The most consequential vote of the political season may well have been one that occurred last October, around a dinner table in Mendham, N.J. Chris Christie had just returned home from a cross-country trip, highlighted by a speech at the Reagan Library in California, that seemed like a road test for a presidential run. When the family gathered for supper that Monday evening, Christie’s oldest son, Andrew, then 17, cut to the chase. “So, Dad,” he asked, “what’re you gonna do?”
Christie opened the matter to a family discussion, asking each of his four children and his wife, Mary Pat, whether they thought he should run for president. “It was really interesting, because none of them wanted me to run,” Christie recalls. His children and wife all said they were ready, if Christie wanted to try for it, but “none of them, around the table, wanted me to run.”
Christie himself didn’t answer Andrew’s question until after he and Mary Pat had put the kids to bed. “I don’t want to do it,” he finally told her. “It doesn’t feel right to me. If I do this, I just feel like I’d be second-guessing myself the entire time I was out there, and I can’t do it that way.”
The announcement the next day left Mitt Romney as the most viable Republican candidate, and dashed the hopes of Christiephiles everywhere. “People said, ‘Do you regret not doing this? You would have dominated this field,’” Christie says, adding that he does not necessarily agree with that assessment. “Here’s what I know about political campaigns: no matter what you map out at the beginning, it’s always different at the end.” In any case, he says, his calculation was not political but personal. Only two years into his term as governor, he didn’t feel ready for a run at the White House; it wasn’t yet his time.
Christie’s most passionate supporters, ranging from former General Electric chief Jack Welch and Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone to everyday strangers Christie met on the street, insistently disagreed. To them, Christie seemed fated for 2012, not only because his Jersey-guy bluntness promised an effective counter to President Obama’s distanced cool, but also because Christie had identified, and mastered, the defining public-policy challenge of this era—reining in the cost of government.
(...) The presidential race, being contested to an ever more obvious degree on terms that Christie defined, seemed a world away. After the Galloway event, Christie met with Newsweek, sounding like a man who might like to be asked to serve on the Romney ticket, even if he also suspects he won’t get the call. He considered the proposition that he may have missed his moment. “I don’t know, I guess only the future will tell that,” he said, insisting that he had no regrets. “If I missed my moment, I missed my moment. I mean, I wasn’t pining to be president of the United States.”Esto nos recuerda a otro caso.