New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) only fed speculation about jumping into the GOP presidential primary race in a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday night. But Republicans who still hope for a late-entering messiah and think that Christie has the saintly glow they’re after got some bad news on Wednesday.
Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon (R) told NBC that he expects his state’s GOP apparatus will decide to hold its primary on Jan. 31, 2012 . That would move the calendar for the early primary and caucus states up by about a month.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), so far the latest entrant into the race, has been assembling his campaign since the early summer, and even that seems to have been inadequate time to establish a slick operation, as demonstrated by his lousy debate prep, lackluster media outreach and poor explanations of basic things such as whether he stands by the material in his recent book. Perry only just opened a Des Moines campaign office .
Christie is smarter than Perry, so he probably wouldn’t have as much trouble on substance or rhetoric. But he would also have far less time than Perry — and everyone else in the race — to establish his team, do his opposition research, assess his own vulnerabilities, raise money and figure out what he’d say to Iowa and South Carolina. Even if he did get in, he’s already far behind in the arms race — Russ Schriefer, Christie’s media consultant in his 2009 gubernatorial campaign, already works for Mitt Romney, for example.
And Florida looks set to make all of that harder for Christie.
America’s silly long electoral schedule means that if you haven’t started building up a campaign infrastructure years ahead of the general election, you generally have little chance in a front-loaded primary calendar. That makes presidential selection inflexible, interminable, monotonous and expensive, working to track the parties into to choosing between candidates of the past, instead of those who might be the most attractive in, say, late 2012.
On the bright side, we don’t have to wait much longer before Sarah Palin will finally have to stop pretending that she might run for president.