Yesterday I wrote a vignette in jest suggesting what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might be yelling at his TV during the GOP debate. Unlike his alter-ego in my vignette, the real Bill Kristol did not call Christie to plead nor drive over to his house to urge him to get into the race. Instead he used his Web site , figuratively speaking, to run over Texas Gov. Rick Perry with an 18-wheeler and drive through Christie’s living room window:
With nine candidates on the stage, and answers restricted to one minute, it’s hard to really show your stuff. And two of the candidate — Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney — did provide respectable performances. But no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry. It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him.
Bill’s solution: “A big man for a big job.” And you know who that is.
As I’ve considered a potential Christie run, I thought there was some possibility that if the stars aligned that he might get in. After all, as I have repeatedly urged, voters should vet the candidates, and if they don’t like the “front runner” they can find someone else. In the wake of last night’s debate, that possibility increased by a factor of 10. (Yeah, yeah, 10 times zero is zero, but it was never zero.)
However, I disagree with Bill in one respect. Christie is certainly the most charismatic and viable alternative, but he is not the only one. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is a legitimate leader and excellent campaigner. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) has congressional experience, a record of achievement so far in Ohio and a working-class appeal that reminds one of the late, great Jack Kemp. Nevertheless, Christie can raise the money and the roof.
And let’s not forget that, as Bill said, Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney can rise to the occasion, and both did last night. If no one else enters, one of them, in all likelihood, will be the nominee. But will anyone else get in? That is the question of the moment.