Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong, will run for the Republican nomination in 2012.
What’s Christie’s Law?
People haven’t been this excited about a speech from somebody with Christ in his name since that sermon on the Mount.
Perhaps Tuesday night at the Reagan library Christie will pass over us for good and all. But this whole spectacle really is reaching biblical proportions — and that’s not a reference to what Ross Douthat tactfully called Christie’s avoirdupois.
There are ways of not running for office.
Chris Christie is Not Running For President, in all capital bold-face letters. Perhaps this is his doing, the sort of Not Running For President that results from calling the press every day to inform them that, yet again, you are refraining. Or perhaps it’s been thrust upon him by hordes of eager strategists who quail at the present prospects. It certainly seems to be the latter.
“I’m not running,” he says, again.
“But! But!” the faithful cry, desperate. “Was that a wink? Were his fingers crossed? Keep hope strong, my friends! Even Harold Camping got the date wrong the first few times! We must believe and pray!”
He’s the Christ(ie) figure who keeps failing to turn up on time. But the Apocalyptic Returning Jesus has it easy. He only has to destroy the earth and engulf all sinners in flames. Christie has to save the Republican presidential field.
But the problem with the Very Adamantly Not Running Chris Christie is the one you always have with things that are off-limits. Before Rick Perry showed up, he was going to be the savior of the field. Now he’s John the Baptist, at best — a loud man from a hot region of the world who seems to have strong religious views and gives you the urge to repent.
Forbidden fruit is always twice as appetizing — until you bite into it. That’s when you discover it was forbidden because it contained trace amounts of DDT.
Half of Christie’s allure is the fact that he’s not on the market. And the longer the most prominent Godot makes us wait, the more we want it. At first we had some objections. But we’re forgetting them under the strain. We’re practically begging. “Show us an ankle, at least,” we beg. “Give us a sign before we throw our lot in with another. We could be yours!”
“The duration of passion is proportionate with the original resistance of the woman,” Balzac said.
If he announces, Christie had better hope that’s true.
Without the allure of the forbidden, he would have to sail under his own steam. Will Christie’s steam suffice?
Maybe he’ll have gained by his long wait. Or maybe he’d gain more if he waited still longer.
Personally, I think the Republicans ought to pursue what I call the Constantine Policy. Theology in that emperor’s time suggested that you had to answer to your maker only for sins committed after your baptism. So Constantine quite wisely waited to be baptized until he was on his deathbed. No point being baptized sooner, he figured, since all he could do would be to rack up peccadilloes.
The same applies to candidates. All the polls say that any generic Republican can beat President Obama. But the trouble is, the instant someone declares he is running, he ceases to be any Generic Republican and becomes a human being who stumbles at debates, makes gaffes galore, and turns out to have a past full of dirt. Why go through all this bother? Wait until the night before and pull a name out of a hat. The more generic, the better. What’s Joe the Plumber up to?
And in the meantime, here’s Christie — still not running.
Christie’s Law states that if Chris Christie says he’s not going to run for president one more time, at one more high-profile speech venue, Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin both have to.
And nobody wants that.