Weehawken, N.J. — None of us can ever really know what another person is thinking. All we know is what a person tells us he is thinking. Even so, someone who has a reputation for saying what he thinks is Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
He has told off questioners at town hall meetings. He told New Jerseyans to “get the hell off the beach” when a hurricane was bearing down on our state. He told a caller to a talk show that it was none of her
business where he sent his children to school.
Nonetheless, reconciling his statements on whether he would be a candidate for vice president, if asked, has become challenging. In December he said at a town hall meeting: “Can any of you see me as vice president? Right. I mean seriously. You’ve got to know your limitations in this life, and me standing behind somebody and nodding and keeping quiet doesn’t really look like my personality all that much.”
On Sunday he told David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “If I’m approached, I will listen.” Could he really be waffling?
That left me with this question: What if I were the governor of New Jersey? Fortunately for the people of the state, I’m not, but what would I be thinking?
One scenario: I’m thinking that I absolutely will not be Mitt Romney’s running mate. But for now, by leaving the door open, I’ll get plenty of attention, the same way any possible vice presidential contender does. After all, wasn’t it fun when people were begging me to run for president? So I’ll think about it and think about it until I finally say no.
A more intriguing scenario: I’m thinking that I absolutely will be Mitt Romney’s running mate. Look, the Republican Party is in disarray, and even if Romney secures the GOP nomination for president, will supporters of Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul automatically get behind him? Despite our mutual opposition to the president, not necessarily.
Can Romney or any Republican defeat President Obama, especially if the economy keeps improving? Hint: Didn’t I already tell Oprah Winfrey that Obama is an incredible politician?
Wait! Am I really thinking of signing on for a losing proposition? Yes, I am.
Look what losing did for Sarah Palin in 2008. She got a book deal. She got a TV deal. She made lots of money. Most important, people couldn’t stop wondering whether she would run for president in 2012, not to mention contributing to her PAC.
And I can learn from her mistakes. I won’t say you can see Russia from New Jersey, and I won’t resign as governor.
Come 2016, I’ll be well positioned to run for president, and after eight years of a Democratic administration, Americans will be ready for a change.
One more scenario: I’m thinking that I absolutely will be Mitt Romney’s running mate. We will be an unbeatable team and we’ll win in a landslide in November. And what will I say when David Gregory plays back the tape of the “Meet the Press” program in which I said, “David, if you’re a betting guy, you should bet on Chris Christie being the governor of New Jersey in November 2012”?
C’mon, David, the president and vice president aren’t sworn in until January 2013.
Carla Baranauckas is a freelance editor and writer who has worked at the New York Times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, the Edwardsville (Ill.) Intelligencer, the Texarkana Gazette, the Pampa (Texas) News and the Minneapolis Tribune. Follow her on Twitter at @cabara.