health, habits, past actions, and ethics.
Ted Newton, managing Project Goldfish under [Beth] Myers, had come into the vet liking Christie for his brashness and straight talk. Now, surveying the sum and substance of what the team was finding, Newton told his colleagues, If Christie had been in the nomination fight against us, we would have destroyed him—he wouldn’t be able to run for governor again. When you look below the surface, Newton said, it’s not pretty.
If the Romney camp felt that they could destroy Christie, then it seems unlikely that he could survive against the Tea Party gang. All Christie’s negatives are still there and may make the party establishment wary about putting their support behind such a risky choice and if Christie does not get their full backing, he has no chance.