Friday, June 10, 2011

Common Thread

Some people just don't get the message. Deciding in May not to pursue the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, Mitch Daniels cited "the interests and wishes of my family." More bluntly, Chris Cillizza explained

Even as the presidential speculation reached a fever pitch, however, Daniels remained a a man divided. His family — his wife, Cheri, and his their four daughters — were publicly opposed to the race.

It may have been unavoidable for Daniels, given that the five most important women in his life urged him not to make a run. Further, the Indiana governor is married to a woman to whom he had been wed and who had left him, only to return. A special consideration of family cohesion may have been called for.

With Daniels' decision, attention turned to other possible entrants, including Chris Christie. A few weeks ago, the New Jersey governor took the famed helicopter ride to his son's baseball game (stopping 100 yards short so he could ride in a luxury vehicle, rather than walk, to the ballfield), left in the fifth inning, and returned to the governor's mansion to meet with potential donors from Iowa. Now, in the state arguably most crucial to an aspirant for the GOP presidential nomination

Multiple South Carolina state representatives plan on holding a news conference next week to urge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the presidential race.

Republican state Rep. Kris Crawford told POLITICO the goal was to entice a candidate capable of going "toe to toe with the Obama political machine," and at least a few state lawmakers think Christie fits the bill.

Crawford and state Rep. Phyllis Henderson — who previously told Roll Call she hoped to spark a Christie draft — have scheduled a "Draft Chris Christie for President" event from the statehouse steps at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Crawford said he and Henderson are taking point for the event, but hope that between half a dozen and a dozen legislators show up.

Chris Christie cannot run against Barack Obama inasmuch as he has admitted, however insincerely, that he's "not ready to be president," which sounds a lot like "not qualified" to be president. But he has told us why he will not run in 2012, when at on March 2 in one of his rare appearances in New Jersey

a member of the crowd at the end of the meeting shouted that he should run for president.

Christie joked that today his wife Mary Pat Christie was in attendance and while he tells her that people shout at him to run for president, he doesn't always know if she believes him.

"I say this same thing all the time, I say my wife would kill me if I tried to do that," Christie said, pointing to Mary Pat. "She's smiling really nicely now. I'm not going anywhere."

Ha-ha. We all laughed. The joke would not have been as funny if the governor had reminded his rapt audience that he decided in December to flee New Jersey as a blizzard hit because

“I had made a promise to my children that at the end of my first year as governor, that I was going to take them to Disney World the week between Christmas and New Year’s,” Christie said. “My first and most important responsibility in my view is as a husband and a father, and I think I made that pretty clear to the people of New Jersey when I was running … I was not going to rescind my child’s Christmas wish.”

Given his responsibility during a state emergency as the most powerful figure in New Jersey government (in which a governor is more powerful than in probably any other state), Mr. Christie recognized that the sentiments of his wife, a finance industry executive, took precedence over his own. (Little reported, but probably significant, was the presence of Mrs. Christie during the infamous road trip to the baseball game.)

Daniels, a relatively humble politician, and Christie, who continually figuratively throws his weight around (which accounts for much of Draft Christie sentiment), are not alone. It seems Newt Gingrich also leaves much of the responsibility for determining his professional career to the lady in his life, resulting in the exodus from his presidential campaign of top aides when

The last straw for the campaign staff was Gingrich’s decision to go on a two-week cruise in the Mediterranean, from which he returned on Tuesday. His advisers urged him not to go and take so much time from a campaign that was already in trouble. But his wife wanted him to go and she won the argument.

Vacationing in the Mediterranean is almost never a bad idea, and probably suggests sound judgement. But doing so upon embarking on a presidential campaign may be an exception, especially when the people you're depending on are strongly advising against it.

As liberal Democrats, we may rage, or laugh, at today's Republicans. But give prominent Republicans credit: they give a whole new meaning to the word feminist.

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