As Republicans lament the shortcomings of their eight presidential candidates, efforts to get a more exciting candidate are ongoing. The drum beat for some unlikely options hasn’t ceased, even when the person in question, like Rudy Giuliani, would make a terrible candidate.
Pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and William Kristol have recently said they’d like Texas Governor Rick Perry to get in the race. But since Perry is a theocratic extremist that does little for the party’s moderate moneybags.
Curiously, many socially moderate big GOP donors have continued to sit on their hands even after former China Ambassador Jon Huntsman got in the race with a record and message aimed squarely at them. Some financiers have given to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who attempts to bridge the mainstream/right wing divide by running on a moderate, technocratic record with a platform that consists of flip-flops to outlandish right wing positions. (We are meant to believe, for example, that this former advocate of gay rights and abortion rights wants to amend the Constitution to outlaw gay marriage.)
So who are the Wall Street Republicans pining for? Chris Christie, New Jersey’s belligerent governor. Are you confused? So am I, and so is Jonathan Chait. Christie has become a YouTube sensation with the conservative base because he is prone to angry, blunt and condescending outbursts towards villains like public school teachers at town halls. This has not made him popular in New Jersey. His recent poll numbers are low. According to Public Policy Polling results released Wednesday, 43 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the job Christie is doing while 53 percent disapprove. That’s a negative 13 point swing from the last PPP poll on the question, in January.
The fact that Christie, who only got into office by beating an unpopular incumbent in a strong off-year election for Republicans, might not win re-election in 2013 is, perversely, why his backers want him to run for president now. Strike while the iron is still lukewarm!
And so, despite Christie’s repeated insistence that he won’t run in 2012, top Republicans keep begging him to. In May five Iowa Republican donors flew to New Jersey to personally ask Christie to get in the race. Earlier this week major Republican donors gathered to implore him once again to run. Politico’s Mike Allen reported Wednesday in Playbook:
Fifty of the most prized donors in national politics, including several hedge-fund billionaires who are among the richest people in the world, schlepped to a Manhattan office or hovered around speakerphones Tuesday afternoon as their host, venture capitalist Ken Langone (pronounced LAN-goan), a co-founder of The Home Depot, implored New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider and seek the GOP presidential nomination…. Langone backed Rudy Giuliani in 2008, and his guests came from both parties, although most were moderate Republicans. Most are uncommitted in the presidential race…. Several of them said: I’m Republican but I voted for President Obama, because I couldn’t live with Sarah Palin.