We all want our presidents to possess a basic common sense. And it is that quality that led New Jersey Governor Chris Christie not to seek the Oval Office next year.
GOP voters had been beseeching Christie to run—despite his repeated insistence that he was not interested in doing so, at least not this time. What did he have to say to be more clear? No means no. But many voters didn't want to hear his very direct "no," because they were still searching for a candidate who could galvanize the party.
Christie, with his refreshing directness, likely would have attracted a part of the GOP electorate. But he was wiser than that, seeing the pressure to run for what it is—an attempt to find someone, anyone, who can unite the party.
Others have been victimized by the American Idol-esque competition. Sarah Palin was political flavor of the month for many months, until her LeBron James routine (being too cute by half about what she as going to do) led Republicans to lose patience with her. Michele Bachmann rose to prominence with her very blunt, if fact-challenged, assessment of the state of the nation and the performance of the Obama administration. Then, Rick Perry joined the race and immediately rose in the polls—until his uneven (at best) performances in debates made voter enthusiasm wane. Perry's inartful explanation of why there was a racial epithet written on a rock outside his family's hunting camp in Texas has not made things easier for the Texas governor. Now, according to a recent Washington Post poll, Perry is sharing second place with pizza magnate Herman Cain, a candidate who was considered merely an afterthought just a month ago.
The drive to recruit Christie certainly has something to do with the New Jersey governor, who was impressive in his response to Hurricane Irene and has an appealing, Everyman quality. But the pressure to run is also a reflection of the GOP primary electorate's unhappiness with the Republican field. Christie might very well have been another casualty of that internal war, had he decided to jump in the race.
So New Jersey, Christie said with characteristic directness, is "stuck" with him, for the moment. Christie may well develop into a stronger and more seasoned potential presidential candidate. But he is wise to sit this one out.